Strawberries are low-calorie fruit that is not only delicious but super healthy, packed with vitamins, fibers, powerful antioxidants. Here's why strawberries should be part of your healthy diet, including tips on how to buy, store and freeze strawberries. + I give you most delicious Healthy Strawberry Recipes to use up this amazing fruit.
Strawberries are called as "Queen of Fruits" for a good reason. These sweet little delights are not only delicious but nutritious with many health benefits. This heart-shaped fruit is loaded with immune-boosting vitamin C, powerful antioxidants that fights free radicals and protects against inflammation, cancer and heart diseases. Also, strawberries are low-calorie fruit and thus perfect for weight loss. Strawberries are in one word AMAZING and they are part of my healthy diet.
Since strawberries are now in season, I decided to group up some of my favorite Healthy Strawberry Recipes in one post. All these recipes are super easy to make, packed with fresh strawberries and beyond words delicious.
But also I want to share with you why I love strawberries so much, by giving you some info about the health benefits of eating strawberries including tips on how to buy, store and freeze strawberries. Read and fell in love with strawberries too.
Strawberry nutrition facts
Strawberries are amazing! They are low-calorie fruit that consist mainly of water (91%) and some carbohydrates (7.7%). Most of these carbs are simple sugars - such as glucose, fructose, and sucrose - but they also contain a decent amount of fiber that are important to feed the friendly bacteria in your gut and improve digestive health.
One cup of sliced, fresh strawberries (166 grams), contain (1):
- Calories: 53 kcal
- Protein: 1.11 g
- Carbohydrates: 12.75 g
- Dietary fiber: 3.3 g
- Sugars 8.12 g
- Fat 0.50 g
Also, strawberries have a glycemic index (GI) score of 40, which is relatively low (2). This means that strawberries don't lead to big blood sugar spikes and they are considered safe for people with diabetes.
The most prevalent vitamins and minerals in strawberries are:
- Vitamin C. Strawberries are an excellent source of vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant that promotes healthy immunity and skin health (3, 4).
- Folate (vitamin B9). Folate is important for normal tissue growth and cell function. It's fundamental vitamin for pregnant women and older adults (5, 6, 7).
- Potassium. This is essential mineral responsible for regulating blood pressure (8, 9).
Strawberries are also a good source of iron, copper, magnesium, phosphorus, and vitamins B6, K, and E.
Health benefits of strawberries
In addition to being sweet, juicy and absolutely delicious, strawberries offer many health benefits. The antioxidant-rich strawberries prevent many diseases - those caused by inflammation and oxidative stress. They help with obesity and keep our hear healthy by increasing HDL (good) cholesterol levels, and lower the blood pressure. Also, they are good protection against various types of cancer. (10)
Health benefits of strawberries are many. Here are just a few that will convince you to include this fruit in your diet.
#1 Heart health
Strawberries have high levels of heart-healthy antioxidants - flavonoids with strong anti-inflammatory properties that reduces the risk of a heart attack and improve our heart health. Additionally, the high fiber content, vitamin C, and folate in strawberries help keeping the heart healthy by reducing bad cholesterol. (11, 12, 13)
#2 Reduce blood pressure
Strawberries are rich in potassium and magnesium and low in sodium. Potassium and magnesium help reduce hypertension and the rigidity of arteries and blood vessels. This eases the flow of blood to various parts of the body and keeps them functioning at their full potential.
#3 Stroke prevention
The anti-inflammatory power of the antioxidants in strawberries helps reduce the formation of blood clots that are linked with stroke. (15)
#4 Cancer prevention
Vitamin C, folate, and flavonoids in strawberries act as excellent antioxidants and form strong line of defense to fight cancer and tumor growth.
#5 Boost immunity
Vitamin C, present in strawberries and many other types of fruits help boosts the immune system and helps in curing common cough and cold. A single serving has approximately 150% of your daily requirement of vitamin C!
#6 Weight Loss
Strawberries boost the production of the adiponectin and leptin, both of which are fat-burning hormones. They help reduce appetite, decrease blood sugar, and reduce body weight and fat, all of which promote weight loss.
#7 Reduce the risk of diabetes
Strawberries are a low glycemic index food that are high in fiber, which helps to regulate blood sugar and keep it stable by avoiding extreme highs and lows. Eating strawberries may lower the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
When are strawberries in season?
Strawberries are available basically year-round in grocery stores. You can find fresh strawberries, same as frozen ones pretty much in any store. But the best strawberries are those that are fresh and in season. And that’s between April and June.
How to choose the best strawberries?
Nothing beats fresh strawberries plucked from the bush and eaten raw! But many of us are not that lucky to have strawberries planted in our gardens. So when visiting stores or farmers market, we have to choose. And here’s how to choose the best ones:
- Select organic, locally grown strawberries whenever possible, as they are safe to eat and have the sweetest flavor.
- Choose berries that are firm, plump, undamaged and free of mold.
- Look for those that have a shiny, deep red color and bright green caps attached.
- Take a whiff before you buy. Strawberries should smell like strawberries meaning they have to be fragrant.
- Strawberries that are available all year round are from those countries with a warmer climate. They are safe to eat but I always choose organic.
