La. strawberries make a healthy treat

Richard Bogren, Reames, Elizabeth S.  |  1/4/2011 1:12:13 AM

News Release Distributed 12/15/10

Although spring marks the height of the season, Louisiana strawberries will be available from now to early May.

Strawberries often are called a nutrition super food because they are naturally high in fiber, vitamin C, folate, potassium and antioxidants, says LSU AgCenter nutritionist Beth Reames. In addition, they’re low in calories and practically fat- and sodium-free.

“Ounce for ounce, strawberries have more vitamin C than citrus fruit,” Reames says. One cup of whole strawberries provides 46 calories, 85 milligrams of vitamin C and 2.9 grams of fiber.

The American Heart Association considers fiber to be important for heart health, she adds. Studies report that people who eat higher amounts of total fiber have a lower risk of heart disease.

In addition, potassium is an important nutrient needed for electrolyte balance, aiding muscle contractions and maintaining a healthy blood pressure. And antioxidants – including vitamin C – help prevent chronic diseases and promote optimum health by fighting free radical compounds that can cause chronic illnesses.

Strawberries contain folate, which may prevent some types of birth defects, Reames says. It also reduces serum levels of homocysteine, an amino acid that may be beneficial in preventing heart disease. And the fruit also is rich in phenolic compounds such as flavonoids and elagic acid, which have antioxidant, anticancer and antimutagenic properties.

“Serve Louisiana strawberries at breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack time,” Reames says. “For a special holiday dessert, top a slice of angel food cake with sliced strawberries and a dollop of whipped topping. Or enjoy whole strawberries dipped in low-fat vanilla yogurt with a light sprinkle of cocoa powder.”

Rick Bogren

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