Most people recognize strawberries for their juicy, sweet taste. However, they are more than just pleasing to the tastebuds. They are also good for you. Like other fruits, they pack a punch in terms of nutrients and antioxidants. Even better, they are naturally low in calories, making them a much better choice than a cupcake or cookie when the urge to snack strikes.
In considering the benefits of strawberries, it may help to start by listing what's in them. For starters, strawberries are rich in vitamin C, which is good for keeping the immune system in good condition, among other things. They also provide dietary fiber. Strawberries count as a source of manganese, potassium, riboflavin, magnesium, iodine and copper, and they contain folate, vitamins B-5 and B-6, and vitamin K. This fruit even provides omega-3 fatty acids.
One of the top benefits of strawberries is their antioxidant and phytonutrient content, two substances that fight free radicals. Free radicals are bad for the body, as they damage cells. In fact, some people believe that free radicals also play a role in the development of cancer. In particular, strawberries contain phenol, a phytonutrient that is believed to protect cells and prevent organ system damage. Strawberries are rich in phenols, which may make them helpful in preventing cancer, protecting the heart, and reducing inflammation.
The eyes may experience the benefits of strawberries as well. Many people are familiar with carrots as an eye-healthy food choice, but strawberries are good for the eyes too. In fact, eating at least three servings of fruit each day has been linked to the decreased risk of macular degeneration that is related to age. This particular vision problem, called age-related macular degeneration, is actually a top cause of sight loss. For these who have very busy schedules or simply don't like fruit, eating this many servings may sound like a tall order; however, strawberries are versatile and can be added to a person's diet on top of yogurt, on top of cereal, in salads and even in smoothies.
One of the benefits of strawberries may be protection against rheumatoid arthritis. Some studies show that vitamin-C-rich foods protect against some types of degenerative arthritis, including polyarthritis, which is a type of rheumatoid arthritis. However, it's important to keep in mind that some other studies suggest the opposite when it comes to large amounts of vitamin C. For example, one study suggests that osteoarthritis may actually worsen in the face of high levels of vitamin C.