Berry Healthy

Summer is berry season! What does that mean for you? Lower prices and more flavor! I have been adding strawberries to many of my meals and snacks this week for a delicious and seasonal nutrition boost.

photo (23)

Mixed salad greens topped with alfalfa sprouts, sliced strawberries, raisins, and sunflower seeds

Strawberries, which are a member of the rose family, provide 3g of fiber, 150% daily value of Vitamin C, 8g of sugar, and about 50 calories per cup. Like most fruits and vegetables, they are  a good source of fiber, which is why despite their sugar content strawberries are a low glycemic food (meaning they do not cause rapid spikes and drops in blood sugar).

Like all berries, strawberries are associated with decreased risk of cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. They are also believed to delay the onset of memory loss by up to 2.5 years. The deep red and blue color of berries, like strawberries and blueberries, indicates the presence of disease-fighting antioxidant compounds such as anthocyanins and ellagic acid.

Strawberries are a particularly good source of the trace mineral, manganese which aids in calcium absorption, promotes the activity of bone building enzymes, and regulates function of sex hormones. Folate (also helpful in bone mass formation) and potassium are present in substantial quantities as well.

The difference between conventional and organic varieties is minimal. The goal is just to include more fruits and veggies in your diet! Store strawberries in the refrigerator for 1-3 days and do not wash until ready to eat in order to maintain optimal freshness.

photo (24)Salted cucumber salad: As the summer weather gets hotter, I am finding that I always come back from my runs super thirsty! Instead of grabbing a lab-designed gatorade that is full of added sugars and wonderful artificial colors, I like this natural source of sugar and salt (sweet and salty 🙂 ) to replenish my lost electrolytes.

Slice 1/2 a cucumber, place in a bowl and cover with a few dashes of salt. Add sliced watermelon, strawberries, and blueberries. YUM! If you use 1/4 C of both strawberries and blueberries and 1 C of Watermelon, the calorie count will be about the same as 20 oz of gatorade (120 calories), and this snack will help fill you up, unlike the empty liquid calories you will get from gatorade. There is value in extra calories for athletes who are very active and need to keep their energy intake adequate, however this is not most of the everyday people who drink gatorade when they should be drinking water!

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