4 ways strawberries keep you healthy

A Strawberry just might be the perfect berry. At least that’s what people have believed for hundreds of years. Just these nutrients alone could put you on your way to better heart health and cancer prevention. But strawberries also boost your well-being with antioxidants. They have more of these chemical superheroes than most other foods, according to the USDA-ARS Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging - which places them among the top five antioxidant rich fruits.


* CANCER FIGHTER - According to Dr. Gary Stoner, Chair of the Division of Environmental Health Sciences at Ohio State University, research proves that strawberries act a antioxidants and cut down on free radical mischief.

“They reduce the levels of genetic 9DNA) damage caused by carcinogens and inhibit tumor progression.” Stoner explains. In other works - strawberries are a topnotch cancer fighter.

They owe much of this power to ellagic acid, a natural chemical that’s in only a handful of fruits. But that’s not all. Stoner adds, “Berries contain many potential protective substances including vitamins C and E, folic acid, other phenols (besides ellagic acid), various carotenoids, and anthocyanins.” All of these substances work together, he believes, to nip cancer in the bud.

* HEALS YOUR HEART - Those same antioxidants that fight cancer, Stoner’s findings suggest, also make strawberries tough against heart disease. “The berries reduce levels of blood cholesterol by about 10 percents,” Stoner says, “so they could have some protective effect on cardiovascular disease.”

Although this connection comes only from animal studies, tossing a handful of strawberries onto your breakfast cereal will probably do more than just perk up your morning - you’ll perk up your heat, too.

* ENHANCES YOUR MEMORY - A bowl of strawberries could be the best-kept secret for a sharper mind. According to research at Tufts University, the antioxidants in strawberries could prevent or even reverse problems like memory loss. Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s disease - all conditions blamed on free radical damage.

* SOOTHES AWAY STRESS - Feeling anxious? Pot a strawberry and your brain might pump out more dopamine. This brain chemical is an ingredient in nor epinephrine, which controls how well you deal with stress. These finings came from animal studies, but it can’t hurt to add strawberries to your menu before a big meeting at work or other stressful situation.

A Word of Caution - The headline was frightening - “Frozen strawberries give schoolchildren hepatitis.” This is not just newspaper hype. It’s reality. Imported produce can carry harmful bacteria. Mostly because food safety laws vary from country to country. But there are simple ways you can defend yourself. If possible, but from a strawberry farm near you and ask about fertilizing and processing methods. Always wash your hands in hot, soapy water before handling any food. Then wash your berries under running water, and use a vegetable brush to scrub away dirt and bugs.


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