Nature seems to tempt us with strawberries, with an irresistible aroma, color and flavor. It is for our good: this fruit, very light, provides valuable nutrients and helps to purify and tone the body. We review its properties and health benefits.
The strawberries, rejoicing the eye and palate are the fruit of the strawberry plant, a plant of the family Rosaceae. Its botanical name, Fragaria vesca, derives from the Latin fragrans , which means “fragrant” and thus points to one of its characteristics: the fragrance that can be perceived even at a distance.
Although the wild strawberry has been known since prehistoric times and was consumed by the Greeks and Romans, it was not cultivated until the 13th century in Europe.
Strawberries and strawberries from Spain are well-deserved. The main growing areas are in Huelva and in Barcelona’s Maresme, although Extremadura and Valencia are also large producers.
Currently, they can be found all year round thanks to greenhouse crops, but seasonal strawberries, raised in the most natural way possible, are always preferable .
When eaten without peeling, it is also advisable to choose strawberries from organic farming to avoid the presence of pesticides.
The strawberries are remarkably mineral wealth, especially iron -es richer fruit in it, with raspberry and rosella- and magnesium.
In 200 g of strawberries, there is 17% iron and 9% magnesium. It also provides potassium, calcium, phosphorus, manganese, copper, and silicon, making it a highly indicated food in remineralization cures and in the treatment of nutritional deficiencies.
This fruit is also an excellent source of vitamins C, K and folic acid. Specifically, 200 g cover more than 200% of the daily needs of vitamin C, a third of vitamin K, a sixth of folic acid and notable amounts of vitamins of group B. With only 66 calories!
It is believed that the Mallorcan Ramón Llull was one of the first to recommend it in various conditions, especially anemia, and also to restore freshness to female skin.
The outstanding amounts of vitamins and minerals in strawberry make it especially suitable for taking care of health at all ages, but especially in these cases:
- Gout, rheumatism and arthritis. Thanks to its alkalizing properties and its richness in calcium and potassium, strawberry facilitates the elimination of uric acid. In addition, the presence of salicylic acid, the same component of aspirin but natural, which has an anti-inflammatory action, helps to improve these conditions.
- People who must follow controlled energy diets. The energy contribution of strawberries is minimal and its fiber content creates a feeling of satiety.
- Pregnant and children. Strawberry is a fruit with few sugars and a high dose of folic acid, iron and a slightly laxative effect thanks to its fiber. It is also an aperitif, which is very interesting for reluctant children.
Hypertension or cardiovascular problems. Due to its potassium content, it increases diuresis (the formation of urine) which helps to reduce blood pressure and eliminate uric acid. In a study carried out by Spanish and Italian universities, it was proven that eating 500 g of strawberries a day reduces bad LDL cholesterol (14%) and triglycerides (21%). It also improves platelet function. The positive effects could be due to the content of anthocyanins, the chemical compounds that give strawberries their color. These pigments help keep blood vessel walls in good condition, preventing a variety of vascular disorders.
- Diabetes. It is considered suitable for diabetics because its sugar is levulose (fructose).
- Anemias and iron deficiency. The remarkable iron content of the strawberry is reinforced by the high dose of vitamin C, which enables a more effective absorption of this mineral.
- Gallstones (stones in the gallbladder) and liver disorders.
- Cancer prevention. Thanks to the presence of silicon and different antioxidants.
However, the strawberry is not recommended …
- To people with a delicate intestine (colitis, irritable bowel …), since they have a certain irritant power.
- To people with renal lithiasis ( kidney stones) due to oxalates, since strawberries contain these substances in small doses.
- In case of allergy. It should be borne in mind that strawberries, due to their salicylic acid content, produce allergic reactions in some people that normally do not go beyond swelling of the lips or simple hives. These are the same people who have an allergy to aspirin.
Strawberry in the kitchen
Strawberries are the first of the berries to hit the markets at the dawn of spring. Red, firm and crunchy it is delicious and is integrated into a wide variety of recipes. In addition, it provides good doses of vitamins and minerals, as we saw in its nutritional composition and is purifying.
The predominant variety in the Spanish market is
the Reina de los Valles, with tiny, whitish-red to bright red fruits and a succulent sweet and aromatic pulp.
In the province of Huelva, the Camarosa variety , of Californian origin, has displaced
the European ones, and occupies 98% of the cultivated area. It is more productive,
earlier and of higher quality, and it adapts well to the agroclimatic conditions of Huelva.
Its fruit is large, firm and bright in color.
The Pájaro is possibly the variety with the best flavor of all those commercialized.
Conical and firm in shape, its pulp is consistent and its color is red, uniform and bright.
The summer strawberries are the Selva.
They usually appear on the market in mid-July and last until the end of September.
All in all, the aromatic little wild strawberries are hands down the best.
HOW TO CONSUME IT
The best way to consume it is to take it naturally as a table dessert or in salads.
Being a seasonal and very perishable fruit, it lends itself very well to the preparation of preserves such as jams or marmalades.
To preserve them well, they should be kept in the refrigerator,
and if possible in a closed container, as this prevents them from impregnating other foods with their aroma.
Strawberries, in general, do not tolerate freezing well, since when they thaw, they lose a large part of their structure and aroma and deteriorate quickly.
As it is a fruit that does not peel, it should be washed well to remove harmful chemicals. Those that do not come from organic farming are usually from the most treated fruits.