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Strawberries: Healthy Never Tasted So Good

Despite having “berry” in its name, strawberries are not berries at all.

They are classified as an “aggregate accessory fruit,” and, technically speaking, the seeds are the true fruit of the plant.

Strawberries are one of the first fruits to ripen in the spring, which is good news for all strawberry lovers. Strawberries can be bought year-round, however, because every state in the U.S. grows them. In addition, strawberries are a perennial plant, so they will grow back every year without having to be replanted.

Strawberries have a relatively low glycemic index of 40, meaning they are a safe choice for diabetics. Most of the carbohydrates in strawberries come from the simple sugar content such as fructose. Because they have a low glycemic index, the sugar content won’t cause a spike in blood glucose levels.

Strawberries also are known to decrease the risk for cardiovascular disease due to their high antioxidant content, which is found especially in their bright red pigment. The high levels of vitamin C also aid in the antioxidant power and can help prevent against stroke and cancer.

Strawberries may help prevent constipation due to their high water content and help manage high blood pressure due to their high potassium content.

While a multitude of health benefits are associated with the consumption of strawberries, you have to take precautions when eating them. In 2019 and many previous years as well, strawberries topped the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Dirty Dozen List. It’s a list of fresh fruits and vegetables that are most likely to be contaminated with pesticide residue, even after washing them before eating.

So, while eliminating pesticide residue completely may not be possible, take care to wash your strawberries thoroughly before eating them to minimize the risk of contamination.

For more information on safely growing, processing and selling strawberries and other specialty crops in North Dakota, visit NDSU Extension’s Field to Fork website at www.ag.ndsu.edu/fieldtofork.

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Sources:

Abigail Glaser, NDSU dietetics and management communication student

Julie Garden-Robinson, NDSU Extension food and nutrition specialist

Gabrick, A. (March 31, 2008). Nutritional Benefits of the Strawberry. Retrieved from www.webmd.com/diet/features/nutritional-benefits-of-the-strawberry

This project was supported by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service through grant 14-SCBGP-ND-0038. Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the USDA.

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