Strawberry nutrition is impressive in and of itself, but even without all the super sweet health benefits, America loves strawberries, and with good reason: they’re tasty and always in season.
In fact, the strawberry (Fragaria ananassa) grows on every continent except Australia, New Zealand, and Africa. For places where the fruits don’t grow year-round, new technology has made strawberry transport and preservation state of the art.
Egyptian researchers are studying ways to preserve fruits and vegetables using gamma irradiation. They used strawberries to test this method, and the results were published in the Journal of Radiation Research and Applied Sciences.
“This study showed that strawberries treated with gamma rays had higher antioxidant activity and less decay than control fruits,” researchers reported in the 2017 paper. “The results suggest that gamma rays treatments may be a useful non-chemical way for maintaining strawberry fruit quality and extending their postharvest life.”
But before you break out in your very own rendition of “Strawberry Fields Forever,” remember one thing: always, always, always wash strawberries thoroughly before eating them.
Strawberries topped the 2019 list of “The Dirty Dozen” in produce. EWG Shopper’s Guide publishes the annual list of produce tainted with pesticides based on U.S. Department of Agriculture analyses. The analyses showed that strawberries grown organically are much cleaner than strawberries grown conventionally.
With that simple but important disclaimer out of the way, read on to learn all about strawberry health benefits.
Strawberry Nutrition Facts
Strawberries are as good for you as they are cute. It’s no wonder kids like them.
Their bright red color means they’re loaded with polyphenols that fight off disease, like anthocyanin that gives these berries their bright red color.
The strawberry’s cute little shape comes in the form of fiber, which is great for the digestive system and helps to protect against cancer.
There are plenty of vitamins in strawberries, including vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin K, and vitamin C. Although they don't contain vitamin B12, strawberries are a good source of the other B vitamins, including folate, a B vitamin especially important to women of childbearing age.
Strawberries are probably best known for their hefty vitamin C content. Just one serving of eight strawberries and you’ve had all the vitamin C you need for the day per USDA guidelines (and an extra 10%, too), according to the California Strawberries Council.
Plus, strawberries are a healthy part of any weight-loss meal plan, with only 0.5 grams of total fat (and what's there is monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats with zero saturated fat in the mix). Although at 11.7 grams, the total carbohydrate count is probably more than a low-carb dieter would want, if you factor in the 3 grams of dietary fiber, your clocking in just 8.7 grams of net carbs. Not too shabby!
You can have that strawberry nutrition boost and give your heart a dose of healthy anytime by trying our delicious Luscious Red Shake.
Here's a breakdown of strawberry nutrition according to Self Nutrition Data so you know what you have to look forward to with every juicy bite.
A 1-cup serving size of strawberries offers up:
- 46.6 Calories
- 11.7 Grams of carbs
- 3 Grams of dietary fiber
- 0.1 Grams of starch
- 7.4 Grams of sugar
And a serving of strawberries has quite the impressive vitamin profile:
- 149% of the daily value of vitamin C
- 2% of the daily value of vitamin E
- 4% of the daily value of vitamin K
- 2% of the daily value of B1 (thiamin)
- 2% of the daily value of vitamin B2 (riboflavin)
- 3% of the daily value of vitamin B3 (niacin)
- 2% of the daily value of vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid)
- 4% of the daily value of vitamin B6 (pyridoxine)
- 9% of the daily value of vitamin B9 (folate)
And minerals to boot:
- 2% of the daily value of calcium
- 3% of the daily value of iron
- 5% of the daily value of magnesium
- 4% of the daily value of phosphorus
- 7% of the daily value of potassium
- 1% of the daily value of zinc
- 4% of the daily value of copper
- 29% of the daily value of manganese
- 1% of the daily value of selenium
Strawberry Health Benefits
The health benefits of strawberries are bountiful, from the fiber that’s proven to help prevent colon cancer to all the disease-fighting antioxidants and flavonoids they contain. And you don't have to worry about the sugar in strawberries contributing to the development of type 2 diabetes. The fiber helps dull glucose spikes and keeps blood sugar levels low.
High in Disease-Fighting Antioxidants and Heart-Healthy Fiber
We know that strawberries are high in free-radical fighting antioxidants, and the California Strawberry Council cites a recent study ranking strawberries "second among the top ten fruits in antioxidant capacity (TAC), which is one reason why they may help prevent cancer and heart disease.”
And in a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, strawberries ranked among the top five foods and beverages with the highest antioxidant power...out of 1000 foods! The other contenders were blackberries, grape juice, artichoke hearts, and walnuts, all beating out blueberries, raspberries, red wine, chocolate, coffee, and tea.
The fiber in strawberries fights cancer and is likewise beneficial for heart health, as it helps to lower cholesterol and support a healthy digestive system, and potassium helps to lower blood pressure.
And the science behind the strawberry’s cancer-fighting claims is real. According to the American Institute for Cancer Research, strawberries are packed with ellagic acid, a phytochemical that has been shown in lab studies to be a potential ally against skin, bladder, esophagus, breast, and lung cancers by slowing down the proliferation of cancer cells and neutralizing certain carcinogens.
Strawberries also are packed with compounds called flavonoids, which give them their rich color. Flavonoids are celebrated for their anti-cancer and antioxidant properties.
And the folate in strawberries deserves an extra shoutout because it may help prevent birth defects. It has long been known that folate helps prevent neural tube birth defects, which is why the National Institutes of Health and Institute of Medicine recommend folic acid supplementation during pregnancy.
An extensive, well-designed 2010 study showed just how much better organic fresh strawberries are for you than conventionally grown strawberries.
The study, published in the journal PLOS One, compared the nutritional analyses of strawberries grown among 13 pairs of standard and organic commercial ecosystems. The study also looked at soil samples.
“Organic strawberries had significantly higher total antioxidant activity (8.5% more), ascorbic acid (9.7% more), and total phenolics (10.5% more) than conventional berries,” the researchers concluded, “but less phosphorus (13.6% less) and potassium (9.1% less).”
The researchers note that less phosphorus in the diet increasingly is being looked upon as desirable, and that strawberries are not the go-to source for phosphorus or potassium anyway.
As for soil samples, they had "more total carbon and nitrogen, greater microbial biomass and activity, and higher concentrations of micronutrients.”
A 2006 study published in the journal Agriculture and Food Chemistry showed that extract from organically grown strawberries slowed certain breast cancer and colon cancer growth better than conventional strawberry extract.
At the end of the day, even frozen strawberries are good for you.
Try substituting delicious strawberries for that processed candy you get out of the vending machine at work. It won’t be a sacrifice—you’ll be treating yourself—and getting healthier in the process.