[If you want to go straight to the recipes click here!]

We're pretty sure you've heard of strawberries before; they're one of the most popular fruits in the world! What you may not know, though, are that "strawberries" aren't berries at all. The fact that they contain multiple seeds means they are instead a member of a category called "aggregate fruit."

Nutritionally, however, strawberries are classified as a berry, which means that they come with some amazing health benefits! To start with, they're sodium-free and cholesterol-free; strawberries contain mostly water and carbohydrates, with only minuscule amounts of fat and protein.

In a 100 gram serving, two grams of this carbohydrate come from fiber and the rest come from natural sugar. Strawberries still have a relatively low glycemic index of 40, and have actually been shown to reduce spikes in glucose and insulin, thus potentially helping prevent or regulate metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes.

An eight-strawberry-serving also provides more immune boosting vitamin C than an orange does, along with a quarter of your recommended daily value of manganese, a mineral which is critical for bone health. Strawberries also contain smaller amounts of the minerals potassium, iron, copper, magnesium, and phosphorus, as well as of the vitamins B6, K, and E.

strawberry

Like most fruits and vegetables, strawberries are also high in antioxidants and particularly high in anthocyanins, the compound that gives them their striking red color. Especially combined with other beneficial polyphenols found in strawberries like quercetin and kaempferol, these anthocyanins can do wonders for your heart health, which is fitting given strawberries' heart-like shape!

In particular, the antioxidants in strawberries seem to help prevent the formation of HDL "bad" cholesterol. One study found that consuming strawberries seems to help mitigate the negative effects that usually come with a high-fat meal, and another found that it is associated with favorable effects on platelet function and blood pressure.

Higher strawberry intake has also been found to help reduce atherosclerosis in groups of patients with type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome, and to decrease womens' risk of experiencing a heart attack. Another compound found in strawberries, called malonate ester, may help prevent organ damage if a stroke or heart attack does occur.

Interestingly, the anthocyanins in strawberries also seem to be linked to the allergic reactions that strawberries can sometimes trigger. Thus, even people who can't eat your average strawberry may be able to tolerate the rare white strawberry, which, unfortunately, is mainly grown and available in Japan.

However, if you're allergic to anything besides strawberries, this fruit may be just your jam; strawberries contain a flavonoid called fisetin, which can help reduce your body's inflammatory reaction to allergens.

slow and steady

Strawberries are also higher then other fruits in a type of antioxidant called phenolic antioxidants, which can have an anti-cancer effect. Studies done on isolated cells have shown that phenolic antoxidants can inhibit the growth of prostate, colon, and liver cancer, and another showed that they helped prevent the development of oral cancers in hamsters. One human study has also shown that consuming freeze-dried strawberry powder seemed to decrease the chance of precancerous lesions progressing to full blown espophageal cancer.

Strawberries have also been found to have anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory, and anti-neurodegenerative properties. Additionally, strawberry seeds contain the omega-3 fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid, which is critical for brain health, and people who regularly consumed strawberries were found to have a slower rate of cognitive decline.

People who had a higher strawberry intake were also found to be lower in c-reactive protein, a bio-marker of inflammation, so eating more strawberries could potentially improve the symptoms of inflammatory diseases like arthritis and gout. Increasing your strawberry intake can also help reduce your risk of osteopenia, age-related weight gain, and eye diseases.

Finally, eating more strawberries can also help your skin by inhibiting collagen destruction, which is why some experts believe that strawberry based cosmetics are a worthwhile topical skin care option. The malic acid found in strawberries can also help whiten your teeth!

However, since strawberries tend to have a high pesticide content, you may want to get yours organic. For the biggest health benefits, you'll want to choose strawberries that are the ripest and the deepest red, and be aware that strawberries cease ripening after being picked. Thus, you should eat your strawberries within a couple of days of purchasing them, but you could always freeze them for easy access if you don't get to eating them right away!

Along with their impressive nutritional profile, strawberries can also be praised for their sheer versatility. Some homemade strawberry jam could be a great accompaniment to your mini-toast, and a little stevia is all it takes to make strawberries into dessert. Enjoying your strawberries with a bit of cocoa or dark chocolate could also be an indulgent way to get an even bigger antioxidant boost.

The simple strawberry smoothie recipe below could make an easy breakfast, or a great brunch-on-the-run when mixed with our trusty protein powder. Strawberries also pair well with savory foods like cheeses and meats, so a salad made with the strawberry vinaigrette recipe that follows could make a great early lunch in Phase 2!

Even if you've used strawberries in smoothies or dressings before, you may not have thought of making them into a soup, so you'll probably be refreshed by the Sweet Strawberry Soup recipe that follows!

strawberries

Strawberry Vinaigrette

healthy salad with strawberry vinaigrette

Make spiffier salads with this delectable strawberry vinaigrette! Estimated nutritional value of 31 calories, .4g fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 6.2g carbohydrate, 1.6g fiber, 0.6 g protein, and 3.9 g sugar.

Prep Time
10 minutes
Cook time
0M
Yield
Makes 1 serving (1 fruit)

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup strawberries
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • Stevia to taste
  • Dash of salt
  • Dash of cayenne (optional)
  • Fresh ground black pepper to taste

Directions
Combine all ingredients in food processor. Puree until smooth. Pour over fresh arugula or green salad. Garnish with sliced strawberries and freshly ground black pepper.

Variations
Use as a marinade or sauce for chicken.

Recipe provided by

Sweet Strawberry Soup

sweet strawberry soup

Sweeten your morning with this delicious strawberry soup! Estimated nutritional value of 47 calories, .5 g fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 7.9 g carbohydrates, 2 g fiber, .8 protein, and 5.3 g sugar.

Prep Time
10 minutes
Cook time
5 m
Yield
Makes one serving (1 fruit)

Ingredients

  • 6-7 medium strawberries
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • ΒΌ cup water
  • Vanilla liquid stevia or powdered vanilla to taste
  • Dash of cinnamon

Directions
Puree strawberries with spices, lemon juice, water and milk. Heat the strawberry mixture in a small saucepan for 3-5 minutes. Serve hot or chilled with a garnish of mint.

Phase 3 Modifications
Add 3 tablespoons cream cheese, half and half, or cream. Omit the lemon juice. Top with a sprinkle of chopped roasted nuts or chocolate shavings.

Recipe provided by

Strawberry Smoothie

strawberry smoothie

Get your antioxidants in the tasty way with this simple strawberry smoothie! Estimated nutritional value (w/o milk) of 25 calories, .2 g fat. 0 g cholesterol, 6 g carbohydrate, 1.5 g fiber, .5 g protein, and 4 g sugar.

Prep Time
5 minutes
Cook time
N/A
Yield
Makes 1 serving (1 fruit)

Ingredients

  • 1 handful frozen strawberries
  • Flavored or powdered stevia (try vanilla or milk chocolate liquid stevia)
  • 1 tablespoon milk (optional)
  • Ice cubes

Directions
Blend together and serve in a tall glass. Garnish with a strawberry, lemon slice or mint leaf garnish if desired.

Phase 3 Modifications
Mix in a little half and half or cream. Add peaches, fresh raspberries, or make mixed fruit smoothies.

Recipe provided by

Message Us Message Us