Fresh summer strawberries are one of the most popular, refreshing, and nutritious fruits available.
The sweet, slightly tart berries have powerful antioxidant content and do not rapidly boost a person’s blood sugar, making them an ideal choice for those who have diabetes, and a safe, delicious addition to any diet.
Fruits and vegetables of all types, including strawberries, offer many health benefits. The World Health Organization (WHO) suggests that consuming 400 grams (g) of fruit and vegetables a day can reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.
In this article, we look at the health benefits of strawberries, their nutritional information, and ways to include them in the diet.
Strawberries mainly consist of water (91%) and carbohydrates (7.7%). They contain only minor amounts of fat (0.3%) and protein (0.7%).
The nutrients in 3.5 ounces (100 grams) of raw strawberries are:
Protein: 0.7 grams
Carbs: 7.7 grams
Sugar: 4.9 grams
Fiber: 2 grams
Fat: 0.3 grams
Fresh strawberries are very high in water, so their total carb content is very low — fewer than 8 grams of carbs per 3.5 ounces (100 grams).
The net digestible carb content is fewer than 6 grams in the same serving size.
Most of these berries’ carbs come from simple sugars — such as glucose, fructose, and sucrose — but they also contain a decent amount of fiber.
Strawberries have a glycemic index (GI) score of 40, which is relatively low.
This means that strawberries should not lead to big spikes in blood sugar levels and are considered safe for people with diabetes.
Dietary fibers are important to feed the friendly bacteria in your gut and improve digestive health. They are also useful for weight loss and can help prevent many diseases.
Vitamins and minerals
The most abundant vitamins and minerals in strawberries are:
Vitamin C. Strawberries are an excellent source of vitamin C, an antioxidant necessary for immune and skin health.
Manganese. Frequently found in high amounts in whole grains, legumes, fruits, and vegetables, this trace element is important for many processes in your body.
Folate (vitamin B9). One of the B vitamins, folate is important for normal tissue growth and cell function — and fundamental for pregnant women and older adults .
Potassium. This mineral is involved in many essential body functions, such as regulating blood.
To a lesser extent, strawberries also provide iron, copper, magnesium, phosphorus, and vitamins B6, K, and E.
Fiber - Fiber comprises around 26% of the carb content of strawberries.One 3.5-ounce (100-gram) serving of strawberries provides 2 grams of fiber — both soluble and insoluble.
Strawberries provide a range of potential benefits and can support the body’s defenses against a variety of diseases. There are more than 600 varieties of strawberry.
1. Preventing heart disease
Eating strawberries can help prevent heart disease. Strawberries might have a preventive effect against heart disease due to their high polyphenol content. Polyphenols are plant compounds that are good for the body.
A 2019 report advises that the anthocyanin in strawberries has links to a lower risk of a type of heart attack known as myocardial infarction.
The flavonoid quercetin, which is also present in strawberries, is a natural anti-inflammatory that appears to reduce the risk of atherosclerosis.
The fiber and potassium content in strawberries also support heart health.
In one 2011 study, participants who consumed 4,069 milligrams (mg) of potassium per day had a lower risk of death from ischemic heart disease when compared to those who consumed about 1,000 mg of potassium per day.
2. Preventing stroke
A 2016 meta-analysis included studies that had assessed the antioxidants quercetin, kaempferol, and anthocyanin.
This meta-analysis looked at the link between those antioxidants that were present in strawberries and stroke risk. It found that they moderately reduced the risk of stroke after the study authors took into account cardiovascular risk factors.
However, the authors advise caution over taking the study results too literally, as they looked at the overall impact of flavonoids rather than the participants’ direct response to doses.
The powerful antioxidants in strawberries may work against free radicals, according to a 2016 review. The review suggests that this factor could inhibit tumor growth and decrease inflammation in the body.
While no fruit acts as a direct treatment for cancer, strawberries, and similar fruits might help reduce the risk of some people developing the disease.
4. Blood pressure
Due to their high potassium content, strawberries might provide benefits for people who have a raised risk of high blood pressure by helping to offset the effects of sodium in the body.
Low potassium intake is just as important a risk factor for high blood pressure as high sodium intake. According to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), fewer than 2% of American adults meet the daily 4,700-mg recommendation for potassium.
Strawberries are a sweet, filling way to help people consume more potassium in their diet.
Eating foods such as strawberries, grapes, watermelon, and cantaloupe that are high in water content and fiber can help hydrate the body and maintain regular bowel movements.
Fiber is essential for minimizing constipation and adding bulk to the stool.
Strawberries are a healthful fruit choice for people with diabetes. The substantial fiber content of the berries also helps to regulate blood sugar and keep it stable by avoiding extreme highs and lows.
Fiber can improve satiety, helping people feel fuller for longer after eating. This can reduce urges to snack between meals, which will support glucose management and reduce the risk of blood sugar spikes.
7. Maintain your healthy vision
The antioxidant properties in strawberries may also help to prevent cataracts — the clouding over of the eye lens — which can lead to blindness in older age. Our eyes require vitamin C to protect them from exposure to free-radicals from the sun’s harsh UV rays, which can damage the protein in the lens. Vitamin C also plays an important role in strengthening the eye’s cornea and retina. (Here are other foods to eat for healthy eyes.)
While high doses of vitamin C have been found to increase the risk of cataracts in women over 65, researchers from the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm note that the risk pertains to vitamin C obtained from supplements, not the vitamin C from fruits and vegetables.
8. Keep your wrinkles at bay
The power of vitamin C in strawberries continues, as it is vital to the production of collagen, which helps to improve skin’s elasticity and resilience. Since we lose collagen as we age, eating foods rich in vitamin C may result in healthier, younger-looking skin. But vitamin C isn’t the only naturally-occurring wrinkle fighter found in this fruit. Researchers at Hallym University in the Republic of Korea concluded that ellagic acid visibly prevented collagen destruction and inflammatory response — two major factors in the development of wrinkles — in human skin cells, after continued exposure to skin-damaging UV-B rays.
9. Reduce pesky inflammation
The antioxidants and phytochemicals found in strawberries may also help to reduce inflammation of the joints, which may cause arthritis and can also lead to heart disease. A study conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health shows that women who eat 16 or more strawberries per week are 14 percent less likely to have elevated levels of C-reactive protein (CRP) — an indication of inflammation in the body. Learn more on how to fight inflammation naturally.
10. Aid in weight management
Maintaining a healthy weight is one of the best defenses against type 2 diabetes and heart disease, not to mention just plain good for your overall well-being. Strawberries are naturally low in calories (around 28 calories per serving), fat-free and low in both sodium and sugar. Strawberries do contain natural sugars, though total sugars are fairly low with 4 grams per serving — and the total carbohydrate content is equivalent to less than a half slice of bread. Triple your serving to 1.5 cups and you’ll have a snack that’s less than 100 calories and much healthier than those pre-packaged 100-calorie snacks. Add strawberries to one of these low-cal smoothie recipes and you’ll have the perfect breakfast or snack.