Strawberries are a healthy and delicious addition to your diet

February 27 is National Strawberry Day, but you should eat them year-round to enjoy their health benefits.

It seems nowadays there is a national celebratory day for just about every occasion, especially food. With this in mind, it only makes sense that the poster child of the fruit family, strawberry, has its own day to be recognized and appreciated, February 27. This juicy and delicious fruit is not only good for you but its vibrant color is an eye pleaser which can bring beauty to any dish. Deriving from the rose family, it continues to stimulate our senses by being one of the most fragrant fruits.

Standing alone as the only fruit to wear its seeds on the outside, strawberries are loaded with nutrients and phytonutrients which benefit our body in many ways. They contain an impressive number of antioxidants giving them the capability to boost the immune system, prevent certain cancers, and reduce signs of early aging. According to cancer.gov, our bodies naturally create free radicals, which are highly reactive chemicals that have the potential to harm cells. They become hazardous in high concentrations which is why they’ve been linked to the development of cancer and other health conditions. 

The antioxidants in strawberries interact with free radicals and prevent cell damage. Michigan State University Extension recommends eating a variety of fruits and vegetables, specifically dark leafy vegetables, as well as orange, red and yellow ones, to get enough antioxidants.

Strawberries are composed of many other vitamins, minerals, and nutrients which give them a high nutritional value. Just one cup provides more than 100 percent of the recommended daily amount of vitamin C. Which doesn’t just neutralize those free radicals but also helps our body heal its wounds and strengthen our immune system. Often associated with bananas, strawberries also contain potassium which promotes brain function and healthy blood vessels.

Common ways to incorporate strawberries into your diet: 
  • Add to a smoothie
  • Add to yogurt
  • Place on toast instead of jelly or jam
  • Use as topping for pancakes and waffles
  • Add to cereal
  • Add to salad
  • Dip in low-fat fruit dip
  • Dip in antioxidant-rich dark chocolate
  • Freeze them and enjoy throughout the year

Find more ways to enjoy strawberries by visiting the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) for popular recipes.

Strawberries can be grown in pots, so even if you have a small space, this popular fruit can be grown by people in urban and rural areas alike. MSU Extension is an excellent resource on growing strawberries for beginners and experts.