Red, sweet, supple, chewy – these characteristics make the strawberry adored by many people around the world. Also thanks to its amazing flavor, it is added as the main ingredient in a lot of wonderful recipes; especially desserts. This scrumptious and delightful fruit is also one of the top berries that people consider their favorite. It may be in terms of strawberry nutrition, taste, and versatility.
But where did strawberries come from?
HISTORY OF STRAWBERRIES
It was during the 1600s when strawberries were first commercialized, and it was also during that time, or even earlier when the abundance of strawberries in North America was discovered. The plants where the berries come from are said to be naturally growing all around the area, so people really made a lot of use of the fruit at that time.
The plant that bears strawberries is said to be a part of the rose family. After the tiny flowers from the plant finally blossom, they develop and produce the strawberries. Also, there are two common varieties of strawberries: Virginian and Chilean strawberry. Their only difference is from where they were cultivated, the Virginia strawberry is from North America while the Chilean variety is from Central or South America. However, the modern strawberry is known to be a hybrid of both Virginia and Chilean varieties.
When the 1800s finally came, these fruits became abundantly eaten in Europe, though the shipment of strawberries already began in 1600.
The time when people made strawberries into luxurious desserts was during the 19th century. Also, American citizens have decided to finally cultivate and harvest strawberries since the said dessert was quite a big hit during this time. This date also marked the widespread cultivation of strawberries across a lot of U.S. states; ranging from Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana, Tennessee, and the biggest strawberry supplier during that time which was New York.
It is California who houses the biggest strawberry farms nowadays. It takes up around 75 percent of the whole of North America’s strawberry production. They are also known to celebrate Strawberry Festivals which even started way back the year 1850.
The most common way of consuming strawberries is by eating them raw until people have decided to also make them into processed and portable foods like jellies, jams, food flavorings, and other known desserts.
NUTRITION FACTS AND HEALTH BENEFITS OF STRAWBERRIES
A strawberry is said to contain quite a lot of water content, taking up about 91 percent of the fruit. The remaining 9 percent is divided among the other nutrients such as carbohydrates, fat, and protein among others.
However, to be completely accurate, strawberries contain more than 10 different vitamins and minerals.
Strawberry nutrition in a cup of whole or sliced fresh strawberries:
- Calories – 32 counts
- Water – 91 percent
- Protein – 0.7 grams
- Carbohydrates – 7.7 grams
- Sugar – 4.9 grams
- Fiber – 2 grams
- Fats – 0.3 grams
- Omega3 fats – 0.07 grams
- Omega6 fats – 0.09 grams
- Saturated fats – 0.02 grams
- Monounsaturated fats – 0.04 grams
- Polyunsaturated fats – 0.16 grams
Other than the above-mentioned nutrients, strawberries also boast high contents of vitamins and minerals.
- Strawberries are very rich in vitamin C. They are a good source of this vitamin that serves as an antioxidant for the body by providing aid to the body’s immune system and health of the skin.
- Manganese is also an important mineral that strawberries contain. It is an essential element for a lot of bodily functions.
- The folate content of strawberries can be used by the body in improving cell function and for the proper growth of tissues. It is of high importance for pregnant women and people with older age to get enough folate.
- Strawberries contain certain amounts of potassium that is used by the body in controlling blood pressure and many other important functions.
- The other vitamins and minerals that compose the nutritional value of strawberries are vitamin B6, vitamin E, vitamin K, and a few copper, iron, phosphorus, and magnesium.
Also, since strawberries are fruits that come from plants, they are known to contain specific plant compounds that are beneficial for their health.
- They contain an anthocyanin called pelargonidin. Anthocyanin is an antioxidant that is found in plants; and just like how it is for the other berries, the anthocyanin gives the strawberries their vibrant and rich red color.
- Another plant antioxidant, polyphenols, are also present in strawberries. They are important in fighting off diseases which can range from minor inflammations to type 2 diabetes. This antioxidant is also found in almost all kinds of berries. The most common polyphenol that is found in strawberries is ellagic acid.
- Strawberries are also rich in another plant antioxidant known as the procyanidin. This antioxidant is said to be contained in the fruit’s flesh and seeds. The most important characteristic of procyanidin is in its cancer-preventing properties that may be used as an aid in stopping the growth and development of cancer cells.
Based on the nutritional facts of strawberries, they are indeed beneficial for specific health conditions. Some of them are:
- The strawberry’s antioxidant and vitamin content is beneficial for the proper and better functioning of the body’s immune system and may even contribute as an anti-aging agent.
- Also, the antioxidants are responsible for relieving certain inflammation that may occur in the body.
- The nutritional value of strawberries is helpful for healthy heart and blood functions. Specifically, the anthocyanins are capable of giving the body great cardiovascular health.
- Strawberries have cancer-fighting properties that fight against possible carcinogens and cancer cells that may lead to the growth of cancer tumors in due time.
- They are also able to regulate the blood sugar levels in the body thanks to its wide range of vitamins and minerals, especially their antioxidants.
- Vitamin C serves as the most active antioxidant when it comes to protecting the skin from any form of damage. Most of the time, even skin issues related to aging, sun exposure, poor diet, and toxins may be relieved by eating enough strawberries.
- They keep the brain and the whole nervous system as healthy as possible. There are also studies providing evidence that states the potential benefits of strawberries in preventing the development of neurodegenerative diseases.