Posted 3/6/2021 by Dan Jackowiak Nc, HHP
The garden strawberry (Fragaria × ananassa), known as strawberry, is an edible, soft fruit from the Rosaceae family. It is a hybrid of wild strawberry species from Chile and North America with its characteristic sweetness, aroma, juicy texture, and bright red color. Strawberries are often eaten fresh as a dessert fruit, used as a pie or pastry filling, and used in prepared foods such as juice, ice cream, chocolates, and milkshakes. Artificial strawberry aroma and flavorings are widely used in lip gloss, soap, perfume, candy, and many others. Moreover, strawberry shortcake is a traditional American dessert made up of whipped cream, sponge cake, and fresh strawberries. It is one of the most economically important fruits native to the temperate areas of the Northern Hemispheres. (1)
It is believed that the first strawberry plant was found in ancient Rome and was used for therapeutic purposes. In 1588, strawberries were discovered by Europeans in America. Strawberries found in North America were sweeter and bigger than European strawberries. In the early eighteenth century, North America developed many new varieties of strawberries. These new varieties of strawberries were developed by the cross-breeding of European and American varieties. California produces about 80% of the strawberries used in North America (1).
1. Strawberry - New World Encyclopedia [Internet].
One cup of sliced strawberries (166 grams) consists of 53 calories (2). Strawberries are a rich source of potassium, folic acid, vitamin C, and fiber. These nutrients are necessary to support the body's daily functioning. They contain only small amounts of proteins and fats.
One cup of sliced strawberries contains 12.7 grams of carbohydrates, including 8.1 grams of sugar. Strawberries are a low glycemic fruit with a glycemic index of 40 (2).
One cup of sliced strawberries contains 3.3 grams of fiber. Strawberries contain approximately 60% insoluble fiber and 40% soluble fiber (2). Insoluble fiber helps in regular bowel movements and prevents constipation in individuals. Soluble fiber helps people with diabetes maintain blood glucose levels, aids in healthy bowel movements, and can help lower cholesterol. Fiber is also useful in fighting type-2-diabetes (3).
One cup of sliced strawberries contains 1.1 grams of protein. Proteins have a role in reducing appetite and cravings (2).
One cup of sliced strawberries contains 0.5 grams of fat. The fat content in strawberries is approximately 0.3 grams of polyunsaturated fatty acids, 0.1 grams of monounsaturated fatty acids, and zero grams of saturated fatty acids (2). Consuming foods high in unsaturated fatty acids can improve blood cholesterol levels, which leads to a lower risk of heart disease.
Vitamins & Minerals
Strawberries are a good source of vitamin C, vitamin B9 (folate), manganese, and potassium. One cup of sliced strawberries contains 97.6 grams of vitamin C (2). Vitamin C is necessary for skin health and immunity (4). One cup of sliced strawberries contains 40 micrograms of vitamin B9 (folate) (2). Strawberries are a good source of folate, as it helps in preventing congenital disabilities during pregnancy. Folate is necessary for normal cellular function and tissue growth. One cup of sliced strawberries contains 254 micrograms of potassium (2). Potassium acts as a vasodilator and improves blood flow to the brain, reducing the risk of stroke and regulating blood pressure. One cup of sliced strawberries contains 0.6 micrograms of manganese (2). Manganese is a trace element necessary for many body processes and functions. Strawberries also contain vitamin K, vitamin B6, vitamin E, copper, iron, phosphorus, and magnesium.
2. Strawberries, Raw Nutrition Facts & Calories [Internet]. 2018. Available from: http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/fruits-and-fruit-juices/2064/2
3. Giampieri F, Alvarez-Suarez JM, Mazzoni L, Romandini S, Bompadre S, Diamanti J, et al. The potential impact of strawberry on human health. Natural Product Research. 2013.
4. Giampieri F, Alvarez-Suarez JM, Battino M. Strawberry and human health: Effects beyond antioxidant activity. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. 2014.
Strawberries contain several phenolic compounds such as anthocyanins, flavanols, flavonols, ellagic acid, and hydroxycinnamic acid (5). Pelargonidin is the main anthocyanin in strawberries responsible for the bright red color of strawberries (6). Procyanidins are antioxidants commonly found in strawberry seeds and flesh with various beneficial health effects (6). Lutein and zeathancins, antioxidants of strawberries, are scavengers to free-radicals and neutralize their harmful effect (6).
The ellagic acid derivatives, including ellagitannins, ellagic acid, and ellagic acid glycosides, represent an important group of phenolic compounds in strawberries (5). These phenolic compounds of strawberries possess anticancer and anti-inflammatory activities (4). Decreased oxidation of platelet aggregation and low-density lipoprotein (bad cholesterol) results in cardiovascular diseases. Ellagitannins have anticarcinogenic properties due to their hydrolysis product (ellagic acid) - ellagitannins are converted to ellagic acid in the gut (4).
