Garden strawberries, a late entrant in the Indian kitchen, is fast becoming a must have food on the Indian dining table, due to its amazing flavour, taste and potential health benefits.
An archival study of one of the oldest Indian newspaper suggests the garden varieties to be part of the Indian palette as early as the early 1800’s. The wild variety has been there even before the advent to the British in India.
Indian state of Maharashtra especially the Mahabaleshwar belt grows around 80% of India’s strawberry production. Other states which have taken to its cultivation are Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, West Bengal, Haryana, Punjab and Rajasthan and other sub-tropical areas of India. In fact, a lot of Indians, have started to successfully grow strawberries in their kitchen gardens.
Strawberry is a heart-shaped fruit with red flesh and a seeded coat. The fruit is known for its unique c aroma, juicy texture, sweetness, and bright red colour. The colour, flavour, texture, and size of strawberry depend on the variety of strawberry. This is the only fruit that has its seeds on the outside.
Nutritional Facts of Strawberries
Strawberries contain a range of nutrients and powerful antioxidants such as ellagic acid, kaemoferol, anthocyanins and quercetin.
As per the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Nutrient Database, one cup of fresh, sliced strawberries weighing 166 gm contains 53 calories, 1.11 gm of proteins, 3.3 gm of fiber, 12.75 gm of carbohydrates, 0.68 mg of iron, 254 mg of potassium, 40 mg of phosphorous, 22 mg of magnesium, 97.6 mg of vitamin C, and 40 mcg of folates.
Potential Health Benefits of Strawberries
1/5. Protects the heart
1. The high fibre and vitamin C content of strawberries prevent heart diseases.
2. Strawberry contains antioxidants such as quercetin, kaempferol, and anthocyanin which help in preventing stroke. Anthocyanin lowers the risk of myocardial infarction. The flavonoid quercetin decreases the risk of atherosclerosis.
3. Potassium present in strawberries offers protection against heart disease. They also help decrease blood pressure.
4. The pectin content of strawberries reduces the levels of LDL (bad cholesterol).
2/5. Prevents cancer
1. The high fibre and vitamin C content of strawberries prevent cancers of the colon and oesophagus.
2. The anti-cancer properties of strawberry are contributed to the presence of ellagic acid which prevents cancers of the lung, breast, skin, and bladder. Ellagic acid slows down the production of cancer cells and destroys certain types of carcinogens.
3/5. Regulates blood sugar
1. The fiber content of strawberries helps regulate blood sugar. Fiber improves satiety and decreases the urges to snack between meals thus, decreasing the risk of blood sugar spikes.
2. The ellagic acid along with the other antioxidants present in strawberries helps in slowing down glucose digestion thus, preventing the rise of blood sugar levels after a starchy meal.
3. The low glycemic index of strawberries prevents the sharp sugar spikes in diabetics.
4. Strawberries are useful in preventing type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome.
4/5. Boosts immunity
The high vitamin C content present in strawberries aids in boosting immunity. Vitamin C stimulates immune-boosting antibodies, which enhances the body’s ability to fight infections.
5/5. Other possible Benefits
Strawberry produces several health benefits, apart from the health benefits mentioned above, it also produces few more such as reduces bloating, slows cognitive decline, prevents birth defects, minimises constipation, reduces wrinkles, maintains healthy vision, improves brain health, fights inflammation, aids weight loss, supports a healthy pregnancy, keeps teeth healthy, possesses anti-aging properties, improves skin health, prevents hair fall, promotes sperm count, promotes bone health, and boosts digestive health.
8 strawberries a day can give more than 100% of daily vitamin c ‘antioxidant’ requirement. Strawberries are sodium-free, fat-free, cholesterol-free, low-calorie food, which everyone can have.
How to incorporate Strawberries in the Diet?
Strawberries can be consumed either in the fresh, frozen, or freeze-dried form. Some of the ways by which they can be incorporated into the diet are as follows…
- To flavour tea.
- Consumed fresh.
- Added to green salads.
- Added to chicken salad.
- Used to prepare a smoothie.
- Used as a topping for pizzas.
- Added to plain Greek yogurt.
- Used to prepare a fruit cocktail.
- Topped to whole-grain waffles, pancakes, or oatmeal.
- Used in jams, jellies, syrups, ice cream, and desserts.
How to prepare Strawberry Smoothie?
Take 8 hulled strawberries, ½ cup skim milk, ½ cup plain yogurt, 1 teaspoon of honey, and 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract. Add all the ingredients in the blender, and blend it until a smooth mixture is obtained.
Toss in the 6 crushed ice cubes and blend again.
Pour the strawberry smoothie into glasses and serve.