Sunday,20 August, 2017
Current issue | Issue 1337, (23 - 29 March 2017)
Sunday,20 August, 2017
Issue 1337, (23 - 29 March 2017)

Ahram Weekly

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

The queen of fruit
The queen of fruit
Al-Ahram Weekly

Nothing beats the smell, tempting looks and spectacular taste of fresh strawberries.  Whether fresh or frozen, these juicy heart-shaped delights pack a healthy punch in addition to sweetness and flavour.

Strawberries are packed with a variety of anti-oxidants, including anthocyanins which give the fruit its characteristic red colour, vitamins C and E and beta-carotene. They are also rich in dietary fibre, flavonoids, potassium, folates, vitamins B2, B5 and B6, biotin, manganese, iodine and zinc. They are very low in protein, sugar and calories, and virtually devoid of fat and cholesterol.

So if you’re not already a fan of strawberries, you should be.

Here are some of the benefits of eating strawberries on a regular basis:

- They help burn stored fat and are good for weight loss. Strawberries are naturally low on calories at around 28 kcal per serving, and they are fat-free and low in both sodium and sugar.  Their red colouring contains anthocyanins, which stimulate the burning of stored fat. They also promote blood flow and oxygen in the body, which is great for weight loss.

- They help prevent heart attacks. Eating three or more servings of half a cup of strawberries a week may help reduce heart attack risks by as much as one third due to their high concentration of anthocyanins, chemical compounds that have been found to make blood vessels more elastic and lower blood pressure. The anthocyanins in strawberries may help dilate arteries and reduce plaque buildup, according to a study published by the American Heart Association.

- They can help prevent and fight certain types of anemia due to their high folate content, essential for the synthesis of haemoglobin, the protein in red blood cells responsible for carrying oxygen throughout the body.

- They can help fight cancer. Strawberries are included in the list of top superfoods that can help lower cancer death rates because of their very high content of various anti-oxidants and flavonoids that work synergistically against oxidation and prevent damage caused by free radicals in the body.

- They can keep wrinkles at bay. Strawberries are filled with biotin, which helps build strong hair and nails. They also contain vitamin C and antioxidants that protect the elastic fibres in the skin to prevent sagging.

- They can increase energy. Strawberries are a great source of simple carbohydrates that can be turned into energy quickly. The fruit’s high-fibre content helps you feel satiated without feeling bogged down, which makes them an excellent choice for a pre-workout snack. You can also combine strawberries with a healthy fat source such as pistachios or peanut butter for a supercharged snack that will keep you going strong for a long time.

- They can strengthen vision. Eating three or more servings of strawberries a week may reduce the risk of cataracts, promote healthy ocular blood vessels and slow the progression of age-related mascular degeneration. Due to their vitamin C content, a single serving of strawberries contains 144 per cent of the daily value.
- They can reduce bad cholesterol. Strawberries have significant effects on cholesterol, and eating regular servings of them can reduce levels of bad cholesterol according to a study by Italian and Spanish universities.

- They can promote pre-natal health. Strawberries are a good source of the B vitamin folate, which is recommended for women who are pregnant or trying to conceive. Folate is necessary in the early stages of pregnancy to help in the development of the baby’s brain, skull and spinal cord, and the folic acid in strawberries may help to prevent certain birth defects.

Don’t stop at eating fresh strawberries, though. You can make jam and freeze in-season strawberries to get their benefits all year long. All you need to do is to wash the fruit in cold water and let it dry completely on paper towels or in a strainer. Spread the dry strawberries on parchment paper on a baking sheet and place in the freezer. Once they are completely frozen, pack them in a tightly sealed container and put them back in the freezer.

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