Most of us love strawberries because of the fact that they are a treat for the eyes and taste buds. But these amazingly delicious fruits are also packed with nutrition. The strawberry is a red, juicy, conically-shaped fruit belonging to the rose family. In fact, technically, it is not a berry but an aggregate accessory fruit, composed of several small fruits, each with one seed known as achene. It is the only fruit whose seeds are visible from outside.
Strawberries are available in a variety of shapes, sizes and colors, ranging from deep red and pink to off white or yellowish. There are several varieties of strawberries such as the Virginia, Chilean and European Alpine strawberry. Generally the smaller varieties are sweeter and more flavorful than the larger ones which are often watery. Because of their delicious flavor and attractive appearance, strawberries are widely used in ice creams, mocktails, cakes, smoothies and other desserts. They also form a part of several recipes and salads.
Strawberry Benefits for Health:
Strawberry has been hailed as “the queen of fruits” because of its rich nutritional value which offers a range of health benefits as given below:
1. Anti-inflammatory Properties:
The rich variety of antioxidants and phytochemicals in strawberries help fight inflammatory disorders like osteoarthritis, asthma, cancer and atherosclerosis. According to research conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health, strawberries can lower the blood levels of C-reactive protein (CRP) which is responsible for causing inflammation. It was observed that women who ate 16 or more strawberries per week were at a 14% less risk of having elevated levels of CRP.
2. Cardiovascular Health:
Strawberries are great for heart health. They contain ellagic acid and flavonoids which improve heart health through their antioxidant effects. They also counteract the effects of low density lipoprotein or LDL (the bad cholesterol in our blood which causes plaque build-up in the arteries), thus lowering the risk of heart disease.
3. Blood Pressure:
Strawberries contain potassium which regulates blood pressure and prevents high blood pressure by counteracting the negative effects of sodium.
4. Weight Loss:
Strawberries are low in sugar, calories and sodium, and fat-free. The natural sugars contained in strawberries are extremely low with 4 grams per serving. They also contain nitrates which promote blood flow and oxygen throughout the body, resulting in weight loss. Nitrates also prevent the muscles from becoming too tired after exercise.
5. Bone Health:
Strawberries contain potassium, magnesium and Vitamin K which are beneficial for bone health. It is shown to bring down bone loss and therefore prevents bone breakage that begins with age.
6. Eye Health:
Consumption of three or more servings of strawberries can lower the risk of macular degeneration, which results in vision loss. The antioxidant properties of strawberries help in preventing cataracts, a condition characterized by clouding over of the eye lens which can lead to blindness in old age. Vitamin C in strawberries helps in strengthening the eye’s cornea and retina and also protects them from the harsh UV rays which can damage the protein in the lens.
7. Immunity Booster:
Strawberries are a rich source of Vitamin C which is a powerful immunity booster as well as an antioxidant. One cup of strawberries can provide about 100% of the daily requirement of this vitamin.
8. Cancer Prevention:
Vitamin C in strawberries helps in cancer prevention by boosting our immunity. They also contain a phytochemical called ellagic acid which has anti-cancer properties such as suppressing cancer cell growth. Some studies have proved that dried strawberry powder can help prevent human esophageal cancer.
9. Pre-natal Health:
Strawberries are a good source of folate, a B vitamin required by pregnant women or those trying to conceive. Folate is vital in the early stages of pregnancy for the development of the baby’s brain, skull and spinal cord, and for the prevention of certain birth defects like spina bifida.
Strawberry Benefits for Skin:
Apart from being great for your health, strawberry is a treat for your skin. Both consumption and topical application of strawberry provides the following benefits to your skin:
Strawberries are rich in Vitamin C which is involved in the production of collagen. By fighting the free radicals, it provides anti-ageing benefits, thereby reducing fine lines and wrinkles, and minimizing blemishes.
Strawberry fruit extract, being rich in ellagic acid, helps to lighten hyperpigmentation caused by UV rays by inhibiting the synthesis of melanin, the chemical that imparts color to your skin.
12. Good Cleanser:
The presence of Vitamin C, salicylic acid and antioxidants in strawberries make them fabulous skin cleansers. Salicylic acid removes dead cells from your skin as well as tightens pores and brightens your skin. Ellagic acid prevents skin damage, thus making your skin look young and fresh. Strawberries soothe and exfoliate your skin, remove impurities and keep your skin soft.
Being rich in Vitamin C, Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA), salicylic acid and flavonoids, strawberry is effective in clearing acne and reducing oil. All you need to do is mash ½ cup of sliced strawberries with 1 tablespoon sour cream and apply it on your face for 10 minutes. This will clear the acne as well as blemishes.
14. Eye Puffiness:
Strawberries can reduce puffiness and circles beneath the eyes. You can place a few strawberry slices under your eyes and relax for 10 minutes. Then moisturize as usual.
15. Effective for oily skin:
If you have oily skin, you can mash equal amounts of fresh strawberries and plain unsweetened yoghurt. Apply it on your face for 10 minutes and then rinse off.
