It is never easy to resist the temptation of those vibrant red strawberries sitting atop your birthday cake or dessert bowl. Strawberries are always pretty, not to mention photogenic. But apart from their evident aesthetic qualities, the queen of fruits packs some serious punch when it comes to health and skin benefits as well.
What Is Strawberry?
Strawberry, or scientifically known as Fragaria ananassa, is an endearingly fragrant, red heart-shaped fruit that is loved by many around the world for its delightful taste as well as its nutritional advantages. Strawberries are essentially a member of the rose family, which explains its distinctive aroma. Despite its name, strawberry is not your typical botanic berry. It is actually an aggregate accessory fruit, which means that its sweet, fleshy portion does not stem from the plant ovaries, but rather, each discernible seed masking its outside is yielded from one of the ovaries of the flower.
At the peak of each titillating strawberry, there protrudes a leafy top known as the calyx. While tons of these leaves are often plucked and discarded away as waste, these humble leafy crowns are actually edible and hold the key to unlocking some added exhilarating health benefits. Strawberry leaves can be consumed raw or steeped in hot water, rewarding you with a warm cup of strawberry tea rich in antioxidants.
Strawberries are chock-full of essential nutrients, such as vitamins C and K, as well as manganese, potassium, magnesium and folate. They are also rich in fibre, contain an abundance of polyphenols and antioxidants, and are low in calorie. Let’s take a deeper dive and explore some of the amazing benefits these heart-shaped fruits can offer you.
Strawberries are packed with alpha hydroxy acid, salicylic acid and ellagic acid — all of which are effective in preventing acne, hyperpigmentation and eradicating dead skin cells. Several studies have proven that strawberry-based formulations are helpful in safeguarding the skin from harmful UV rays and damage. Hence, it comes as no surprise as to why strawberry extracts are often found in cosmetic and beauty products across the global markets, such as strawberry lip balms which aid in moisturising your lips and keeping them hydrated.
Alternatively, you can produce your very own homemade strawberry mask to maintain a fresher and cleaner skin. Simply squash four or five strawberries and stir the pulp with a tablespoon of honey. Smear the solution onto your face for about five or ten minutes before washing it off completely with cold water.
Enhances Cardiovascular Health
Strawberries contain extremely high amounts of phenolic compounds, such as quercetin, anthocyanin, kaempferol and catechin, which effectively reduces the risk of heart diseases by impeding the development of LDL cholesterol.
In a particular study involving young and middle-aged female adults, it was found that those who consumed at least three full cup servings of strawberries or blueberries a week are less likely to experience a cardiac arrest as opposed to those who had fewer or do not consume any berries at all. The study concluded that the high levels of anthocyanins in the berries relax the blood vessels, helping lower blood pressure and preventing cardiovascular problems. Furthermore, the fibre content in strawberries, along with the folate and vitamin C, form a formidable cardiac health pack as these components effectively lower cholesterol in your blood vessels and arteries.
Not only are the flavonoids and phenolic compounds in strawberries effective in promoting good cardiovascular health, but they also make a terrifying back line of defence against cancer and tumour growth. Several comprehensive clinical studies have shown that regular consumption of strawberries led to a dramatic decrease in the presence and metastasis of cancer cells. A separate study by researchers from the Division of Medical Oncology at Ohio State University has even suggested that freeze-dried strawberry powder possesses the potential to effectively inhibit oesophageal cancer.
Promotes Cognitive Health
Strawberries contain a wealth of beneficial nutrients, including vitamin C, iodine and phytochemicals, which aids in the proper maintenance of the nervous system. In addition, the potassium in strawberries has also been associated with an enhanced cognitive function as it regulates and amplifies blood flow to the brain. Numerous studies have discovered that the increased intake of flavonoids, particularly from food sources like strawberries and blueberries, efficiently slows down the rate of cognitive deterioration among older individuals.
Whether fresh or frozen, atop dessert plates or in our salad bowls, there is no denying that these cute little heart-shaped bites are adored by many around the world. This sweet and plump fruit is very popular for good reason — strawberries improve your skin, prevent cancer, improve your cardiovascular and cognitive health, and much more. They are essentially a guilt-free snack with low sugar and calories, and can certainly satisfy your sweet-tooth craving. Strawberries are deeply loved for many reasons, and we strongly encourage you to jump on the bandwagon if you haven’t.