The delicious strawberry is the most popular type of berry in the world. There are actually more then 600 cultivars of strawberry in existence. Some are wild, some are domesticated and some are hybrids. The one that we see commonly in the supermarket are almost always hybrids. Besides its juicy sweet taste there are some amazing health benefits of juicing for strawberries nutrition.
Anti-Cancer Health Benefits of Strawberries
Strawberries are a great source of an antioxidant phytochemical called ellagic acid. Although research is limited with humans (but not obsolete) there has been a number of studies undertaken with animals and in test tubes that have all provided powerful evidence for the anti-cancer effects of ellagic acid. In fact the ellagic acid in strawberries benefits us in the fight against cancer in two ways. First of all, ellagic acid helps inhibit the growth of tumor cells by inhibiting carcinogenic chemicals that try to bind with our DNA. Second, the powerful antioxidant actions of ellagic acid prevents free radicals from damaging cells, such cell damage is a risk factor for cancer developing.
A prospective study conducted in Massachusetts is a strong case, and one of a very few studies, aimed at looking at a link between cancer and eating strawberries in humans. Researchers analyzed the diets of 1300 elderly people and found some pretty amazing results. Those that ate at least one strawberry per day were two thirds less likely to die of cancer than those who only ate one or no strawberries per week!
As free radical damage of our cells is now becoming a more and more well researched and accepted cause of cancer, then it is good to know that there are a variety of free radical fighting antioxidants in strawberries in addition to ellagic acid. These antioxidants include quercetin, ellagitannins, Kaempferol, anthocyanins and the famous vitamin C. A very impressive display of strawberry nutrition and the health benefits of juicing strawberries!
Heart Health Benefits of Strawberry
There are actually a number of important nutrients in strawberries that help protect us from developing the number one killer in the USA – heart disease. Strawberries are a rich source of vitamin C, one of the most powerful antioxidants for protecting LDL cholesterol from the oxidative damage inflicted by free radicals in the blood stream. This protection significantly helps us from developing arteriosclerosis, a condition that is the number one risk factor in the development of heart disease. If LDL cholesterol does become damaged by free radicals then it will attach to the artery wall and start forming into a plaque that hardens and narrows the artery walls – this is basically what arteriosclerosis is. Arteriosclerosis raises blood pressure and reduces blood flow to the heart which can result in angina and a possible heart attack.
Strawberries are also a good source of two minerals that are necessary for heart health – potassium and magnesium. Both these minerals are needed for the heart muscles and the muscles of our arteries to contract and relax in a healthy manner. This helps to maintain good blood pressure levels or lower blood pressure in those with hypertension. If potassium levels get too low in the body we are at risk of suffering a ‘low potassium heart attack’.
The high fiber content of strawberries is another ingredient in this fruit that helps with heart health. A high fiber diet rich in fruits and vegetables helps to lower cholesterol levels in the blood. Fiber actually binds with cholesterol in the intestines and excretes it out in our feces. If we don’t have enough fiber in our diet then some of this cholesterol will get absorbed into the bloodstream instead.
Although not as abundant as blueberries, blackberries and red/purple grapes in heart healthy anthocyanins, strawberries can still claim a fair content of these antioxidants. Anthocyanins help us fight heart disease in two ways. First, as antioxidants, anthocyanins protect the artery walls from free radical damage that can cause inflammation that can lead to arteriosclerosis. Second, and most surprisingly, anthocyanins help to improve the structural integrity of our artery walls by strengthening collagen. This also helps to reduce the risk of arteriosclerosis from developing!
Load up on Strawberry Nutrition By Making Strawberry Juice
A great way to increase the amount of the nutrition that strawberries have to offer is to make strawberry juice recipes. Please note that when making strawberry juice to achieve the juicing benefits of strawberries (or any juice for that matter!), the insoluble fiber content is sacrificed so that we can achieve an abundance of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants instead. As fiber is important in our diets we should always use juicer recipes in addition to eating fruits and vegetables.