How many times have you consumed a strawberry whole, leaves and all? The likely answer is "never," though evidence points to the healthiness of strawberry leaves, confirming that the fruit itself is not the only way to reap a strawberry's health benefits.
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Strawberry leaves can be used in tea, in order to reap their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits.
An Overview of Strawberries
The strawberry, a summer fruit that grows yearly and thrives in mild climates, touts a few health perks of its own. Health benefits of wild strawberries, according to Better Health Channel, include:
- Dietary fiber, which aids in healthy bowel movements.
- A source of potassium, which supports blood pressure regulation.
- A source of manganese (regulates brain and nerve function), magnesium (helps regulate muscle, heart and nerve function) and folate.
- Supplying vitamin C (helps grow and repair tissues), vitamin A (aids the immune system) and vitamin K, which helps your blood clot.
- Supplying energy (100 grams of strawberries supplies 90 kJ, says Better Health Channel).
Most people are accustomed to consuming the red fruit, which can be prepared in a variety of ways: in salads, jams, cakes, sauces and more. But did you know that you can eat the strawberry's leaves as well? The dark green leaves that form a crown-like circle around the top of the strawberry is also a source of nutrients.
Health Benefits of Strawberry Leaves
Researchers in a June 2016 review in antioxidants, observed the benefits of berry leaves, and their nutritional as well as medicinal value. The leaves were found to be rich in bioactive natural sources, and contain antioxidant as well as anti-inflammatory agents.
There's also some indication that berry leaves contain disease-preventing properties, though more evidence is needed to support this claim. Using aggregated evidence, the antioxidants paper suggests that berry leaves in any form (i.e. blueberry leaf tea) may promote healthy functioning in the body.
An April 2014 article in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry affirms that strawberry leaves may contain compounds that possess beneficial health properties, as well as defenses against microbial pathogens.
According to the University of Nebraska - Lincoln, one species similar to the strawberry, called potentilla indica, or "mock strawberry," contains leaves that can be crushed and used medicinally, for burns, boils, abscesses, insect bites and more.
Read more: The Side Effects of Blueberries
How to Prepare Strawberry Leaves
Better Health Channel recommends the various ways you can use strawberries: in a salsa, a salad, an Italian dessert with ricotta cheese, a soup and a main dish with lettuce, avocado, bean sprouts, cooked prawns and lime juice dressing.
But how can strawberry leaves be prepared in a way that seems appetizing? One way is to use the leaves to make tea by letting the leaves steep in boiling water. Strawberry tea benefits are plentiful, and just a little bit of leaves will go a long way.
If you like the taste of strawberry leaf tea, you can try strawberry infused water made by using not only the strawberry fruit, but the leaves as well. No need to toss perfectly tasty and healthy leaves when making flavored water. Come to mention it, if you make a strawberry salad, you can keep the leaves intact. Soak the strawberries in balsamic vinegar, and enjoy.
- Better Health Channel: "Strawberry"
- antioxidants: "Berry Leaves: An Alternative Source of BioactiveNatural Products of Nutritional and Medicinal Value"
- Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry: "Polyphenols in Strawberry (Fragaria × ananassa) Leaves Induced by Plant Activators"
- University of Nebraska - Lincoln: "Mock Strawberry"