As a kid growing up in the South, field trips to the local strawberry fields were a yearly tradition. My classmates and I would run through the fields with our plastic buckets, trying to fill them up with as many ripe berries as we could. (Although admittedly, more made it into our mouths than our buckets, because who could resist a fresh strawberry?)
Then I grew up and kind of forgot about strawberries. Other fruits like papaya and kiwi seemed like more exciting choices. And the fact that they were always on the Dirty Dozen list freaked me out too. But right now it’s peak strawberry season and they keep calling my name at every farmer’s market…making me want to reconsider my relationship with the fruit.
According to registered dietitian Mascha Davis, RD, not eating strawberries would mean missing out on a whole lot of nutritional benefits. “They’re loaded with great benefits like vitamin C, antioxidants, and fiber,” she says. And if you buy organic, you significantly lower your risk of pesticide exposure. Win-win. Here are all the reasons why you should def be making the most of strawberry season. Strawberry shortcake, anyone?
6 strawberry benefits that make them worth adding to your cart
1. They’re good for your immune system. As Davis points out, strawberries are high in vitamin C (just a half cup of the fruit gets you to half your recommended daily intake!) which is always good news for your immune system. Considering how much of a major bummer it is to be stuck sick inside after the weather has finally turned nice, it’s a happy coincidence these immune boosters are in season now.
2. They’re a good source of antioxidants. “Antioxidants are like little superheroes that help fight [free] radicals—which cause cell damage and aging—and by doing so can protect from cancer,” Davis says. Because of this, snacking on strawberries is good for your heart and keeps the defense system against diseases strong.
3. Strawberries are full of fiber. Fiber is a nutritional hero because it promotes digestive and heart health; noshing on strawberries is one way to get more of it. (A half-cup serving has two grams of fiber.) In order to get this benefit, Davis says it’s important to eat the whole strawberry fruit—not just enjoy it as a juice, since juicing often strips produce of its fiber content. “The fiber also helps slow the absorption of the sugar in the fruit,” she points out.
4. They’re full of potassium. Strawberries also have potassium, which Davis says plays several different important roles. “Potassium is important for bone health, cardiovascular function, and is essential for regulating water levels in the body,” she says. Sorry bananas, you aren’t the only fruit who can do this!
5. They help keep bones strong. There’s another reason why eating strawberries is good news for your bones: They have calcium and magnesium, both of which work together to keep bones strong. “Magnesium helps with calcium absorption,” Davis says, making it important to have both in your diet.
6. They could be good for your brain. According to scientific literature, “preliminary animal studies have indicated that diets rich in strawberries may also have the potential to provide benefits to the aging brain.” That means if you want to do everything you can to keep your mind sharp as you get older, strawberries could play a role.
3 recipes to try this strawberry season
Fit Mitten Kitchen blogger Ashley Walterhouse works fresh strawberries right into her scones as a morning coffee companion. Made with just six ingredients, it’s easy enough to whip up for the whole fam when you’re still half asleep.
This dessert-in-a-jar recipe incorporates balsamic vinegar as a wild card, making the flavor profile robust and unexpected. But trust: balsamic and strawberries are a time-tested combo in salads, and adding cake and coconut cream takes it to a dessert-worthy level.
These desserts are simply perfection. The crunch of the crust and the creaminess of the strawberry-coconut filling are the perfect paring. Plus, how gorgeous do they look?
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