SICKLE CELL AND STRAWBERRIES

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Why you should add more strawberries to your diet

If you’re not already a fan of strawberries, you should be. Not only are they juicy, summery and delicious, they’re a bona fide superfood, too. Nutrient-rich and packed with antioxidants (like vitamin C), strawberries offer a wide range of health benefits, some of which may surprise you. (Wrinkle-prevention? Yes please!). Here are 10 reasons you should add more of this beloved fruit to your diet.

Strawberries are an excellent source of vitamins C and K as well as providing a good dose of fibre, folic acid, manganese and potassium. They also contain significant amounts of phytonutrients and flavanoids which makes strawberries bright red. They have been used throughout history in a medicinal context to help with digestive ailments, teeth whitening and skin irritations. Their fibre and fructose content may help regulate blood sugar levels by slowing digestion and the fibre is thought to have a satiating effect. Leaves can be eaten raw, cooked or used to make tea.

Give your immunity a boost

“Strawberries are an excellent source of vitamin C,” says Toronto-based registered dietitian Madeleine Edwards. Most mammals – except for humans – have the ability to produce vitamin C naturally, which is why it’s so important to get your daily requirement. “One serving contains 51.5 mg of vitamin C – about half of your daily requirement,” Edwards says. “Double a serving to one cup and get 100 per cent.” Vitamin C is a well-known immunity booster, as well as a powerful, fast-working antioxidant.

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.

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. 

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 per cent less likely to have elevated levels of C-reactive protein (CRP) – an indication of inflammation in the body.

Regulate your blood pressure

Potassium is yet another heart healthy nutrient, and with 134 mg per serving, strawberries are considered a “medium source,” according to Alberta Health Services. 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 LDL, inflammation and high blood pressure, strawberries have earned the title of one of the most heart-healthy fruits you can eat.

Boost your fibre intake

Fibre is a necessity for healthy digestion, and strawberries naturally contain about 2 g per serving. Problems that can arise from lack of fibre include constipation and diverticulitis-an inflammation of the intestines, which affects approximately 50 per cent of people over 60. Fibre can also aid in fighting type 2 diabetes. “Fibre helps slow the absorption of sugars (i.e. glucose) in the blood,” says Edwards. “As a result, adults who are managing diabetes can enjoy strawberries – in moderation – in their diet.”

www.besthealthmag.ca and www.bbcgoodfood.com

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