Dieting isn’t always easy, particularly if you have a sweet tooth. But by adding strawberries to your diet, you can enjoy a range of guilt-free dishes, drinks and snacks any time of day. Best of all, strawberries are low in calories, high in fiber, fat-free and feature a wide range of additional health benefits.
Here are some of the amazing benefits of strawberries you can enjoy:
1. Strawberries have anti-aging properties
As we age, our bodies produce less collagen and this leads to lines and wrinkles. The Vitamin C found in strawberries is important in the production of collagen. Strawberries also contain anti-inflammatory enzymes and antioxidants which help slow the rate that skin ages.
2. Strawberries promote bone health
When looking to boost our health, it’s easy to forget about our bones but as we age, our bone density reduces. Strawberries contain a range of nutrients that can improve bone health including Vitamin C, potassium, Vitamin K and magnesium.
3. Strawberries improve short-term memory
Strawberries aren’t just good for our bodies, they’re great for our brains too. In an article published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, researchers found that the high levels of antioxidants in fruits such as strawberries can boost memory and protect against mental decline.
4. Strawberries boost immunity
Busy lives, stress, and a poor diet are just some of the things that can weaken our immune system. The problem is, if our immune system isn’t working properly we become susceptible to illnesses. If you feel constantly under the weather, a weakened immune system could be to blame. The good news is that strawberries are a great source of Vitamin C which helps protect the immune system.
5. Strawberries provide energy
We need healthy meals and snacks throughout the day to maintain energy levels. Strawberries are a great choice when it comes to fighting fatigue as they contain nitrate to promote healthy blood flow.
6. Strawberries can boost your libido
It’s true, strawberries really can make us feel more romantic. The luscious fruit was even used in a traditional soup served to newlyweds in 13th century France. What a great reason to start eating more strawberries!
7. Strawberries can reduce the risk of heart attack
A study conducted by The Harvard School of Public Health in the US and the University of East Anglia in the UK analyzed the diets of over 93,000 women aged 25 to 42. The researchers found that eating three servings of strawberries or blueberries per week could reduce the risk of a heart attack by 32 per cent.
8. Strawberries help burn stored fat
When the body stores more fat than it burns, it leads to weight gain. However, antioxidants found in strawberries can increase the body’s metabolic rate so the body burns fat rather than storing it. The Vitamin C in strawberries also plays an important role in maintaining a healthy metabolism to aid weight loss.
Another fat-burning compound found in strawberries is anthocyanins – it’s this compound that gives strawberries their vibrant color. In a study published by The Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry, researchers discovered that when animals were fed anthocyanins alongside a high-fat diet, they gained 24 per cent less weight than animals that were not fed anthocyanins.
How to maximize the health benefits
To maximize the benefits of strawberries, always eat the freshest strawberries you can find and choose big red strawberries which will have the most Vitamin C. Enjoy your strawberries at room temperature to bring out the best flavor.
Commercially-produced strawberries are often treated with a range of pesticides so always choose organic strawberries.
So versatile and easy to prepare, you can enjoy strawberries in a whole host of different ways. They are delicious simply sliced and served with natural yogurt or cereals or can be added to water to create a refreshing drink. But why not be adventurous and try something new? Here are a range of healthy sweet and savoury dishes that make the most of this wonderful ingredient.
We know that ice-cream is not a dieter’s friend but for a creamy treat, frozen yogurt makes a great alternative.
Strawberry and Cucumber Ice Pops
Keep your cool with this sweet treat. Stash these ice pops in the freezer and you’ll always have a fat-free treat to hand.
via bon appetit
Strawberry, Almond and Pea Salad
Strawberries are just too good to keep for dessert. Try them in this tasty main course salad.
via bon appetit
Strawberries are the star of the show in this delicious salad.
via food network
When you want something truly indulgent, these stuffed strawberries are just the thing. You can eat just one or two to feel like you’ve had a delicious treat without blowing the calories.
via all recipes
Featured photo credit: Graphic Stock via graphicstock.com