They’re local, delicious — and in season right now. Find them at your local farmer’s market or, better yet, visit a pick-your-own farm. As detailed in the latest issue of Best Health magazine, on newsstands now, here’s why strawberries are so good.
They are full of fibre, and just one cup contains your entire day’s worth of vitamin C, which helps strengthen the immune system and protects connective tissue. Berries may help keep blood sugar in check; they contain red-blue natural plant compounds called anthocyanins that may lower blood sugar.
Those amazing anthocyanins also help to protect your heart. Eating three or more servings of strawberries and blueberries a week could slash heart attack risk by as much as one third, according to a study of more than 93,000 women ages 25 to 42.
The study, published in the American Heart Association’s journal Circulation, suggested anthocyanins in both types of berries may help dilate arteries and reduce plaque buildup.
They’re good for your brain, too. According to a study of older women published in the Annals of Neurology, eating berries such as strawberries at least twice a week delayed their cognitive and memory decline by up to two and a half years. And fisetin, a flavonol found in strawberries, appears to protect mice against memory loss caused by Alzheimer’s disease, says a study published in April in the journal Aging Cell.
- Organic: If possible, buy organic strawberries; they are second only to apples as the most pesticide-contaminated produce, according to the Dirty Dozen list from Environmental Working Group.
- The scent: The strawberry plant is a member of the rose family.
- Before you eat: Hull and wash strawberries before eating them. There have been cases of E. coli traced to strawberries.
- Freeze them: Hull and wash strawberries in cold water and let them dry on paper towels. Spread dry berries out on wax or parchment paper on a baking sheet — don’t let them touch — and place them in the freezer. Once they are frozen, pack them in a sealed container and immediately put them back into the freezer.