Have you been strawberry picking yet this season? Strawberries are the perfect berry for everything from shortcakes to scallops! One of my favourite summer recipes is to make strawberry salsa to add to fish and chicken. Check out the recipe at the end of the blog. Plus I love adding fresh strawberries to salads, including this one from my Barley Balance blog. They are not only attractive and flavourful, but strawberries have many nutritious benefits. Studies from around the world continue to demonstrate the positive effects that strawberries have on brain, heart and immune health.
One serving of a half-cup (125 ml) of strawberries is packed full of beneficial antioxidants including anthocyanins and flavanols. Plus these beautiful red jewels have essential nutrients including vitamin C, B-vitamins, potassium, folate and fibre (1). And they are a refreshingly hydrating when the summer heat kicks in.
With all those antioxidants, strawberries help nourish your noggin! The long term Nurses’ Health Study (2) showed that greater intakes of blueberries and strawberries were associated with slower rates of cognitive decline.
This heart shaped fruit is good for your heart! Strawberries contain enough antioxidant power to reduce both total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein (LDL or bad) cholesterol reducing the risk of heart disease (2, 3).
Strawberries have shown promise in promoting immune health by increasing the immunological response (4). With their high amounts of vitamin C, flavanols and B-vitamins, strawberries are a must-have to keep your immune system in peak performance.
Strawberry Salsa Recipe
Incorporating delicious and nutritious strawberries into your daily meal plan has never been easier. A few years ago, when I was a spokesperson for California Strawberries, I adapted this recipe. And since then, it has been a tasty summertime go-to for chicken and fish tacos.
- 1 cup (250 mL) fresh strawberries (washed and diced)
- ½ cup (125 mL) fresh mango (peeled and diced)
- ¼ cup (60 mL) pineapple (diced)
- 2 tablespoons (30 mL) red onion (diced)
- 2 tablespoons (30 mL) chopped cilantro
- 1 tablespoon (15 mL) freshly squeezed lime juice
- 2 teaspoons (10 mL) rice vinegar (unseasoned)
- Dash of cayenne pepper (optional)
In a medium bowl, add strawberries, mango, pineapple, red onion and cilantro. Gently mix. In a small bowl, whisk together lime juice and rice vinegar. Add to strawberry mixture and gently mix. Season with cayenne pepper as desired. Serve with fish, chicken or pork.
Did you know strawberries are the only fruit with their seeds on the outside?
Enjoy and happy picking!
- Basu A, Nguyen A, Betts N, Lyons T. Strawberry as a functional food: An evidence-based review. Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition. 2014; 54:790-806.
- Devore E, Hee Kang J, Breteler M, Grodstein F. Dietary intakes of berries and flavonoids in relation to cognitive decline. Ann Neurol. 2012; 72:135-143.
- Jenkins DJ et al. The effect of strawberries in a cholesterol-lowering dietary portfolio. Metabolism. 2008; 57(12):1636-44.
- Zunino SJ et al. Dietary strawberries increase the proliferative response of CD3/CD28-activated CD8⁺ T cells and the production of TNF-α in lipopolysaccharide-stimulated monocytes from obese human subjects. Br. J. Nutr. 2013; 110(11):2011-9.