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The Bright Shiny Red Heart Shaped Fruits Called Strawberries

Posted By Omid On April 11, 2010 @ 6:08 am In GreenChef Foodie Talk,Recipes / GreenChef Ingredients & Tools | 5 Comments

I remember going strawberry picking with my dad, sister and my brother when we were young in New Zealand. It was always a real treat when my dad said to us that we could eat as many as we like while picking the strawberries at the strawberry farm. The most beautiful part for me now is the smell. The smell of strawberries always takes me back to my childhood. It always has a refreshing spring smell and look. Besides these qualities, strawberries have the following benefits:

*Strawberries are bright shiny red heart shaped fruits with a sweet fragrance. There are over 600 varieties of strawberries that belong to the genus Fragaria and family Rosaceae that vary in size, flavor, color and shape.

*The cultivated varieties are large while the wild varieties are generally smaller in size. Wild strawberries have a more intense flavor than cultivated varieties.

*They are soft, plump and succulent with a sweetish sour taste. Ripe strawberries give out a very sweet aroma.

*The size varies from 2 cm to 5 cm in length. Color varies from bright red to deep pink, to deep orange depending on the variety. Shape varies from large heart shaped to elongated and pointy to small roundish to oval shapes.
Some have are sweeter while others are more sour, but overall they are more sour than sweet.

*The bright red shiny outer skin has numerous yellow specks on it, which are actually the seeds, and strawberry is actually a cluster of these tiny fruits. And the edible ‘fruit’ part of strawberry is a false fruit, meaning it is not grown from the ovaries like the other fruits, but the fleshy part that holds the ovaries.

*Though these are available all year round, they are at their best in the summer months.

*Buying and storage: Select strawberries that are fresh, ripe, plump, bright and evenly colored with the green leafy cap on, and without any bruises or soft spots. Place unwashed strawberries in a single layer on a paper towel on a plate, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Consume within 3 days. As they are easily perishable, purchase them only a day or two before you want to use them. Large strawberries, generally, are bland with not much flavor. Medium sized strawberries have the best taste and flavor, so choose these when possible.

Is it raw?

Yes, all fresh strawberries are raw.

Health Benefits

1. Strawberries are low in calories, carbohydrates, protein and very low fat and moderate amount of dietary fiber.
2. Strawberries are a very good source of vitamin C, a natural water soluble antioxidant. It enhances the body’s immune system, increases the elasticity of skin and blood vessels, and prevents bruising of the skin.
3. Though strawberries have a lot of water content and very less of other nutrients, they are excellent sources of phytonutrients like anthocyanins, phenols and flavonoids, the plant compounds that have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
4. The pigment in strawberries that gives them its bright red color is the anthocyanin. It is also a potent antioxidant that neutralizes the free radicals and removes them from the body. Not just that, it also reduces the activity of an enzyme called cyclooxygenase (COX), which overactive contributes to increased inflammation in the body. Excessive inflammation in the body can lead to arthritis, atherosclerosis, asthma, cancer, etc. These compounds have antioxidant activity similar to the prescription drugs that reduce the activity of COX enzyme, but without any side effects.
5. Another plant compound called ellagitannin is associated with decreased rate of death caused by cancer.
6. As strawberries are rich sources of vitamin C, regular consumption of fresh ripe strawberries can reduce the inflammatory diseases like osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, atherosclerosis, etc.
7. Good source of manganese, which functions along with other natural antioxidants in the body and is also essential as a cofactor in activating the enzymes involved in detoxification.
8. Moderate amounts of folic acid which is also essential for a healthy heart. It prevents the accumulation of homocysteine, an intermediary metabolite of protein metabolism, which promotes atherosclerosis by reducing the integrity of blood vessel walls and by interfering with the formation of collagen.
9. Though not a lot of this vitamin is present in strawberries, regular consumption of strawberries will add up and provide good amount of folic acid.
10. Moderate source of dietary fiber. It adds roughage to the contents of the intestines, promotes satiety, promotes the health of the colon, and also helps in relieving constipation, haemorrhoids, diverticular disorders, etc. It also reduces the risk for colon cancer.

Nutritional information:

(For 100 g of raw Strawberries)

% Daily requirements:

Total Calories 32, 2%

Total fat 0.3 g, 0%

Saturated fat 0 g, 0%

Cholesterol 0 g,0%

Total carbohydrate 7.7 g, 3%

Dietary fibre 2 g, 8%

Sugars 4.9 g

Protein 0.7 g, 1%

Minerals:

Calcium 16 mg, 2%

Iron 0.4 mg, 2%

Magnesium 13 mg, 3%

Phosphorus 24 mg, 2%

Potassium 153 mg, 4%

Sodium 1 mg, 0%

Zinc 0.1 mg, 1%

Manganese 0.4 mg, 19%

Selenium 0.4 mcg, 1%

Vitamins:

Niacin 0.4 mg, 2%

Folic acid 24 mcg, 6%

Vitamin A 12 IU, 0%

Vitamin C 58.8 mg, 98%

Vitamin E 0.3 mg, 1%

Vitamin K 2.2 mcg, 3%

Phytosterols 12 mg


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