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Strawberry Nutrition

While there are more than 600 varieties of strawberries that differ in flavor, size and texture, one can usually identify a strawberry by its red flesh that has yellow seeds piercing its surface, and the small, regal, green leafy cap and stem that adorn its crown. In addition to strawberries that are cultivated, there are also varieties that grow wild. These are much smaller in size, but feature a more intense flavor.
Strawberries not only look like a fruity heart-shaped valentine, they are filled with unusual phytonutrients that love to promote your health.
Strawberries, like other berries, are famous in the phytonutrient world as a rich surce of phenols. In the strawberry, these phenols are led by the anthocyanins and by the ellagitannins. The anthocyanins in strawberry not only provide its flush red color, they also serve as potent antioxidants that have repeatedly been shown to help protect cell structures in the body and to prevent oxygen damage in all of the body's organ systems. Strawberries' unique phenol content makes them a heart-protective fruit, an anti-cancer fruit, and an anti-inflammatory fruit, all rolled into one. The anti-inflammatory properties of strawberry include the ability of phenols in this fruit to lessen activity of an enzyme called cyclo-oxygenase, or COX., this is the same mechanism of action as taking a non-steriodal anti-inflammatory drugs like aspirin or ibuprofen.  This means strawberries may also help decrease the progression and control the pain of some types of arthritis.

The ellagitannin content of strawberries has actually been associated with decreased rates of cancer death. In one study, strawberries topped a list of eight foods most linked to lower rates of cancer.

Your mother may have told you carrots would keep your eyes bright as a child, but as an adult, it looks like fruit, especially berries with their high anti oxidant levels are even more important for keeping your sight.

In terms of traditional nutrients, strawberries emerged from our food ranking system as an excellent source of vitamin C and manganese. They also qualified as a very good source of dietary fiber and iodine as well as a good source of potassium, folate, riboflavin, vitamin B5, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin B6, vitamin K, magnesium and copper.

Strawberry History

In their early history, strawberries were already known during the Christian era, and were widely spread in the Roman culture, where they were used in festivals and with grapes as a food of choice.
They underwent a period of relative hiatus when the Roman empire fell, only to reemerge during Medieval times, when they were prized for their medicinal qualities more than for their culinary value. This is thought to be a result of the relatively light taste of the American varieties being cultivated at the time: the berries weren't as tasty as they are today and this hampered their popularity.
In modern times, strawberries regained popularity during the 18th century, when some mutations improved their taste and appearance, gaining them widespread acceptance as a tasty and healthy fruit.
In 1714, a new species of strawberries (much larger than the ones currently being cultivated in Europe) was discovered by a French engineer, in Chile and Peru. The seeds of these large strawberries were brought back to France , where they began being cultivated.
Initially, they didn't seem to grow properly, but soon they were cross-bred with a North American strawberry variety planted in the vicinity. The resulting fruit was very similar to the ones we eat today, boasting both a very sweet and pleasant taste and a luscious appearance and large size. This new hybrid gained popularity in Europe and spread fast to many countries.
Until about 1850, strawberries were only enjoyed by wealthy people, and were still considered an elite fruit, until the development of efficient transportation methods, such as railways, that greatly lowered shipping prices and let them be accessible to larger slices of society.
During the 20th and 21st century, several scientific studies proving the high nutritional value of strawberries helped improve their popularity even more and now they are considered one of the most popular berry fruits in the world. On the world scale, Australia is about the 28th largest strawberry producer by volume, with the USA, Spain and Japan being the top 3.

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