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What are strawberries?

The strawberry, Fragaria, is a member of the rose (rosaceae) family, and one of the most popular berry fruits in the world. There are more than 10 species of Fragaria that differ in flavour, size and texture, yet they all have the same characteristic heart shape and red, seeded flesh. Strawberries are not actually fruits, as they carry their seeds on the outside and develop runners, which produce roots that go on to create clone plants. About seven fresh berries count as one of your five-a-day.

Strawberry health benefits may include:

1. They contain anthocyanidins, which are thought to prevent heart disease

2. May slow down our digestion of glucose, especially when eaten with a high-carb meal

3. Help manage some of the effects of type-2 diabetes

4. May prevent certain cancers

5. They are sweet, but low in calories, so may be helpful when managing weight

Discover our full range of health benefit guides or check out how to grow your own strawberries. Get inspired by our strawberry recipe collection and learn about some of our favourite ways to eat strawberries.

Nutritional benefits of strawberries

An 80g serving of strawberries provides:

  • 26Kcal/101KJ
  • 0.6g protein
  • 0.2g fat
  • 6g carbohydrates
  • 1.6g fibre
  • 136mg potassium
  • 49mcg folate
  • 46mg vit C

What are the 5 top health benefits of strawberries?

1. May support heart health

Strawberries are rich in colourful pigments which have a protective effect – these anthocyanidins are thought to have a number of potential health benefits, including prevention of inflammatory conditions and heart disease. Observational studies appear to link regular berry consumption with fewer heart-related deaths.

2. May regulate blood sugar

Consuming strawberries appears to slow down our digestion of glucose and moderates our use of insulin, especially when they are eaten with a high carb meal. It’s the colourful anthocyanins which appears to action this effect.

3. May be helpful for those with type 2 diabetes

Strawberries contain protective plant compounds called polyphenols, two of which – ellagic acid and ellagitannins – have shown promise in helping to manage some of the effects of type 2 diabetes. In particular, they appear to regulate blood sugar and manage blood pressure. More research is needed to validate these effects in humans.

4. May be cancer protective

Studies suggest that strawberries may prevent certain cancers. The protective effect is thought to be thanks to a combination of polyphenols including ellagic acid and ellagitannins, which appear to halt the growth of cancer cells in animal studies. More human studies are needed to establish the correct method of action and to confirm the effects.

5. May help weight management

Strawberries have a low glycaemic index (GI) and as such help moderate blood sugar release. Studies suggest that a diet with plenty of low GI foods may be beneficial for weight management and for reducing the incidence of obesity-related diseases. Strawberries are also low in calories, yet sweet tasting so may be helpful as a sweet fix.

Are strawberries safe for everyone to eat?

Although most of us can enjoy strawberries without a problem, they are a common allergen, especially for young children. If you have allergies to birch pollen or apples, you are more likely to develop a secondary food allergy to strawberries. If this is relevant, you should avoid strawberries.

Strawberries, along with fruits including apples, peaches, avocados and blueberries contain natural chemicals called salicylates. Some people are sensitive to these compounds and may experience an allergic reaction including skin rash and swelling.

Strawberries also contain goitrogens, compounds which may interfere with thyroid function, so those with a thyroid condition should minimise their intake.

Overall, are strawberries good for you?

Sweet and juicy strawberries bring a lot to the table. They contain compounds which have a protective effect and may reduce the growth of cancer cells, as well as reducing the risk of anti-inflammatory diseases, such as heart disease. They are sweet but low-GI and low in calories. Instead of spiking blood sugar levels, strawberries could help to slow down the digestion of glucose and reduce insulin spikes, making them a healthy choice for those with type 2 diabetes.

If you are concerned about food allergies or have any other concerns, please consult your GP or registered Dietician for guidance.

Strawberry recipes

Easy strawberry ice cream
Strawberry mess
Breakfast smoothie
White chocolate berry cheesecake
Basil & white chocolate creams with sticky balsamic strawberries

Jo Lewin is a registered nutritionist (RNutr) with the Association for Nutrition with a specialism in public health. Follow her on Twitter @nutri_jo.

All health content on bbcgoodfood.com is provided for general information only, and should not be treated as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or any other health care professional. If you have any concerns about your general health, you should contact your local health care provider. See our website terms and conditions for more information.

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