Fragaria ananassa or the typical strawberry enjoyed by many today is a fairly recent creation. It is a natural hybrid that occurred in a garden in 18th century France. It came about when two wild species of strawberries transplanted in the area cross bred. One originated from Chile and the other from North America.
Before this hybrid was cultivated in earnest, strawberries were either harvested from the wild or selected wild species were transplanted into gardens. Now millions of metric tons of the fruit are produced and the US is the leading producer.
In an evaluation of the most common types of food regularly consumed in the US, strawberries came out highly ranked as a source of antioxidants. It is considered 4th among fruits exceeded only by three kinds of berries: blackberries, cranberries and raspberries.
Unfortunately there are few people that may not be able to take advantage of strawberry’s exceptional nutrition because they are allergic to the fruit. Read further and know more about the pros and cons of strawberries.
Besides being one of the more abundant sources of beneficial phytochemicals, the fruit is rich in more commonly known vitamins and minerals. A cup or 3.5 ounces of fresh whole strawberries would in fact be enough to fulfill your body’s need for Vitamin C for the day. The same amount would also supply 28% percent of your body’s requirement for manganese. This is a mineral that’s significantly involved in the antioxidant activity of the enzyme superoxide dismutase.
For cardiovascular benefits, the phytonutrients in strawberries perform several activities. They are able to modulate fat oxidation in the membranes of cells that make up the walls of your blood vessels. This perhaps directly or indirectly results in lower cholesterol levels, especially of LDL or “bad” cholesterol. Then there is also the way it lessens angiotensin I-converting enzyme activity. This is an enzyme that increases risk of hypertension when it becomes overactive.
One of the phytochemicals in strawberries called ellagitannins has been studied and linked to a positive impact of the fruit on blood sugar levels. As it turns out this substance is able to inhibit the activity of alpha-amylase, the enzyme that breaks down some types of starches into simple sugars. This means less sugar actually gets absorbed and enters the blood stream.
It is said that 4% of adults and 8% of children in the US have some sort of food allergy. Less than 1% of both groups react negatively to strawberries. This may be quite a small percentage but it still does exist and cannot be ignored.
The substance in the fruit that causes the allergy is called Fragaria allergen 1. Depending on the body’s sensitivity as well as the amount of strawberries consumed, the allergic reaction can range from swelling and hives to anaphylactic shock. If you already have food allergy consult a doctor and figure out if eating strawberries are safe for you.
The fruit is another one of those listed in the Environmental Working Group’s “dirty dozen” – the list of agricultural produce that often contain pesticide residue. This is yet one more reason to choose organically grown strawberries as much as possible.
Strawberry Practical Uses:
The nutritional value of strawberries can be maximized by eating it fresh. While they’re a common main ingredient in baked desserts, heat can dissolve the phytonutrients. Take note to wash the fruit only immediately before you consume it. They’re quite perishable and absorbing excess water will only lessen the quality of their texture and taste.
Eating them out of hand is convenient. No need to peel or de-seed and you can easily pluck out the stems, caps and hulls even without the use of a paring knife.
Temperature and humidity are important in storing strawberries properly in the refrigerator. It’s recommended to set the temperature at around 36 degrees Fahrenheit and use the refrigerator’s cold storage bin. Lacking that, re-sealable freezer bags or similar containers will be enough to keep their freshness.
Remember that the longer you store strawberries, the more nutrition is lost. Two days is considered the maximum period for this fragile fruit.
In the next post, I’ll tell you the pros and cons of dates and how to moderately use it in your quest to Become Superhuman.
In the meantime, if you care to jump ahead, here is a complete listing of the fruits on Superhuman Food Pyramid:
If you have questions, comments or feedback about the pros and cons of strawberries, the Superhuman Food Pyramid, this website, or other aspects of Becoming Superhuman, then leave your thoughts below, as well as any tips you have on the pros and cons of strawberries.