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Monday, 17 August 2015

Strawberries : Some Health Benefits

Ingredient focus... strawberries

With strawberries still available I thought this post may interest readers. It's difficult to resist a perfectly ripe strawberry, but did you know just how good they are for you? Nutritionist Jo Lewin shares the nutrition benefits of the bright red berry.

An introduction to strawberries

The strawberry, Fragaria, is 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-shaped, red flesh and seeded coat together with small, regal, leafy green caps and stems that adorn their crowns.

Did you know...
...strawberries are not actually fruits as their seeds are on the outside. Strawberry plants are runners, and are not produced by seeds. They have an average of 200 seeds per fruit and are actually a member of the rose (rosaceae) family.




Big up the strawberry


Strawberries have a long history and have been enjoyed since the Roman times. Native to many parts of the world, hundreds of varieties of strawberries exist due to crossbreeding techniques. In 1714, a French engineer commissioned to Chile and Peru, observed that the strawberry native to those regions was much larger than those found in Europe. He decided to bring back a sample of this strawberry to cultivate in France. The end result was a large, juicy, sweet hybrid (the modern garden strawberry) that became extremely popular in Europe.

Fit for a king

Like many other fruits, strawberries make their claim in history as a luxury item enjoyed only by royalty. It has been alleged that newly weds were entitled to strawberries with soured cream as a wedding breakfast, believing them to be an aphrodisiac.

Nutritional highlights

Strawberries are 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 and the fibre is thought to have a satiating effect. Leaves can be eaten raw, cooked or used to make tea.

The vibrant red colour of strawberries is due to large amounts of anthocyanidin, which also means they contain powerful antioxidants and are thought to protect against inflammation, cancer and heart disease.

A 100g serving of strawberries contains:
32 calories 0.3g fat 7.7 carbohydrate 2g fibre 

How to select and store:

Choose berries that are firm, plump, unblemished and free of mould. Look for those that have a shiny, deep red colour and bright green caps attached. Once picked, strawberries do not ripen further so avoid those that are dull, or have green or yellow patches. Wash and handle them with care. Bring to room temperature before serving.



Best of British...
The strawberry season in the UK is short and runs from the end of May through July. To achieve maximum yields during this short season, farmers need to protect emerging berries from the muddy soil. They do this by spreading a layer of straw around each new plant - hence the name strawberry.

Try to choose locally grown strawberries during the harvesting season as they will have the best flavour, though imported berries are available all year round. The scent of strawberries can be an indicator of quality. They are highly perishable and so are best eaten within a couple of days.

Safety:

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. Although the white strawberry variety is known to contain less of the allergen, they are best avoided if you experience a strawberry allergy. If you are concerned about food allergies or anaphylaxis consult your GP

Original words and article from Jo here


Recipe Idea - Salmon, strawberry & fennel salad



If strawberries are available near you, why not consider this stylish and summery recipe idea, it's tasty and takes only minutes to prepare.

Ingredients:
200g packet smoked salmon, torn into strips
1 large bulb of fennel, trimmed, cored, halved and finely sliced into strips
50g bag of rocket
200g ripe strawberries, hulled and halved

For the dressing
4 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
2 tsp wholegrain mustard
1 tsp runny honey
(Optional - crusty brown rolls, to serve)
Why not make your own low carb bread see here

Method:
1. In a small bowl whisk together the dressing ingredients, season if you want to; set aside. Put the smoked salmon, fennel, rocket and strawberries into a separate bowl.
2. Drizzle the dressing over the salad and toss gently so everything glistens. Finish with cracked black pepper and serve with those (optional crusty rolls), or a slice of low carb bread.

Recipe idea here

Hope you've found this interesting.

All the best Jan

19 comments:

Anonymous said...

I do like that first photograph.
Interesting information too :)

Lowcarb team member said...

Many thanks for taking time to comment Anonymous 19.06.
Glad to hear you liked the article.

All the best Jan

DeniseinVA said...