Strawberry Benefits for Hair:
Strawberry occupies the fourth position among fruits in terms of its antioxidant capacity. The rich variety of antioxidants, ellagic acid and vitamins make it beneficial for your hair as well. It offers the following hair benefits:
16. Hair loss and Thinning:
The high content of ellagic acid in strawberry protects your from thinning or falling. It also contains folate and Vitamin B6 which help to combat the problem of hair loss.
17. Strawberry Conditioner:
You can prepare a strawberry conditioner to get glossy, silky and lustrous hair. Mash 8 fresh strawberries with 1 tablespoon of mayonnaise. Massage this mixture into damp hair. Cover with a shower cap for at least 10 minutes and then shampoo as usual.
18. Cure for dandruff:
Combining strawberry with tea tree oil or thyme oil enhances its antifungal effects due to its high content of copper and manganese. This is effective in curing dandruff.
19. Hair Moisturizer:
Due to its antioxidant effects, strawberry protects the membranes of the cells of the scalp and prevents the formation of a hydrophobic layer on the scalp’s surface, thus preventing scalp insulation. Combining egg yolk with strawberry is a great way to moisturize your hair.
Strawberry: Nutritional Value
Strawberries have a rich nutritional value comprising of vitamins, antioxidants, flavonoids and other vital nutrients. Let us now have a glimpse at strawberry nutrition facts explained in the chart given below.
|See the table below for in depth analysis of nutrients:
Strawberries (Fragaria X ananassa), ORAC Value 3577, Nutrition Value per 100 g.
(Source: USDA National Nutrient data base)
||Percentage of RDA
Calories and Fat: A one cup serving of strawberries provides about 50 calories, 1 gram protein and 11 grams carbohydrates. They are free of fat, cholesterol and sodium. They also contain 9 grams of natural sugar mostly in the form of fructose.
Vitamins: Strawberries are an excellent source of Vitamin C with one cup of strawberries providing 160% of the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of this vitamin. They also have a high content of folates.
Minerals: Strawberries are a rich source of potassium with one cup serving contributing about 170% of the RDA. They also provide 2% of the RDA for calcium and iron.
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Lemon is a common, inexpensive, easily available and most widely used citrus fruit. Its characteristic flavour and refreshing smell make it a popular fruit for drinks. It is used in lemonade, soft drinks, cocktails and tea. It has a long list of benefits. In India, it is used as medicine for many health problems. Thus, lemon is a popular citrus fruit that can be used in various ways. It can be used with other beneficial ingredients like honey, salt, etc. toenhance its benefits.
Nutritional Properties of Lemon Water:
As we all know, lemon is a good source of vitamins and minerals which are essential for healthy and proper functioning of the body. It has low calories (29 cal /100gm), low cholesterol and low saturated fat. Like most citrus fruits, it is a very rich source of vitamin C which is an amazing antioxidant. It also contains vitamin A, vitamin B6 and vitamin B1 (thiamine) in lesser amounts. Minerals present in lemon include copper, calcium and potassium. Copper possesses antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Calcium is good for bones and teeth while potassium helps maintain PH and water balance.
It is this wide array of beneficial nutrients that makes lemon water and other lemon drinks extremely beneficial for health. So we are going to focus on the various benefits of drinking lemon water and lemon juice.
Benefits of Lemon Drink:
Listed below are the amazing benefits of lemon water that you can consume in various forms.
Warm Lemon Water:
Warm lemon water is an extremely beneficial drink with innumerable health benefits given below.
Proper Digestion plays an important role in overall health. Poor digestion can lead to several health complications. Hence warm lemon water is a simple, quick and effective home remedy for digestive issues. Start your day by supping warm lemon water on empty stomacheveryday. It is the best and the healthiest morning drink. Daily consumption of lemon water treats indigestion issues like bloating, belching, heartburn, etc. It treats constipation by helping in waste elimination. Many digestive disorders take place because of poor pH level and lemon water helps restore pH level and helps in digestion.
2. Strengthens Immune System:
Our immune system protects our body by combating illness. Weak immune system makes our body susceptible to illness and infections. Warm lemon water has anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties which fight harmful bacteria, fungus, and virus that cause diseases and infections. Its antioxidant property helps eliminate toxins from the body.
Lemon Water in the Morning:
Your health and energy levels for the day depends upon what you eat in the morning. A glass of warm lemon water gives a healthy, energetic and refreshing start to your day. Daily intake of lemon water early in the morning works wonders for your health, providing you the following health benefits.
3. Oral Health:
A cup of lemon water in the morning is good for oral health. Its anti-bacterial property eliminates mouth bacteria which is responsible for causing bad breath. It soothes toothaches and many oral diseases like gingivitis. It also helps in teeth whitening as lemon is a natural bleaching agent. Ensure to gargle with plain water after lemon water intake to avoid tooth enamel damage.
4. Good Mood:
Bad mood spoils everything. Starting your morning with lemon water enhances your mood. This quality can be attributed to its revitalizing mood enhancing smell. It also minimizes anxiety and depression. Vitamin C in lemon is a natural stress reducer.
