When it comes to fruit, what could be better than biting into a plump, juicy, red strawberry? The sweetness and the slight crunch of the seeds are a delightful experience. This fruit is also extremely versatile as well, making for a great addition to smoothies, oatmeal, yogurt parfaits, summer-inspired desserts, or you can enjoy them on their own for an afternoon snack. Beautiful to look at and worth every moment of savoring, there’s a long list of nutrition-based strawberry benefits to enjoy.
These berries are rich in vitamin C, antioxidants, and a variety of polyphenols that have profound effects on health and wellbeing. For more information, read on to learn about the various science-based benefits of eating strawberries. Then, for more healthy eating advice, make sure to check out 10 Healthiest Fruits To Eat Every Day.
The immune system is impacted by vitamin C in numerous ways. For one, vitamin C supports immunity through its antioxidant capabilities. Acting as an antioxidant, vitamin C supports the cells of the immune system by protecting them from the damage that can occur when the body has an immune response. Additionally, vitamin C positively affects the immune system by stimulating the production and function of white blood cells.
1. Strawberries can support immune function
Inflammation is a normal response to infection from bacteria or viruses, as well as from an injury such as a cut or broken bone. Inflammation is problematic when it becomes chronic, meaning the body is in a prolonged inflammatory state, which can be due to autoimmune conditions, exposure to toxins, or frequent consumption of ultra-processed foods.
Strawberries are a rich source of polyphenols, important chemicals found in plants that can protect cells from inflammatory damage. Although they have not included large sample sizes, a few studies have shown that the consumption of strawberries decreases markers of inflammation like high sensitivity c-reactive protein.
2. They can reduce inflammation
Osteoarthritis is a common type of arthritis that is usually caused by inflammation and causes individuals to experience joint pain and cartilage breakdown. Because of the powerful antioxidant properties of strawberries, a randomized placebo-controlled crossover trial examined the role of strawberries in decreasing pain symptoms in individuals with osteoarthritis.
3. They might also reduce osteoarthritis pain
In this study, 17 participants were randomly placed into a placebo group or a group consuming 50 grams of freeze-dried strawberries per day for 12 weeks. In the end, researchers found a significant difference in pain scores between the two groups, with the freeze-dried strawberry group having greater decreases in pain. Although this was a very small study, it suggests that including strawberries in one’s diet may help with pain management.
Strawberries are full of many types of polyphenols (beneficial chemical compounds found in plants). One powerful polyphenol found in strawberries is ellagic acid, which acts as an antioxidant and has been researched for its effect on preventing or slowing down chronic diseases.
Ellagic acid seems to have preventative and therapeutic effects on cancer through its antioxidant capacity and its ability to overcome the carcinogen process. Many factors contribute to the development of cancer. Strawberries alone will not prevent or treat cancer, but they can be part of a robust diet filled with anti-cancer properties.
HDL cholesterol is the “good” type of cholesterol, as it benefits the body by taking up excess cholesterol in the blood and carrying it to the liver to then be removed. High levels of HDL cholesterol can help decrease the risk of heart disease and stroke.
A 2008 randomized control trial published in the Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that when participants consumed a moderate amount of berries (they studied mixed berries that included strawberries), they had a significant increase in HDL cholesterol compared to control.