Berries—are some of the best fruits you can eat for optimal and peak health. And among them, strawberries are one of the healthiest kinds.
Sweet, juicy, red strawberries with their vibrant red color can enrich and brighten the flavor and look of any meal.
Not only strawberries are sweet and delicious, they are low in calories, carbs, fat, and highly nutritious.
"Strawberry calories" are one of the fewest even amongst fruits as 1 medium strawberry only has about 4 calories and 1 cup of strawberries only contains 48 calories.
That means munching on 8-10 strawberries for a snack only adds 30-50 calories to your daily calories.
Compared to other popular fruits, strawberries truly are a low-calorie food.
- 1 cup banana: 133 calories
- 1 cup apple slices: 57 calories
- 1 cup grapes: 62 calories
- 1 cup oranges: 85 calories
- 1 cup pear: 92 calories
What's In Strawberries?
But strawberries' almost zero calorie content is not the only reason why they are so popular.
They are also one fruit that's tart, sweet and flavorful without packing in a lot of sugar, giving health-conscious eaters an opportunity to enjoy sweets without loading up on sugar.
In fact, it's almost hard to find any sugar in raw strawberries.
According to USDA, there are only 8 grams of sugar in 1 cup of strawberries.
Other popular fruits have a tad more.
Sugar in Fruits
- 1 cup banana: 18g
- 1 cup apple slices: 13g
- 1 cup grapes: 15g
- 1 cup oranges: 9g
- 1 cup pear: 14g
Unlike some other fruits void of sugar and calories, strawberries somehow manage to be sweet and truly a delicious treat.
So if not sugar and calories, what's really in strawberries?
Strawberries, a member of the rose family and only fruit with seeds on the outside mainly consist of water (91%) and carbohydrates (7.7%). They contain only a small amounts of protein (0.7%) and fat (0.3%).
Strawberries are almost fat-free.
Carbs in Strawberries
Fresh, raw whole strawberries contain very little carbohydrates, about 12 grams per cup to be exact. This is partly because strawberries are mostly water, about 91%.
The carbs in strawberries come from simple sugars, in the form of glucose, fructose, and sucrose, but like most fresh fruits that haven’t been stripped of their nutrients, strawberries have a decent amount of fiber.
In 1 cup, there are 3 grams of fiber, which is equivalent to 12% of your RDV.
This makes strawberries really easy for the body to digest.
Strawberries score 40 on the glycemic index list. Compared to other high nutritious fruits like banana (55), and blueberries (53), this is relative low.
Even carrots score 47.
This is great news; you can snack on strawberries all day, and it still won't lead to a big spike in your blood sugar levels.
It’s a huge benefit for diabetes sufferers.
Overall, strawberries are highly nutritious, low in calories and carbs content which makes them great for healthy snacking and adding flavors to plain foods like Greek yogurt.
They also got whole a lot of nutrients and vitamins. Needless to say, they bring numerous health benefits.
Nutrients: 1 Cup of Strawberries (144g)
- 46 calories
- 12g carbohydrates – 4% RDV
- 3g fiber – 12% RDV
- Sugars 7g
- protein 1g
- potassium 220 mg —6% RDV
- Sodium 1.4 mg —0% RDV
- Vitamin K 3.2 mcg —4% RDV
- Vitamin C 84.7 mg – 141% RDV
- Calcium 23.0 mg 2% RDV
- Folate 36.5 mcg —9%
- Manganese 0.6 mg —28% RDV
- Iron 0.6 mg—3%
- Vitamin E 0.4 mg —2% RDV
- Thiamin 0.0 mg —2% RDV
- Riboflavin 0.0 mg —2% RDV
- Vitamin B6 0.1mg —4% RDV
- Copper 0.1 mg —3% RDV
- Total fat 0g —1% RDV
- No cholesterol
There are so many nutritional values to strawberries, but let's take a look at top 3 that really bring out the health benefits of strawberries.
