Strawberries for Heart Health
It is no coincidence that strawberries have a characteristic heart shape that pairs so perfectly with their crimson color; strawberries are a heart healthy food! A favorite berry of most, strawberries are native to many regions across the globe, and were originally enjoyed as a luxury item only by royalty. Cross breeding experiments from berries all over the world gave us the plump fruits we know so well today. In California, strawberries have been cultivated since the early 1900’s, their popularity spreading via the implementation of train transport.
Strawberries are an excellent source of vitamin C, (more so than citrus), vitamin K, dietary fiber, and flavonoids. The vibrant red color attributed to these berries is due to flavonoids that protect against inflammation, heart disease, and cancer. The anti-inflammatory properties of strawberries even inhibit the activity of the enzyme cyclooxygenase (COX), which non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like aspirin and ibuprofen are designed to do in order to block pain. The awesome part about that is, unlike NSAID drugs, strawberries do not cause intestinal bleeding.
In California, strawberry season is in bloom in early spring, peaks in mid-April, and can continue all the way to September. These treasured berries are usually available year round, but taste their finest during spring and summer. Choose berries that are red throughout, free of green or white patches, as strawberries do not continue to ripen once picked. Because strawberries are amongst the dirty dozen, it is wise to select those that are organically grown.
(Information was sourced from The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods by Michael Murray ND.)