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Health Benefits of Strawberries

Strawberries are a delicious food with romantic connotations.  They're also packed with vitamins and minerals that can reduce the risk of developing certain diseases or even help treat some medical conditions.  Strawberries can be eaten alone, added to cereal, or even added to angel food cake with non-fat topping to make a delicious and healthy dessert. 

Nutritional Information 

One cup of strawberries contains only 43 calories, making them a low-calorie alternative to many other snacks.  Strawberries are packed with over 136 percent of the recommended daily value for vitamin C, and they also contain vitamin B2, vitamin B5, potassium, fiber, iodine, manganese, folate, copper, magnesium, vitamin B6, vitamin K and omega-3 fatty acids.   

Health Benefits 

Strawberries are a good source of the phenols ellagitannins and anthocyanins.  Anthocyanins give strawberries their bright red color, but they also have antioxidants that can protect cellular strictures from damage.  The phenol content of strawberries makes them a heart-healthy food that can reduce the risk of cancer and reduce inflammation.  Anti-inflammatory action is possible because the phenols in strawberries reduce the activity of an enzyme that causes inflammation.  Anti-inflammatory drugs also block this enzyme, but they can have undesirable side effects such as intestinal bleeding.  The anti-inflammatory properties of strawberries make them ideal for people who have arthritis, cancer, asthma and atherosclerosis.  

According to one research study cited by the George Mateljan Foundation, strawberries are one of the eight foods most associated with reduced rates of death from cancer in over 1,000 elderly study participants.  This reduce rate of cancer deaths is associated with the ellagitannin in strawberries.  The compounds in strawberries have also been known to slow down the division and proliferation of malignant liver cells.  The vitamin C content of strawberries can help with the prevention of inflammatory arthritis of two or more joints, making them a healthful food for people of all ages. 

Warnings 

Strawberries contain hulls, which cannot be eaten by some people with inflammatory bowel conditions.  This includes diverticulosis, Crohn's disease and irritable bowel syndrome.  People who have had bowel obstructions in the past may be advised to avoid strawberries and other foods with hulls.  People who have had gastric bypass and other bariatric surgical procedures may have to avoid strawberries.  If you have had this type of surgery, consult your surgeon to determine if strawberries can be safely added to your diet.  It is possible to have a strawberry allergy, so avoid this berry if you have had an allergic reaction in the past.