Strawberries for health

An average serving of strawberries (about 8 strawberries) has only 27 calories. Strawberries are virtually fat-free and almost 90% of a strawberry is made up of water. Strawberries are high in vitamin C, and they are also a source of folate, flavonoids, and the phytochemical, ellagic acid.

Several studies have highlighted the significant levels of antioxidants in strawberries, which are thought to prevent the cell damage that leads to certain types of cancer.

Ellagic acid is one of these powerful antioxidants which may help to prevent DNA damage. Strawberry extracts have been shown to help control inflammation (1), and ellagic acid has recently been shown to have an antioxidant role in heart health and in the prevention of the build of cholesterol on the inside of arteries (2).

The vibrant red colour of strawberries is due to the anthocyanin known as pelargonidin. Anthocyanins are powerful flavonoids. A fresh food diet rich in flavonoids found in fruits such as strawberries, vegetables, green tea and wine, has strong antioxidant properties and is thought to be an important protective component of the Mediterranean diet. A diet rich in berries has also been linked to boosting levels of good cholesterol and improving blood pressure.

References

Chang WC et al. Br J Nutr. 2008 Apr ;99(4) : 709-14
Hannum SM. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2004;44(1):1-17
Tsuda T. J Agric Food Chem. 2008 Feb 13;56(3):642-6
Erlund I et al. Am J Clin Nutr. 2008 Feb;87(2):323-31.