5. Tulipani S, Mezzetti B, Capocasa F, Bompadre S, Beekwilder J, De Vos CHR, et al. Antioxidants, phenolic compounds, and nutritional quality of different strawberry genotypes. In: Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. 2008.
6. Oszmiański J, Wojdyło A. Comparative study of phenolic content and antioxidant activity of strawberry puree, clear, and cloudy juices. Eur Food Res Technol. 2009
Among individuals, one of the leading causes of death is cardiovascular diseases. Strawberries have a preventive effect against cardiovascular diseases due to their high polyphenol content. Anthocyanins in strawberries have a major role in the improvement of heart health (7). The flavonoid is a natural anti-inflammatory component of strawberry that reduces the risk of atherosclerosis (7).
Strawberries improve blood pressure, blood platelet function, and high-density lipoproteins (good cholesterol). Thus, it is lowering the risk of heart-related deaths (8). Strawberries are a rich source of potassium to keep your heart healthy. Also, strawberries may improve vascular function, decrease oxidative stress, improve blood antioxidant status, reduce inflammation and harmful oxidation of low-density lipoproteins (bad cholesterol) (8).
contain quercetin, anthocyanin, and kaempferol which lower the risk
of strokes (9).
These antioxidants offer protection against stroke by preventing
blood clotting – the formation of blood clots. Moreover,
strawberries contain potassium which acts as a vasodilator and
improves blood flow to the brain, reducing the risk of stroke. High
potassium content in strawberries counteracts sodium in people with
an increased risk of high blood pressure (3).
Strawberry is a healthy fruit for diabetic patients with a low glycemic index. The fiber content of the strawberries helps to regulate blood sugar level and keep it stable. The dietary fiber makes strawberries a part of a balanced diet and reduces one's risk of diabetes or improves existing diabetic symptoms (10). Vitamin C and ellagic acid are the important antioxidants of strawberries with anticancer activity. Ellagic acid suppresses the growth of cancerous cells, thus inhibiting the proliferation and spread of cancer. These nutrients act as a defensive line against the development of tumors and cancer (10).
Free radicals contribute to inflammatory joint disease, leading to gout, arthritis, and other problems. The phytochemicals and antioxidants found in strawberries have an anti-inflammatory effect which helps to reduce inflammation of joints. The presence of ellagic acid, flavonoids, and phenolic phytochemicals in strawberries minimizes the risk of age-related vision problems such as macular degeneration (9). These antioxidants eradicate the free radicals, thus protecting them from damaging healthy ocular structures (9).
7. Giampieri F, Forbes-Hernandez TY, Gasparrini M, Alvarez-Suarez JM, Afrin S, Bompadre S, et al. Strawberry as a health promoter: An evidence based review. Food Funct. 2015;
8. Gao Q, Qin L-Q, Arafa A, Eshak ES, Dong J-Y. Effects of strawberry intervention on cardiovascular risk factors: a meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials. Br J Nutr [Internet]. 2020/04/02. 2020;124(3):241–6. Available from: https://www.cambridge.org/core/article/effects-of-strawberry-intervention-on-cardiovascular-risk-factors-a-metaanalysis-of-randomised-controlled-trials/C2C297EDEE7CD8302C41DCEF84AD0C6D
9. Khanizadeh S. An Overview in Antioxidant Properties of Strawberry. pp. 203-216 In: New Plant Physiology Research. 2009 Jan 1;
10. Afrin S, Gasparrini M, Forbes-Hernandez TY, Reboredo-Rodriguez P, Mezzetti B, Varela-López A, et al. Promising Health Benefits of the Strawberry: A Focus on Clinical Studies. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. 2016.
Among young children, allergic reactions to strawberries are common (11). They contain a protein that can cause allergic symptoms insensitivity to apples or birch pollen; such a condition is known as pollen-food allergy. Headaches, tingling or itching in the mouth, hives, and swelling of the tongue, lips, or throat are the common symptoms due to allergic reactions in sensitive people. In severe cases, breathing problems can also occur in allergic individuals. In people with thyroid problems, goitrogens present in strawberries may interfere with thyroid gland functioning (11).
11. Zuidmeer L, Salentijn E, Rivas MF, Mancebo EG, Asero R, Matos CI, et al. The role of profilin and lipid transfer protein in strawberry allergy in the Mediterranean area. Clin Exp Allergy. 2006
To review, the following nutrition information is provided by the USDA for 1 cup (152g) of strawberry halves.
With a glycemic index of 40 and a glycemic load of 5, and enough fiber that has been found to regulate blood sugar levels and to keep it stable, strawberries are safe for diabetics and people that are following the Candida Diet.
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