The Next Great Superfood

The Next Great Superfood

Strawberries are more than just a great-tasting, refreshing berry. They're also packed with nutrients and have wide-ranging health benefits, from cancer prevention to weight loss help. It may be time for blueberries to step aside and let strawberries take over the role of healthiest berry.

In this article, we discuss the health benefits of strawberries in detail and give a few awesome recipes to help you enjoy strawberries the right way!

Health Benefits

It's truly amazing how wide-ranging the benefits of strawberries are. This list hits the main benefits, but there really are many more.

1. Antioxidants. A recent study that considered nutrient density and average serving size ranked strawberries as the 3rd best source of antioxidants among all US foods. They even beat out their rival berry superfood, the blueberry.

2. Cardiovascular benefits. The positive effect of strawberries on our cardiovascular system is very well documented. Their rich array of vitamins decreases circulating fats and cholesterol levels, among other things.

3. Blood sugar levels. New studies reveal that strawberry consumption is linked to a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes. Moreover, strawberries have a moderating effect on blood sugar levels. In a recent study, subjects consumed either sugar or strawberries with sugar. The group that consumed only sugar experienced a sharp spike in blood sugar levels, while the group that consumed both saw just a moderate increase.

4. Cancer prevention. The phytonutrients in strawberries have been shown to reduce the risk of breast, cervical, colon, and esophageal cancer.

5. Weight loss. The anthocyanins in strawberries lead the body to burn stored fat at a faster rate. In addition, strawberries are very low in calories at just 54 calories in a cup. This makes strawberries a great snack for anyone trying to lose weight.

Selection, Storage, and Preparation

One of the only downsides to strawberries is how perishable they are. Purchase your strawberries within a few days of consumption. Note, though, that they do not ripen once picked, so be sure you choose strawberries that are already ripe: look for a deep red color and attached green caps. Ripe berries not only taste better, but also have more nutrients. Strawberries will keep in a refrigerator for about two days. After this time span, they lose both nutrient content and taste. Freezing strawberries is always a good option.

As the weather gets warmer, there's no better food to add to your diet than the sweet, refreshing, and healthy strawberry. Remember that strawberries are most nutritious when enjoyed fresh, uncooked. Here are two great ways to incorporate fresh strawberries into your diet.

Fresh Strawberry and Raspberry Lemonade by Mary Poehnelt

Fresh Lemonade

Mary Poehnelt, the Butcher from Belchertown and runner-up on FOX's hit show Hell's Kitchen, gives lemonade a twist with an infusion of berries and honey.

See full recipe here.

Strawberry Jalapeno Salsa by Barefeet in the Kitchen

Strawberry Jalapeno Salsa

Sweet berries, spicy jalapenos, onions, cilantro and a squeeze of lime combine to make this an unforgettable salsa.

See full recipe here.

Photo by Hiroyuki Takeda on Flickr. Some rights reserved.

CATEGORIES: Recipes, Blood Sugar, Heart Health, Vitamins & Minerals, Vegan, Vegetarian, Weight Loss