5. Natural Diuretic (promotes urine production):
Lemon water prevents urinary tract infections. Being a natural diuretic, it increases urination and hence, eliminates bacteria which causes urinary tract infection. Lemon water is effective in the prevention and treatment of kidney stones as it contains citric acid, which does not allow stone formation by breaking it. In case of kidney stone, you can drink lemon water 3-4 times a day for better results.
Lemon Water With Honey:
Lemon and honey helps in fighting many health issues because of their antibacterial, anti-viral and anti-oxidant properties. Thus, the combination of lemon water and honey gives you additional health benefits given below.
6. Aids Weight Loss:
Honey and lemon water is a popular and effective remedy for weight loss. This drink has formed a part of several weight loss programs. Both are beneficial for health. To lose weight, take a glass of warm water, add 1 teaspoon honey, squeeze 1 lemon to it and drink it on an empty stomach daily in the morning. It increases the metabolism rate which burns calories fast. Stimulated metabolism uses fat as an energy source, causing you to lose weight. Lemon water with honey also boosts your energy level. Pectin fibre present in lemon reduces hunger cravings and makes you feel full. The combination of all these functions goes a long way in promoting healthy weight loss.
7. Treatment of Cold and Flu:
Honey and lemon is an age-old home remedy for treatment of cold and flu. Just add two teaspoons each of honey and lemon juice in a cup of warm water. Its consumption eases discomfort. Cold and flu are also caused due to virus. Both lemon and honey have anti-viral property which fights infectious bacteria. Lemon has lots of vitamin C in it which boosts the immune system. Honey soothes sore throat and treats cough. This combination of honey and lemon also treats nasal congestion by eliminating unwanted mucus.
Lemon Water and Salt:
Lemon water when taken with salt can be beneficial for your health in the following ways.
8. Great Detoxifier:
Lemon diet or the master cleanse diet is a popular weight loss program that involves both lemon juice and salt water. The name itself suggests that having lemon water with salt helps cleanse your system by removing those unwanted toxins accumulated in your body. The result is, of course, visible in the form of reduced weight, glowing skin and better digestion.
9. Maintains pH Balance:
Lemon water with salt is an effective way to restore your body’s pH levels. A pH level above 7.0 is alkaline and below 7.0 is acidic. Lemon is acidic, but when it goes inside our body, it turns alkaline and salt is alkaline in nature. Your body should be more alkaline than acidic. Maintenance of pH balance is important as poor pH balance can cause health issues like digestive problems, skin diseases, osteoporosis, arthritis etc. Proper pH balance helps in nutrient absorption, digestion, toxin elimination, etc. Thus, if you are suffering from these problems, consider taking lemon water with salt as these may be caused due to improper pH balance.
10. Improves Mineral Absorption:
Our body needs minerals for overall health. It cannot produce these minerals on its own sothese have to be supplied to our body through food. Proper absorption of minerals is necessary for performing important functions like maintenance of pH balance and healthy nervous system, acting as a co-factor for enzyme reactions, formation of bones and teeth, metabolic stimulation etc. Intake of lemon water with a pinch of salt 2-3 times a day improves the absorption of minerals like magnesium, iron, potassium etc. Thus, it helps prevent health issues like osteoporosis (calcium deficiency), anaemia (iron deficiency), muscle weakness and abnormal heart rhythm (magnesium deficiency).
Lemon juice is also not far behind as a refreshing and healthy drink. In fact, it is one of the most widely used ingredients. Apart from direct consumption, lemon juice is used as a preservative as well as an ingredient in recipes to impart its sour flavour. But what makes it more valuable is its health promoting qualities as given below:
11. Heart Health:
Heart is a vital organ and so its health and care is extremely important. Lemon juice consumption has been found beneficial for healthy health. Potassium present in it controls high blood pressure while vitamin C lowers cholesterol level and prevents blood clotting within vessels. Lemon has antioxidant property which eliminates harmful toxins and keeps blood purified. It also prevents strokes, heart attacks and other serious heart problems.
Sweet Lemon Water/ Lemonade:
Lemonade or sweet lemon water is lemon water with sugar sweetness. It is a great option to satisfy your sweet tooth in comparison to other sugary foods and beverages which are nil in the nutrient – quotient. Besides being a tasty and refreshing drink, it is beneficial for your health.
12. Beneficial for Skin:
Lemonade is a wonderful drink for your hair and skin health. Having a glass of lemonade daily helps treat hair and skin issues. The high amount of vitamin C in lemonade eliminates free radicals which are responsible for causing wrinkles and ageing. Vitamin C also heals damaged tissues, lightens dark spots, prevents acne and blemishes and helps in reducing sun damage. Lemonade intake provides you with a glowing flawless skin.
13. Beneficial for Hair:
Apart from maintaining skin health, vitamin C in lemonade also helps in treating and preventing hair problems like split ends, dry hair and dandruff etc. Its antibacterial property fights bacteria, thus preventing several scalp issues.
Hence, lemon water and lemon juice are more than just refreshing drinks. So give up all those sugary and canned beverages and switch to simple homemade lemon drinks for a boost in your health and energy!