Strawberries, Health Benefits and Recipes
These berries, with their tempting looks and great taste, have secured their place in the list of favorites for ages. Strawberries, with their common scientific name Fragaria (there are different suffixes for different varieties, such as Fragaria Vesca for wild strawberry, Fragaria Orientalis for Eastern Strawberries etc.), are berries which grow in bushes.
They are extensively used in food stuffs ice-creams, jams, jellies, squashes, syrups, confectionaries, bakeries, chocolates and even medicines for their extraordinarily rich flavor, taste and color. They are also consumed fresh. We know that all fruits, particularly berries and those with exotic colors are rich in anti oxidants. Strawberries are no exceptions. In addition to anti oxidants, they have many other nutrients and can be efficiently used to prevent many diseases.
Here are the health benefits:
Eye Care: The primary reasons for almost all the problems of eyes are free radicals and deficiency of certain nutrients. With the growing age and lack of these protective nutrients, the harmful oxidants or free radicals cast heavy damage on our eyes, such as drying up of eyes, degeneration of optical nerves, Macular degeneration, vision defects and make them prone to infections too. The anti oxidants such as vitamin-C, Flavonoids, Phenolic Phytochemicals and Elagic Acid, present in strawberries can help avoid this situation to a great extent. One more factor is ocular pressure, i.e. the pressure of the eyes. Any disturbance in it is also harmful for the eyes. Here too, strawberries are helpful as they contain potassium, which help maintain right pressure.
Arthritis and Gout: The degeneration of muscles and tissues, drying up of the fluid which help mobility of the joints and accumulation of toxic substances and acids (such as uric acid) in the body are some of the ill effects of free radicals present in our body, which are primarily responsible for Arthritis and Gout. Strawberries, with their team of anti oxidants and detoxifiers, can effectively help push away such health hazards forever. It is a famous saying in India that a serving of any fruit a day will remove the rust from the joints. It is very true for strawberries.
Cancer: Vitamin-C, Folate and Anthocyanin, Quercetin and Kaempferol (few of the many Flavonoids in strawberries which possess excellent anti oxidant and anti carcinogenic properties) together form an excellent team to fight cancer and tumor. A daily intake of strawberries is seen to have remarkably brought down the growth of cancerous cells.
Brain Function: It is a very common observation that old people tend to lose their memory and control over their activities, limbs etc. This is because of aging of their brain and the nervous system. Actually, the free radicals, the agents very much responsible for aging, have a very adverse effect on these systems. Due to them, the brain tissues start degenerating and the nerves get weaker. Strawberries can help you out. The vitamin-C and the phytochemicals in them neutralize the effect of these oxidants and also rejuvenate the system. Strawberries are rich in iodine too, which is very helpful for proper functioning of the brain and nervous system.
High Blood Pressure: Strawberries are very good in potassium and magnesium content, both of which are very effective in lowering high blood pressure caused by sodium.
Heart Diseases: High fiber, Folate, no fats and high anti oxidants such as vitamin-C and those phytochemicals (Flavonoids) together form an ideal cardiac health pack, as they effectively reduce cholesterol. Some of the members of the vitamin-B family present in strawberries also strengthen the cardiac muscles and help better functioning of the heart.
Other Benefits: Folate is known to protect from birth-defects. Vitamin-C effectively prevents from infections and cold. The phytonutrients also have anti inflammatory properties.
Traditional Strawberry Sauce
- 1 cup water
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2-1/2 cups sliced fresh strawberries
Quick Strawberry Sauce
- 2-1/2 cups sliced fresh strawberries
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup cold water
These sauces can be used on ice cream, cheesecake, plain custard or yogurt, as well as pancakes and french toast.