Nutritious Summer Strawberries

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One of the most hotly anticipated benefits of summer has to be when the farmers’ trucks at the side of the road start showing up with their pints of cheap strawberries fresh off the field.

When I was a kid I likely loved them as they were often served to me on top of a bowl of ice cream, but these days I’d rather skip the dairy and eat the delicious berries au naturale or added to a smoothie with other fruits and veggies.

Canada is one of the largest producers of strawberries, worldwide. When they’re in season, go to a farmers’ market or co-op for the fresh local goods as the big grocery store chains are likely still giving you ones from California. Who wants something picked weeks ago and ripened on a truck when you could conceivably get strawberries picked that very morning?

Did you know that a good-sized handful of fresh strawberries contains more vitamin C than an orange? And did you know that strawberries are also rich in folate, a B vitamin vitally necessary for preventing spinal cord deformities in the developing human fetus? Along with folate, strawberries are also high in B5 and B6. They’re also high in manganese, iodine, magnesium, copper, potassium and are a good source of fiber.

Strawberries are also loaded with antioxidant fighting power. They are second only to plums in their content of phenols – phytonutrient compounds prized for their cancer and heart disease-fighting attributes. Strawberries are high in ellagic acid, a phytonutrient compound which is believed to be helpful in protecting against estrogen-dominant cancers due to its estrogen blocking ability observed in in vitro studies. In fact, in vitro studies have found strawberry extracts to have protective abilities against leukemia, colon cancer, breast cancer, two types of cervical cancer, and esophageal cancer, according to David Grotto, author of 101 Foods That Could Save Your Life.

Strawberries are also rich in anthocyanins, the phytonutrients that provide the berry’s red color and serve as potent antioxidants which help protect cell structures in the body. Studies on strawberries have found their phytonutrients potentially effective in treating human liver cancer, macular degeneration and rheumatoid arthritis.

Although I’d say you’re better off skipping the ice cream, load up on those strawberries this summer.

Author by Doug DiPasquale


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