1. Rich in Vitamin C
Just 1 cup of strawberries provides more than 100% of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin C for adults.
Considering 5-17% and 13-23% of the U.S. population is deficient and depleted in vitamin C, strawberries offer a quick boost to your vitamin C intake.
Vitamin C is also an important antioxidant, protecting cells from damaging free radicals. Our bodies also use vitamin C to make collagen, which helps heal wounds.
Moreover, Vitamin C helps with the absorption of iron and is a critical component of the body’s immune system.
If you are like many Americans in need of vitamin C, having a handful makes all the difference.
2. Keep Blood Sugar Balanced
Despite its low-calorie and low-sugar content, strawberries are sweet and truly packed with flavors.
It’s really no surprise that they are often enjoyed as a great sugar alternative.
Not only they’re filling and satisfying, they are better at keeping your blood sugar level balanced - an essential benefit not only for diabetic patients but also to those aiming to lose weight and keep it off according to nutritionist Mark MacDonald and Dr. Oz.
And if you are craving for something sweet, it’s much healthier to eat strawberries than other sweets as they contain a great amount of fiber, a powerful nutrient that helps regulate digestions and reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease, mainly through its cholesterol-lowering mechanism.
3. Second to Blueberries for Antioxidants
A great source of antioxidants—Antioxidants are important to our health.
Strawberries have a chock full of antioxidants, which protect our bodies from cellular damage caused by free radicals—which can lead to many diseases, including cancer and heart disease.
In a test carried out by the Human Nutrition Center (USDA) ranking 40 different fruits and vegetables, strawberries came in second place to blueberries for antioxidants capacity.
That’s pretty impressive, considering how important antioxidants are to our health.
Among strawberries’ antioxidants are anthocynanins and ellagic acid, a phytochemical that has been shown to fight carcinogens.
Antioxidant compounds found in strawberries are also said to help prevent the oxidation of LDL ("bad") cholesterol and may have benefits for heart health and blood sugar control.
Strawberries are also high in folic acid and potassium.
More About Strawberries
Strawberries have grown wild for millennia throughout the world.
Today, there are over 600 varieties of strawberries that all differ in flavor, size and texture.
Strawberries are available year round, but peak strawberry season is April through July.
California and Florida are the two top producing and leading states within the U.S for strawberries. Between the two, California takes the major lead, producing over 91 percent of the entire strawberry crop.
In 2014 alone, the United States produced 3 billion pounds of strawberries.
Strawberries are indeed the most popular berry fruit in the world. One trivia is that strawberries do not ripen after they are picked unlike bananas.
So look for ones that are shiny with a deep, red color and firm, plump, and free of mold. Avoid ones that are dull in color or have green or yellow patches.
How Long Do Strawberries Last?
Strawberries are extremely perishable and fragile. On average, after 2 days of storage, you begin to see a major loss of vitamin C and polyphenol antioxidants.
This is not to say strawberries become ineditable or invaluable after that period, but longer you store them, less nutritious they become.
To get the most out of strawberries' nutrients, eat ones freshly picked.
But not everyone can eat strawberries that fresh. If that's you, there are several ways you can extend the life of strawberries.
- Humidity: 90-95% humidity has shown optimal. Since most refrigerators have the humidity of between 80-90%, use a sealed bin for higher humidity.
- Temperature: Temperature of 36F (2C) is said optimal for strawberry storage.
To store them, cover them loosely and keep them in the refrigerator. Be sure to rinse them well right before eating them.
In the end, strawberries are a low-calorie, no-fat and low-sugar fruit with high nutritional values. To get the most of health benefits of strawberries, they are best eaten before 2 days of storing.
Do you love strawberries but always thought they are too high in calories and sugar?
Are strawberries your favorite? Let us know how you eat your strawberries? Do you top them on your yogurt parfait? Use as an antioxidant booster in your morning banana strawberry smoothie?