Monday, April 06, 2020

Strawberries: Indulge in the food of love and romance this Valentine’s Day
IFP Bureau | First Published: February 14, 2020 09:40:54 am
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Valentine’s Day brings a sea of bright pink and red decorations, love-themed teddy bears and heart-shaped chocolate. But why are strawberries so often linked with romance? There’s plenty about strawberries that make them enticing, but let’s face it – they even look like little bright red hearts.

Next to chocolate, strawberries are one of the most widely known aphrodisiacs. In fact, chocolate-covered strawberries were originally paired together because they’re two of the world’s most famous aphrodisiacs. Today chocolate-covered strawberries are a common Valentine’s Day treat, and are often found on buffet tables at weddings, as a source on the internet reported.

The history of the strawberry dates back to Ancient Rome where the fruit was considered the symbol of Venus, the goddess of love, because of its bright red colour and enticing taste. Later, the berry became a symbol of fertility due to its many exterior seeds. The fruit looks so alluring in fact, that strawberries were carved into church altars and cathedral pillars in medieval times to represent perfection. Legend has it that when two people split a strawberry, they’ll fall in love.

Here are some health benefits of strawberry according to health experts:-

1. Give your immunity a boost

“Strawberries are an excellent source of vitamin C,” says Toronto-based registered dietitian Madeleine Edwards. Most mammals – except for humans – have the ability to produce vitamin C naturally, which is why it’s so important to get your daily requirement. “One serving contains 51.5 mg of vitamin C about half of your daily requirement,” Edwards says. “Double a serving to one cup and get 100 percent.” Vitamin C is a well-known immunity booster, as well as a powerful, fast-working antioxidant.

2. Maintain your healthy vision

The antioxidant properties in strawberries may also help to prevent cataracts  the clouding over of the eye lens which can lead to blindness in old age. Our eyes require vitamin C to protect them from exposure to free-radicals from the sun’s harsh UV rays, which can damage the protein in the lens. Vitamin C also plays an important role in strengthening the eye’s cornea and retina. While high doses of vitamin C have been found to increase the risk of cataracts in women over 65, researchers from the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm note that the risk pertains to vitamin C obtained from supplements, not the vitamin C from fruits and vegetables.

3. Ward off cancer

Vitamin C is one of the antioxidants that can help with cancer prevention, since a healthy immune system is the body’s best defense. A phytochemical called ellagic acid — also found in strawberries — is another antioxidant. “Ellagic acid has been shown to yield anti-cancer properties like suppressing cancer cell growth,” says Edwards. “Strawberries also contain antioxidants lutein and zeathancins. Antioxidants are scavengers to free-radicals and neutralize the potentially negative effect they can have on our cells,” she says.

4. Keep your wrinkles at bay

The power of vitamin C in strawberries continues, as it is vital to the production of collagen, which helps to improve skin’s elasticity and resilience. Since we lose collagen as we age, eating foods rich in vitamin C may result in healthier, younger-looking skin. But vitamin C isn’t the only naturally occuring wrinkle fighter found in this fruit. Researchers at Hallym University in the Republic of Korea concluded that ellagic acid visibly prevented collagen destruction and inflammatory response two major factors in the development of wrinkles in human skin cells, after continued exposure to skin-damaging UV-B rays.

5. Lower your cholesterol

According to the Heart and Stroke Foundation, heart disease is one of the leading causes of death among Canadian women. Luckily, the benefits of strawberries include powerful heart-health boosters. “Ellagic acid and flavonoids — or phytochemical — can provide an antioxidant effect that can benefit heart health in various ways,” explains Edwards. “One way includes counteracting the effect of low-density lipoprotein, or LDL, bad cholesterol in the blood, which causes plaque to build up in arteries. A second way is that they provide an anti-inflammatory effect, which is also good for the heart,” she adds.

Researchers at the Clinical Nutrition and Risk Factor Modification Center in Toronto studied the benefits of strawberries on a cholesterol-lowering diet and concluded that adding them to the diet reduced oxidative damage, as well as blood lipids — both of which play a role in heart disease and diabetes.

6. Reduce pesky inflammation

The antioxidants and phytochemicals found in strawberries may also help to reduce inflammation of the joints, which may cause arthritis and can lead to heart disease. A study conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health shows that women who eat 16 or more strawberries per week are 14 per cent less likely to have elevated levels of C-reactive protein (CRP) — an indication of inflammation in the body.

7. Regulate your blood pressure

Potassium is yet another heart healthy nutrient, and with 134 mg per serving, strawberries are considered a “medium source,” according to Alberta Health Services. Potassium can help regulate blood pressure and may even help to lower high blood pressure by acting as a buffer against the negative effects of sodium. Thanks to their impact on the reduction of LDL, inflammation and high blood pressure, these benefits of strawberries have earned the tiny fruit the title as one of the most heart-healthy fruits you can eat.

8. Boost your fibre intake

Fibre is a necessity for healthy digestion, and strawberries naturally contain about 2 g per serving. Problems that can arise from lack of fibre include constipation and diverticulitis — an inflammation of the intestines, which affects approximately 50 percent of people over 60. Fibre can also aid in fighting type 2 diabetes. “Fibre helps slow the absorption of sugars (i.e., glucose) in the blood,” says Edwards. “As a result, adults who are managing diabetes can enjoy strawberries in moderation in their diet.”

9. Aid in weight management

Maintaining a healthy weight is one of the best defenses against type 2 diabetes and heart disease, not to mention just plain good for your overall well-being. “Strawberries are naturally low in calories (around 28 calories per serving), fat-free and low in both sodium and sugar,” says Edwards. “Strawberries do contain natural sugars, though total sugars are fairly low with 4 grams per serving — and the total carbohydrate content is equivalent to less than a half slice of bread. Triple your serving to 1.5 cups and you’ll have a snack that’s less than 100 calories and much healthier than those pre-packaged 100-calorie snacks!” she says. Add strawberries to one of these low-cal smoothie recipes and you’ll have the perfect breakfast or snack.

10. Help to promote pre-natal health

Folate is B-vitamin recommended for women who are pregnant or trying to conceive, and strawberries are a good source with 21 mg per serving. Folate is necessary in the early stages of pregnancy to help in the development of the baby’s brain, skull and spinal cord, and the folic acid in strawberries may help to prevent certain birth defects, such as spina bifida.

-By Bishworjit Mandengbam

(The above article is based on the report on the benefit of strawberries by besthealthmag)

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