Strawberries are of the first signs of growing season when that red sweet-tasting berry is spotted on the vines that spread covering the ground. Strawberries have a rather short growing season in some areas, but that doesn’t stop them from being enjoyed all around the nation.
These bright red berries are frequently tossed into fruit and vegetable salads and baked in cakes or added to ice cream and frostings. Most people agree strawberries are best enjoyed fresh off the vine.
While the word berry is in their name, the strawberry isn’t truly a berry, but we won’t get into the scientific explanation right now; because the strawberry still has a lot of nutritional benefits.
Strawberries are rich in fiber, folate, potassium, magnesium and vitamins C and K. They are also a good source of antioxidants and a low-calorie fruit.
- Improve Heart Functions: The antioxidants found in strawberries have antioxidants that actually boost heart health and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease as well as LDL cholesterol. A recent study by Dr. Eric Rimm of Harvard Medical School stated that if women added a half-cup of strawberries or other berries to their diet just a once a week, the risk of heart conditions would reduce by 34%. Along with the beneficial antioxidants, the content of fiber and vitamin C help improve heart health as well.
- Help Prevent Cancer: The risk of cancer is increased with cells are damaged due to oxidation and toxins are not properly removed from the body. Due to the antioxidant content found in strawberries, along with them being a good source of vitamin C, consuming them regularly helps reduce the risk of cancer.
- Support Eye Health: The beneficial phytochemicals and flavonoids found in strawberries can actually reduce the risk of macular degeneration and help alleviate dry eye conditions and eye infections.
Placing masks that contain strawberry pulp and honey are good for the skin, helping unclog pores and exfoliate dead skin cells resulting in a healthy, smooth complexion.
The strawberry is actually a member of the rose family, rather than the berry family. There are a variety of species and is the only fruit that has seeds on the exterior of the fruit.
Due to the fragile nature of berries, they must be handpicked with as little handling as possible to prevent bruising. The strawberry plant is a perennial that usually lasts up to six years when properly taken care of.
The first real strawberry garden was grown in France during the latter part of the eighteenth century but prior to that, the wild growing strawberries were cultivated. However, it has a much earlier history than that, with mention of it for use in medicine in the Roman culture. It is native to North America and the Native American Indians introduced the strawberry to the first colonists, who in turn shipped large, healthy plants to Europe during the early 1600s.
During the 19th century, New York restaurants introduced strawberries with cream and it was revealed as a luxurious dessert. It was that part of history, that New York was the hub for strawberries, thanks to railroad transport and refrigerated cars. Strawberry production grew tremendously and Florida, California, Arkansas, Tennessee, and Louisiana helped in the process. In celebration of the strawberry, many states began holding strawberry festivals, with the first one being held in 1850.