Note: Strawberries have the highest level of pesticides (19), so when it comes to strawberries I always look to buy organic and locally-grown. But that's not always the case and I know for many organic strawberries are outside of the budget. There is no need to worry. The nutritional benefit of eating conventionally grown strawberries far outweighs the risk of not eating strawberries at all.
How to store strawberries?
Strawberries are very delicate and highly perishable fruit and should be eaten in a couple of days once harvested. Proper storage can keep strawberries fresh longer. Here's how:
- Don’t wash strawberries and don’t remove their stems until meant to eat. That way they will last longer.
- Store strawberries in a sealed container and keep them refrigerated in the coldest part of the fridge.
- If properly stored, they will last for a week.
- To wash strawberries, place them in a large colander and rinse gently with cool water. Lay strawberries in a single layer on a clean kitchen towel or layer of paper towels and pat dry.
How to freeze Strawberries?
Nothing is more disappointing than to find your beautiful fresh strawberries started to rot and you have to toss them out. You can avoid wasting these little treasures simply by freezing them. Freezing strawberries don't underly the nutritional value of the fruit. Actually, strawberries will keep 98% of all their values but also original shape, color, and taste.
Here are some tips on how to freeze strawberries:
- Hull the strawberries and wash them thoroughly. Pat them dry with paper towels.
- Lay them in a single layer on a baking sheet with baking paper on the bottom, and freeze them until they're solid (overnight usually does it).
- Transfer frozen strawberries to a resealable plastic zip-lock bag and keep them frozen until ready to use.
- Frozen strawberries will keep up to six months.
Did you know...
Strawberries are not berries from a botanical standpoint, but pseudocarps (also known as a false fruit or accessory fruit). The strawberry plant, genus Fragaria, is a member of the rose family. Yes, ROSE! The true fruits of the strawberry plant are actually the small seeds found on the outer surface.
Also, the red color of strawberries is due to high amounts of anthocyanins (pigment), but the presence of anthocyanins is not always assimilated with the red color. The anthocyanins also give color to blueberries, but the difference in pH makes them...blue.
Recipes to use up strawberries
Perfectly ripe, sweet and delicious strawberries are best eaten raw, right out of hand. But if you're willing to put in just a bit more effort, there are many other ways to enjoy this fruit. Here is the selection of delicious healthy strawberry recipes that are easy to make, super delicious and totally guilt-free.
Creamy and delicious, this Strawberry Overnight Oats recipe will be your new favorite breakfast, I promise! These oats are loaded with fibers, proteins, and SUPERFOODS. Made with yogurt for extra creaminess and packed with fresh strawberries, they are wholesome meal that will make you wake up early in the morning just to have breakfast.
Refreshing and loaded with flavor, this Strawberry Kefir Smoothie is a delicious and super healthy way to start the day. This fruity kefir drink is loaded with probiotics and SUPERFOODS, naturally sweet and made without added sugars. It’s an easy breakfast that will satisfy all your morning needs.
Strawberry Spirulina Smoothie is jet another perfect morning drink. This tasty breakfast smoothie is delicious, super simple to throw together, and a wonderful way to get your daily dose of greens. It’s made without added sugars, loaded with nutrients, antioxidants and SUPERFOODS.
This simple, yet so delicious Strawberry Chia Pudding is nutritious breakfast that is decadent enough to be a dessert too. It’s loaded with fresh strawberry flavor, lightly sweet and totally addictive. A satisfying guilt-free treat that’s refined sugar-free, healthy and packed with superfoods.
Sweet and deliciously creamy, Strawberry Peanut Butter Smoothie is perfect on-to-go breakfast for busy weekday mornings! It’s loaded with nutrients and fresh strawberry flavor. Refined sugar-free, all natural and very filling – super healthy and so tasty.
Chewy Strawberry Oatmeal Cookies are one delicious treat filled with fresh strawberries and beautiful flavors. These tasteful cookies are made with all healthy ingredients and packed with nutrients. Without refined sugars, whole grain, and super low-calorie these cookies are perfect breakfast, kids school snack or afternoon dessert.
Strawberry Chia Seed Jam is the perfect healthy alternative to conventional store-bought jams. It’s made with healthy ingredients, loaded with delightful fruity flavor and many nutrients. Enriched with lime and cinnamon and without refined sugars, this jam is a delicious way to enjoy healthy breakfast every day.
Sweet with a kick of spicy ginger, this immune boosting Strawberry Ginger Smoothie Bowl is a fresh and healthy breakfast done in just minutes! Packed with nutrients, low calorie and made without any added sugars it's irresistible and yummy!
Sweet and flavorful, this Strawberry Chocolate French Toast Bake is the ultimate crowd-pleaser. It’s filled with cottage cheese and so delicious. Easy make-ahead morning treat or brunch.
Strawberry Banana Muffins makes perfect afternoon treat. Packed full of fresh flavors and all the healthy stuff these banana muffins will surprise you with it's taste. Made without refined sugars, low calorie and super easy to make… just amazing!
If you’ve tried any of these healthy strawberry recipes or any other recipe on Natalie’s Health, please take a minute to rate the recipe and leave a comment letting me know how you liked it. I love hearing from you!