The perfect snack needs to check off three boxes: filling enough to get you to your next meal, providing nutrition that fits into your balanced diet, and satisfying cravings. Not an easy task, but juicy strawberries are up for the challenge.
“Strawberries are an ideal snack because not only do they taste great, they’re also heart-healthy and an anti-inflammatory food,” says Manuel Villacorta, a registered dietitian and author of Flat Belly 365. “I love to pair strawberries with yogurt, peanut butter on rice crackers, or cottage cheese. Strawberry smoothies are also a favorite,” enthuses the award-winning nutritionist.
All you need is a serving of eight strawberries a day. Clinical research has determined that this recommendation can offer health benefits like improved heart and brain health, reduced risk of some cancers, and better management of type 2 diabetes.
Low in sugar
Many people get the urge to graze around that 3 o’clock slump. By reaching for something that has natural sweetness, you can fulfill that craving without excess calories and sugar. In fact, one serving of eight strawberries has only 50 calories and eight grams of sugar.
Bursting with nutrients
Another reason to love strawberries? “The combination of flavonoids, antioxidants and fiber can help reduce cholesterol levels,” Villacorta says. “Plus, strawberries are full of potassium, which can help manage blood pressure and prevent strokes.” Strawberries don’t stop there; a single serving has more Vitamin C than an orange.
While it may be no secret that strawberries are rich with antioxidants, few people are educated about the cancer fighting properties of this fruit. Over the past several years, there has been dozens of researchers focused solely on the potential for strawberries to influence genes that govern cancer development. Strawberries are rich in ellagic acid, a natural chemical that protects against skin, bladder, lung, esophageal and breast cancer. In a recent study, berry extracts slowed the growth of cancer cells; specifically, strawberry had the greatest impact on colon cancer cells.
According to a study in the Annals of Neurology, eating strawberries at least twice per week may delay cognitive aging by two and a half years, which includes improvement in memory and motor function. Add in a daily sudoku or crossword puzzle and you’re on your way to a sharper mind!
Nutrient-packed strawberries are a great option for those with diabetes. In fact, the American Diabetes Association lists strawberries as a top superfood for diabetic meal plans. “The anthocyanins found in strawberries may help improve insulin resistance, which means you can regulate blood glucose better,” according to Villacorta.
Both kids and adults love a good strawberry snack. Try a strawberry oat bar, peanut butter yogurt dipped strawberries, strawberry almond butter snackwich, or even strawberry turkey pinwheels to switch things up in your afternoon routine. From quick and grandkid-friendly to fancy appetizers, visit CaliforniaStrawberries.com for the snacks mentioned that are perfect for all ages and occasions.
Snacking can be fun with bright colors, simple recipe ideas, unexpected flavor combinations and a little creativity. And if your snacks are full of vital nutrients and health benefits, even better!
What are you waiting for? Pick up some strawberries and get on a path to better health!