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Food of the month - Strawberries

June 2015

It’s June so our food of the month just has to be...strawberries!

At this time of year they can be at their best, full of flavor and texture and just wonderful.

Most of us remember from our schooldays - or more recent pub quizzes! - that strawberries are not actually fruits because they carry their seeds on the outside. Most of us are pretty uninterested in this, as long as they taste delicious who cares?!  But some might like to know that strawberries are actually a member of the rose family.

Strawberries have been a popular treat since Roman times, and not just for their flavour. For years it has been known that strawberries can offer a range of nutritional benefits.

Previous Health Foods of the Month...

Lamb

Potatoes

Sardines


 

Diet & Supplements Index

Waitrose Recipes

For a start, strawberries contain a large amount of phenolic compounds such as flavonoids, which have antioxidant properties. The phenols in strawberries are also said to fight against many inflammatory disorders such as osteoarthritis, asthma and atherosclerosis.

Strawberries are also said to be very good in assisting the fight against the onset of many different types of cancers. This is mainly because of the combination of these antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agents found in strawberries but is also assisted by the fruit’s high quantites of vitamin c, folate and the flavonoids quercetin and kaempferol.

Strawberries contain a good level of manganese – this is another powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent. A normal cupful of strawberries will contain around 20% manganese and this will not only help fight the battles against free radicals and oxidative stress, but can also help to reduce cellular inflammation which can be an underlying cause of many heart problems.
Manganese is also very good for bones, helping to build health bones and to maintain proper bone structure.

Strawberries contain potassium and vitamin K which are also important in bone health.

All this is on top of the high levels of vitamin C contained in strawberries which can have such good effect on so many aspects of the body, helping to lower blood pressure, ensure a healthy immune system and ward off the development of age-related ocular diseases such as cataracts and macular degeneration.

Finally strawberries have a high level of fibre to help the general digestive processes. So clearly strawberries shouldn’t just be for special occasions; with all this good nutrition they should be a part of our everyday summer menus.

Today many supermarkets stock strawberries year around, but fresh local strawberries certainly have a unique flavour and obviously have maximum nutrients if they are eaten fresh from being picked. You can freeze strawberries (it is important to ensure they are well washed and dried first) but when they thaw, they won’t be the same and will often be softer and darker with a slightly different flavour.

 


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