Strawberry Not A Berry?
Botanically speaking, it is actually a member of the rose family!
On average, there are 200 tiny “seeds” on every strawberry. However, these so-called “seeds” that cover the outside of the strawberry are actually achenes, and each achene is an individual fruit that has a seed inside of it! Since true berries have seeds inside, botanists do not classify a strawberry as a berry.
Ancient Romans believed that strawberries could relieve inflammation, depression, and diseases of the blood, liver, and spleen. The roots, stems, and leaves of the strawberry plant were all used for medicinal purposes. The roots relieved diarrhea, the leaves were made into compounds used to ease joint pain and sore throats, and the stems were rubbed into open wounds to prevent infection by drawing out bacteria.
Antioxidant, Anti-Inflammatory, Memory Enhancing, Anti-Cancer, Fat Burning
One such study published in 2015 found that the consumption of strawberries is “associated with the prevention and improvement of chronic-degenerative diseases” and “reduces chronic inflammation and improves plasma lipid profile, supporting cardiovascular health, especially in individuals with increased risk for metabolic syndrome.”
Another study conducted by The Harvard School of Public Health found that women who ate 16 or more strawberries per week had a lower C-reactive protein level (CRP), a marker for inflammation in the body.
According to a 2004 review of the science behind strawberries, the compounds found in the ruby red fruit have powerful antioxidant properties as well as “demonstrated anticancer activity in several different experimental systems, blocking initiation of carcinogenesis, and suppressing progression and proliferation of tumors.”
The unique flavonoids found in strawberries have the ability to decrease the activity of the enzyme cyclooxygenase (COX), the same enzyme blocked by nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) such as aspirin and ibuprofen. Pain is reduced by blocking this enzyme which is linked to inflammatory conditions such as arthritis, asthma, atherosclerosis, and cancer. And of course, strawberries do not cause intestinal bleeding or any other side-effect associated with the use of NSAIDS.
Anthocyanins, the pigment which gives Strawberries their red color, triggers enzymes in the body to burn fat. In fact, The Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry found that animals given a diet high in Anthocyanins gained 24% less weight than those without.
Research has also linked anthocyanins to improved brain function and eye health.
Strawberries are high in nitrates which increase blood and oxygen flow to the muscles preventing muscle fatigue. Some studies suggest that nitrates can enhance athletic performance.
A national survey noted that strawberry lovers were “health conscious, fun loving, intelligent and happy.” On the other hand, those who turned their noses up to the sweet red fruit were described as “weird, boring, stuffy-picky, fussy eaters who avoid healthy foods.” Which category do you fall into?
Strawberries are among the foods most commonly associated with pesticide residue. Just last month, strawberries replaced apples at the top of the Environmental Working Group’s Dirty Dozen list. For this reason, we encourage you to select only organically grown strawberries.
Looking for an amazing strawberry summer smoothie? Try one of my favorites, Strawberry Coconut Smoothie! You are going to love it!