Summer Strawberries

Ever since 1877, when the four grand slams were first played, the strawberry become a traditional accompaniment to tennis. Did you know that according to the CNN news, over 28000 Kg at eaten at Wimbledon every year!

So why strawberries?

“It was probably two things — strawberries were in season at the time the tournament was played, and in Victorian England they had become a fashionable thing to eat,” explains Johnny Perkins, the All England Club’s head of PR.

“They were part of afternoon tea, which had become a fashionable ritual, and that took root at Wimbledon.”

It may be difficult for some to resist a perfectly ripe strawberry, but don’t resist temptation, as they have great health benefits to.

The strawberry is said to be is one of the most popular berry fruits in the world and there are more than 10 species that differ in flavour, size and texture. They all have the same heart-shaped, red flesh and seeded coat with small, leafy green caps.Strawberries are not actually fruits as their seeds are on the outside and are actually a member of the rose family.

Wimbledon would not be Wimbledon without strawberries and cream, but did you know that this little red gem has great health benefits too? Beyond being a delicious summer snack or a delightful addition to desserts, strawberries pack a powerful nutritional punch that can enhance your overall well-being. Let’s explore the myriad of health benefits that strawberries offer, making them a delightful addition to your diet.

Health Benefits of Strawberries

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION

Strawberries are said to be an excellent source of vitamins C and K as well as providing a good dose of fibre, folic acid, manganese and potassium. They also contain significant amounts of phytonutrients and flavanoids which makes strawberries bright red. They have been used throughout history in a medicinal context to help with digestive ailments, teeth whitening and skin irritations. Their fibre and fructose content may help regulate blood sugar levels by slowing digestion. Strawberries are rich in colourful pigments which have a protective effect and are thought to have a number of potential health benefits, including prevention of inflammatory conditions and heart disease.

A 100g serving of strawberries contains:
30 calories 0.5g fat 6.1g carbohydrate 3.8g fibre

The strawberry season in the UK runs from the end of May through July.

Safety First

It may come as a surprise to learn that strawberries are a common allergen. If you have allergies to birch pollen, you are more likely to develop a secondary food allergy to strawberries. Most common symptoms are experienced in the mouth and throat – tingling, itching, watery eyes and runny nose.

Top Ten Health Benefits of Strawberries:

1) Rich in Antioxidants: Strawberries are loaded with antioxidants, including vitamin C, flavonoids, and phenolic compounds, which help combat oxidative stress and reduce the risk of chronic diseases.

2) Could Support Heart Health: The high levels of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties in strawberries contribute to cardiovascular health by reducing LDL cholesterol levels and improving artery function.

3) May Aid Digestive Health: Strawberries are an excellent source of dietary fiber, aiding digestion, preventing constipation, and promoting a healthy gut microbiome.

4) Could Boost Immunity: Packed with vitamin C, strawberries help strengthen the immune system, supporting the body’s defense against infections and illnesses.

5) May Help Regulate Blood Sugar: Despite their sweetness, strawberries have a low glycemic index, making them a suitable option for individuals with diabetes or those aiming to manage blood sugar levels.

6) Could Enhances Brain Function: The antioxidants and phytochemicals found in strawberries may help improve cognitive function, protect against age-related cognitive decline, and enhance memory.

7) Supports Eye Health: The high content of vitamin C and antioxidants in strawberries promotes eye health by protecting against age-related macular degeneration and reducing the risk of cataracts.

8) Offers Potential Anti-inflammatory Properties: The presence of various anti-inflammatory compounds in strawberries can help alleviate inflammation throughout the body, potentially reducing the risk of chronic diseases such as arthritis.

9) May Aid in Weight Management: Strawberries are low in calories and rich in fiber, making them a satisfying snack that can aid in weight management and contribute to a feeling of fullness.

10) Encourages Skin Health: The vitamin C content in strawberries plays a crucial role in collagen synthesis, contributing to healthy skin, reducing wrinkles, and combating skin damage caused by UV exposure.

Recipe Corner

Strawberries are a popular addition to dairy products such as ice cream and smoothies and also great additions to bakes and cheesecakes, of course don’t forget the classic, strawberry jam! They can be used to sweeten salads. Why not try this simple smoothie for your breakfast

Berry Breakfast Smoothie

Ingredients:

1 small ripe banana

140g berries (can use a mix of different berries)

Apple juice or mineral water

Runny honey

Method:

Slice the banana into your blender or food processor and add the berries of your choice. Whizz until smooth. With the blades whirring, pour in juice or water to make the consistency you like. Toss a few extra fruits on top, drizzle with honey and serve.

Recipe from Good Food magazine

So even if you don’t make it to Wimbledon, there is every good reason to make Strawberries part of your “five a day” this summer.

Strawberry Spinach Salad

Other Recipes Featuring Strawberries:

1) Strawberry Spinach Salad: Combine fresh spinach leaves, sliced strawberries, goat cheese, and toasted almonds. Drizzle with balsamic vinaigrette for a refreshing and nutritious salad.

2) Grilled Balsamic Strawberry Chicken: Marinate chicken breasts in a mixture of balsamic vinegar, honey, and minced garlic, then grill until cooked through. Top with sliced strawberries tossed in balsamic glaze for a sweet and savory dish.

3) Strawberry Salsa: Combine diced strawberries, jalapeno, red onion, cilantro, lime juice, and a pinch of salt for a vibrant and flavorful salsa. Serve with tortilla chips or alongside grilled fish or chicken.

4) Strawberry Avocado Toast: Spread mashed avocado on whole-grain toast and top with sliced strawberries, a drizzle of honey, and a sprinkle of sea salt for a delicious and nutritious breakfast or snack option.

While strawberries are a quintessential summer treat, their health benefits extend far beyond their delicious taste. Incorporating strawberries into your diet can provide a wide range of advantages, from supporting heart health and immunity to promoting skin health and aiding weight management. With their versatility and nutritional value, strawberries are undoubtedly a delightful addition to any healthy eating plan.

So, the next time you indulge in strawberries and cream at Wimbledon or enjoy them in your favorite dish, savor not only the taste but also the numerous health benefits they offer.

First Published: 30/06/2019

Updated: 20/02/2024

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