Strawberries are a naturally sweet treat that make a healthy addition to any diet. Full of fiber, vitamin C and potassium, strawberries make a better choice than higher-calorie foods and can also help you manage your weight. Look for strawberries during their peak season, lasting from late May until August to enjoy them at their finest.
Calories, Fat and Fiber
One cup of sliced strawberries, weighing about 166 g, contains 53 calories and 0.5 grams of fat. Eating 1 cup of strawberries versus 1 cup of chips or snack crackers can save you considerable calories and fat. A 1-cup serving also provides 13 g of carbohydrates, 3 g of which is fiber. Fiber is essential to healthy digestion and cholesterol regulation. The Institute of Medicine recommends most adult women get about 25 g of fiber daily, and adult men need 38 g daily.
Vitamins and Minerals
Strawberries are a rich source of the antioxidant vitamin C. One cup of sliced berries offers 97.6 mg, or more than 100 percent of the daily value based on a 2000-calorie diet. Sliced strawberries also provide 40 mcg of folate per cup, which helps protect the health of your red blood cells and protects fetuses from developing specific birth defects. One cup has 254 mg of potassium, making them a high source of this fluid-balancing mineral. Strawberries also help you reach your daily needs for manganese, iron, magnesium, copper and vitamins K and B-6.
Strawberries are a source of antioxidants, which are compounds that help fight disease-causing free radicals you acquire through normal exposure to pollution, chemicals, the environment and certain foods. The antioxidants in strawberries can play a role in lowering cholesterol, as demonstrated by a study from researchers at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, published in the journal “Metabolism” in December 2008.
Typical ways to eat strawberries include adding them to cereal and fruit salad or topping them with chocolate or whipped cream. Soak strawberries in lemon juice and 1 tsp. of sugar to make a rich topping for plain yogurt, ice cream or pound cake. Bake freshly sliced strawberries into muffin batter or corn bread. Use strawberries to top pancakes and waffles. Add strawberries to a fresh spinach salad made with goat cheese and pecans. Top grilled chicken with a salsa made from diced strawberries, mint, lemon juice and cucumber.