Wednesday,19 September, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1284, (25 February - 2 March 2016))
Wednesday,19 September, 2018
Issue 1284, (25 February - 2 March 2016))

Ahram Weekly

Entre Nous: The queen of fruit

Let’s talk about better living! Our interactive family corner aims to expand our lifestyle horizons with practical little pearls of wisdom from the editor and input from our readers

“Strawberries are the angels of the earth — innocent and sweet with green leafy wings reaching heavenward” — Jasmine Heiler

If you’re not already a fan of strawberries, you should be. These juicy heart-shaped delights have much more to offer beyond sweetness and flavour. In some Asian countries strawberries are called “the queen of fruit” because they are packed with a variety of health benefits. Compared to fruit like apples, oranges and bananas, strawberries have a higher amount of nutrients.

Whether fresh or frozen, strawberries are nutrient-rich and packed with antioxidants and vitamin C, in addition to having a wide range of surprising health benefits. Here are some of the benefits of strawberries:

Boosting immunity: One serving of strawberries contains about half your daily requirement of vitamin C, which is known to be an immunity booster and a powerful, fast-working antioxidant. Studies show that the antioxidant power of strawberries becomes “bioavailable,” or ready to work, very quickly after they are eaten.

Promoting eye health: The antioxidant properties of strawberries may help to prevent cataracts, or the clouding over of the eye lens, which can lead to blindness in older age. Vitamin C obtained from strawberries plays an important role in strengthening the eye’s cornea and retina. It also protects the eyes from exposure to free radicals from the sun’s UV rays, which can damage the protein in the lens.

Fighting cancer: Strawberries contain antioxidants that are scavengers of free radicals and neutralise the potentially negative effect they can have on cells. Vitamin C can also help with cancer prevention, since a healthy immune system is the body’s best defence. A phytochemical called ellagic acid, which has been shown to have anti-cancer properties like suppressing the growth of cancer cells, is also found in strawberries.

Helping to burn stored fat: The red colouring of strawberries contains anthocyanins, which stimulate the burning of stored fat and can also boost short-term memory in eight weeks according to the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

Weight management: Compounds found in strawberries promote blood flow, which is great for weight loss. Strawberries are also low in calories and high in fibre, and one cup of strawberries contains just 54 calories.

Reducing inflammation: Strawberries lower blood levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), a signal of inflammation in the body.

Lowering the risk of cardiovascular disease: Flavonoids, which are responsible for the colour and flavour of strawberries, can lower the risk of heart disease.

Promoting bone health: Strawberries contain potassium, vitamin K and magnesium, all of which are important for bone health.

Keeping wrinkles at bay: The vitamin C in strawberries is vital for the production of collagen, which helps to improve the skin’s elasticity and resilience. Since we naturally lose collagen as we age, eating foods rich in vitamin C can result in healthier, younger-looking skin.

Regulating blood pressure: Potassium can help regulate blood pressure and may even help to lower high blood pressure by acting as a buffer against the negative effects of sodium. With their impact on the reduction of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, inflammation and high blood pressure, strawberries have earned the title of one of the most heart-healthy fruits you can eat.

Promoting pre-natal health: Folic acid is a B vitamin recommended for women who are pregnant or trying to conceive. Strawberries are a good source, containing 21 mcg per serving. Folic acid is necessary in the early stages of pregnancy to help in the development of the baby’s brain, skull and spinal cord. The folic acid in strawberries may help to prevent certain birth defects, such as spina bifida.

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