Interesting Jan, I need to read this again and I will definitely make that recipe. Thanks ever so :)

The Happy Whisk said...

Yum, yum, yum, yum.

Lowcarb team member said...

Hello Denise, thanks for your comment. There are a lot of interesting points in the article. Hope you get to try out the salad idea soon.

All the best Jan

Lowcarb team member said...

Very yum, yum, yum, yum Ivy ...

Thanks for your comment.

All the best Jan

Plowing Through Life (Martha) said...

You had me at strawberries...and then I come here and discover an amazing recipe, too! My gosh...so delicious...must make...must!

Lowcarb team member said...

Hi Martha - yes strawberries are delicious. I also love raspberries and blackberries, and I'm sure they could also be incorporated into a salad mix ... have to see ?!

Hope you enjoy this featured recipe idea of salmon, strawberry and fennel.

Many thanks for your comment.

All the best Jan

Carla from The River said...

Wisconsin has a great climate to grow Strawberries. We go picking at a local farm each June or July. I like to pick enough to freeze for Winter eating.
I like how you shared so many facts about the Strawberry.
Carla

Lowcarb team member said...

Hello Carla - thanks for your comment. I think that's a great idea picking them and making sure you have enough to freeze.

Have a great week.

All the best Jan

chris c said...

When I was young we had wild alpine strawberries growing like a weed in the garden - they are tiny but very tasty. Mother had a superstition about never buying them until Wimbledon, then we would visit an aunt with a smallholding where she grew mainly soft fruits and chicken and turkeys, and bring back a load which we picked ourselves. Like a lot of things the less distance they travel the tastier.

Lowcarb team member said...

Hi Chris - thanks for your comment. Those alpine strawberries do sound very tasty. I think if you can grow your own that's good and also if you visit the pick your own sites they can be very good too.

Wimbledon and strawberries are such a tradition, and I think that when it's time for Wimbledon it's definitely strawberry time and surely the UK ones should be coming along so nicely by then.

I guess we are fortunate these days to be able to enjoy them almost anytime of year. I think my favourites are Elsanta ... but I'm sure others may prefer a different variety!

All the best Jan

chris c said...

Yes Elsanta are one of my favourites too, and have a long season. One year I bought some, I wish I could remember which, that most resembled red plastic with strawberry jam flavouring.

chris c said...

Is someone taking the piss? In order to prove I am not a robot I had to pick the pictures containing WAFFLES

Lowcarb team member said...

Hi Chris - Elsanta does seem to be a great favourite (it's my dad's too) but I think Elegance are quite a nice variety they are of the larger type. I'm not sure which one you may be referring to ... our local supermarket is still fairly full of strawberries, although not all from the UK.

All the best Jan

Lowcarb team member said...

"chris c said...
Is someone taking the piss? In order to prove I am not a robot I had to pick the pictures containing WAFFLES"

Well on some pictures when visiting other blogs I've had french fries EEK !!!

... and we're both low carbers !!!

Enjoy your Saturday evening

All the best Jan

Lowcarb team member said...

chris c said...
Is someone taking the piss? In order to prove I am not a robot I had to pick the pictures containing WAFFLES

Sorry you were offended Chris but the catchpa is there to make it easier for the anti's who despite being short of the grey matter can easily identify high carb crap.

You touched on the subject of strawberries in another comment, tell me which is the ugliest celeriac or that strawberry you likened to Maggie Thatcher a few years ago ?

chris c said...

"Sorry you were offended Chris but the catchpa is there to make it easier for the anti's who despite being short of the grey matter can easily identify high carb crap.
"

Good point!

"You touched on the subject of strawberries in another comment, tell me which is the ugliest celeriac or that strawberry you likened to Maggie Thatcher a few years ago ?"

OMG I'd forgotten that! Now I'm going to have nightmares . . .

Lowcarb team member said...

Graham's got a good memory Chris !! ??

Thanks for your comments guys ... here's to a good week ahead.

All the best Jan