Strawberries: Berry Good For You!
When I come into the store in early spring and see fresh strawberries make their debut, I know local fruit season is just around the corner. Strawberries are typically the first fruit that appears, blushing red and smelling sweet, enticing anyone who strolls past. So revered is this early fruit that in Native American culture, the month of June is known as the Strawberry Moon, when this bountiful fruit is used to celebrate spring and nurture friendships and healing.
Nutritionally, strawberries are a powerhouse. They’re rich in health-promoting phytonutrients, vitamins and minerals that are essential for optimal health. They are among the top three sources per serving of the antioxidant polyphenol, only trumped by walnuts and blackberries. (Another great source of polyphenols is our Fresh Press olive oil, available in both stores. Check the label: the higher the number, the more polyphenols.) They are also one of the top sources of vitamin C, packing more of this vitamin in eight strawberries than one orange. Consumption of fruits rich in vitamin C may help the body develop resistance against infection, inflammation and eat up harmful free radicals. In fact, recent research has shown improvement in inflammatory biomarkers when strawberries were consumed at least three times a week. Sign me up!
That said, take care in choosing quality strawberries to reap the most nutritional benefit. Even though they can be available year-round, the most flavorful and nutritious will be found grown locally and seasonally, from spring through mid-summer. They perish early and therefore, should only be purchased a few days prior to use. Food scientists advise us that two days is the peak time for strawberry storage without major loss of vitamin C and polyphenols. Strawberries like humidity, so storing them in your refrigerator’s storage bins or in sealed containers will make them last longer.
Bottom line: for an antioxidant nutrient rich power food, hands down, strawberries are among the top. For the most bang for your buck, have at least eight of them, three times a week. Now that’s berry good news!