It’s not every day that the California Strawberry Commission comes knocking on your door and offers you an opportunity to work with them to promote the consumption of what is, unarguably, one of the healthiest available for human consumption: California Strawberries.
This is probably the most enjoyable article that I’ve ever written, so let’s get right to it.
For many of you reading today’s post, including my fellow Canadians, you are probably quite used to encountering California Strawberries at your local grocer.
This is simply down to the fact that the United States is the world’s biggest producer of strawberries, with sunny California being the state that grows the most. Fresh strawberry season in California stretches from February until November, depending on the weather, so they’re almost always in season for us Canadians!
Oh, and here’s a fun fact for you, there are more organic strawberries grown in California than in anywhere else in the world.
The Nutritional Benefits Of California Strawberries
I’m going to guess that it won’t take much convincing to get you guys to acknowledge that strawberries are extraordinarily good for your health, but these days you never know, so here we go!
Although they may not be famous for it, strawberries are a good source of potassium and fibre, two nutrients which can be easy for the average person to fall short in.
They also happen to be low in glycemic index, which may be a relevant consideration for those living with diabetes.
The two things I love most about strawberries though, aside from their delicious taste, are their high vitamin C and anti-oxidant content.
Do You C Me Now?
Among commonly available fruit with high vitamin C content, it’s hard to beat strawberries.
140 grams of California Strawberries (a serving, about 8) contains 82.3 mg of vitamin C.
For reference, this is more than both 1 kiwi (64 mg) and 1 medium sized orange (70mg).
Less than optimal intakes of vitamin C tend to be associated with worse health outcomes and even though vitamin C consumption is not necessarily an overwhelming public health concern, making people aware of the foods that are highest in vitamin C, has become increasingly relevant to my practice as the gradual shift to consuming more plant-based sources of protein (such as lentils, chickpeas, tofu, nuts, seeds and so on) means that the public must be aware that vitamin C consumption specifically aids in the absorption of the iron found in these foods.
You’d be surprised how many vegans and vegetarians (both new and old) are unaware of this important fact.
Antioxidants And Anthocyanins
A is my favourite letter, can’t you tell?
In all seriousness strawberries happen to be particularly rich in a specific group of compounds known as Anthocyanins.
One anthocyanin in particular, Pelargonidin, is found at very high levels in Strawberries and is responsible for their red colour.
So, the next time someone asks you why Strawberries are red, now you know!
Not to get too scientific here, but anthocyanins actually happen to be part of a sub-group of very healthy compounds known as Flavonoids.
You may have heard the term before, as these compounds are present in a variety of forms in commonly available foods such as other fruits, vegetables and even wine, tea and coffee.
That’s a good thing.
Conclusion: Eat More California Strawberries
As today’s article reflects, you have nothing to lose and so much to gain by incorporating strawberries into your diet.
Again, about 8 California strawberries, which are in season right NOW, represents 1 serving and they go great as a synergistic snack with a handful of nuts/seeds, sprinkled in yogurt, cereal or oatmeal, or enjoyed as is as a healthy after dinner dessert.
If you want to show off your love for strawberries to the world, head over to CaliforniaStrawberries.com and take part in their Get Snacking Challenge.
Until next time,
Andy De Santis RD MPH
Bonus Content – Fun Facts About Strawberries.
1. Strawberries actually contain small amounts of the omega-3 fat alpha-Linolenic acid.
2. The species name for the modern strawberry is Fragaria Ananassa, which actually greatly resonates with me as an Italian-Canadian because the Italian word for strawberry is Fragole.