12 Reasons Why You Should Eat More Strawberries

Famous for their lush red coloring and signature sweet taste, strawberries are a great go-to food for any time of day. According to the University of Vermont (UVM), there are over 3 billion pounds of strawberries grown in the United States each year. The berry is the fifth most consumed fruit in the U.S., as the average person eats about 6 pounds of the fruit each year, which is up from just 3 pounds a person in the 1970s. The state with the most strawberry farms is California, with Florida next in line. The strawberry comes in third in its overall contribution to the American agricultural economy, with only grapes and oranges ahead of it.

Given their popularity, commercial strawberries haven't even been available for most of human history. In the 1300s, the French began attempting to grow wild strawberries in their private gardens, but it wasn't until the late 1800s in America that the crop was mass produced, per UVM. While strawberries are delicious and full of nutrients, many of us aren't eating nearly enough of them. By not including more of them in your daily diet, you really are missing out on their incredible benefits. 

1. Strawberries increase HDL cholesterol

There are two types of cholesterol. The CDC states that LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol is the type we normally call "bad cholesterol." If you have a lot in your body, it can put you at risk for consequences like heart disease and stroke. This is because if there is too much of it in your blood, it can build up along the walls of your blood vessels, clogging them up. The second kind of cholesterol is HDL (high-density lipoprotein) cholesterol. This type actually cleans up your arteries and moves LDL that hasn't become stuck yet out of the body. Strawberries are a food that can help raise HDL levels to improve this process in your body.

According to a 2021 study published in the Journal of the American Nutrition Association, participants who consumed one dose of freeze-dried strawberry powder each day saw a 4.9% reduction in their overall levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol. These results were achieved without any added medication or change to their diet or exercise routine. The dose given to them was the same as about 1 cup of fresh strawberries. If you are trying to lower your LDL cholesterol at home by increasing your good cholesterol, consider adding more strawberries to your daily diet. Of course, you should also consult your doctor on the best plan for your specific needs.

2. They can lower your blood pressure

If your doctor has advised you to make changes to your diet to lower your blood pressure, enjoying more strawberries every day might help do the trick. A 2021 study published in the Journal of Nutrition found that by eating more strawberries, you may be able to lower your blood pressure and reduce your overall risk for complications like heart disease, heart failure, or stroke. "It is no surprise to me that the rich polyphenol content of strawberries allows for a positive effect on endothelial functioning," medical professional Michelle Routhenstein told Verywell. "This allows for relaxation of the arteries, improving blood flow and reducing systolic blood pressure."

Endothelial functioning refers to the health of the thin lining which covers the heart and blood vessels. Known as the endothelium, this membrane helps your heart beat and your arteries move blood around your body. Polyphenol is an anti-inflammatory organic compound, so when you eat foods like strawberries which have a lot of it, it can potentially relax your cardiovascular system. When your arteries are not squeezed shut, your blood pressure drops to normal levels and your heart doesn't have to work as hard to do its job. Of course, eating strawberries or other fruits alone isn't likely to completely correct your blood pressure, so be sure to speak to your doctor about a plan that will work best for you.

3. Strawberries can lower your overall risk of certain cancers

Strawberries are a great snack packed with flavor and plenty of nutrients to assist in your overall health. A 2001 study published in Carcinogenesis found that a component present in strawberries can actually play a part in slowing down the formation of initial cancer cells. Carcinogenesis is the process in which the body forms the first cancer cells that eventually grow into the disease. Substances that can kick-start this process are known as carcinogens. This could be things like harmful UV rays that go on to cause skin cancer, or cigarette smoke which can wreak havoc on the lungs. However, there are also substances that have the opposite effect, known as anticarcinogens. The study found that strawberries are one of these things.

Each strawberry contains a large amount of a substance called ellagic acid. This acid is an antioxidant, which means that it fights against harmful substances in the body. The study shows that ellagic acid can slow the growth of cancerous tumors, while also killing the individual cancer cells. Because of this, tumors become more vulnerable to other forms of treatment, like chemotherapy and radiation. While the effectiveness and role of strawberries and ellagic acid in fighting cancer are still being studied, the fruit's link to overall health continues to grow stronger.

4. They are a good snack when monitoring blood sugar

If you have diabetes, you know that you have to stay away from foods that can spike your blood sugar. While there is no one perfect food that won't impact your blood sugar levels at all, if you are looking for a sweet treat that won't put you at high risk, strawberries are a great option. Clinical dietician Shruti Bharadwaj told the Hindustan Times that the fruit can be enjoyed by diabetics and pre-diabetics in moderation. "[The] quantity of carbohydrate plays an important role," she said. "It does not mean that strawberries have a low glycemic index, so one can consume [them] in any quantity. Ideally, 4-5 berries are good to consume as an evening snack or mid-morning snack."

However, the lack of overall impact on blood sugar isn't the only bonus. "Anthocyanins in strawberries reduce inflammation, oxidative stress, and insulin resistance in type 2 diabetics," dietitian Akanksha Dhyan told the outlet. In addition, "minerals found in strawberries can help in overcoming micronutrients deficiency often found in type 2 diabetics." These benefits make the fruit an excellent daily choice for anyone looking to control their blood sugar and add missing nutrients to their diet.

5. Strawberries are high in antioxidants

Antioxidants are important to your body because they fight off threats to your health on the cellular level. The substances get their name from their ability to give electrons to these other harmful elements, thus neutralizing them, per Harvard University. If you have a lot of harmful elements in your body, known as free radicals, you are at a higher risk for many different health complications. This could be things like heart disease, vision loss, memory loss, cancer, and chronic illnesses like diabetes. While the presence of antioxidants in your body certainly does not completely eliminate your chances of developing these complications, as many other factors contribute to your overall health, they can still reduce the likelihood.

According to a 2010 study in the British Journal of Nutrition, strawberries are a great source of antioxidants like vitamin C and carotenoids. When participants increased their consumption of the fruit, the levels of these substances increased and were noticed in both their blood and urine. So whether you are interested in strengthening your overall immune system, or lowering your risk for a certain disease, talk to your doctor about how eating more strawberries can benefit you.

6. They are a low-calorie, high-volume food

If you are trying to lose body fat, a great way to get your appetite under control is by eating low-calorie, high-volume foods. According to Cheat Day Design, these foods are just what they sound like: Foods you can enjoy in bigger amounts because they are so low in calories. This way, you can enjoy a large meal or snack and feel full without much thought about the calories of the food. This strategy is best for people who would like to lose some excess body fat, but find themselves always feeling hungry. Instead of trying to restrict the overall amount of food eaten to see results, participants can simply enjoy more food, like strawberries, with a smaller caloric footprint instead.

There are about six calories per large strawberry, not including the stem (via Nutritionix). Because of this, snackers can enjoy as many strawberries as they would like to have without thinking about the overall caloric intake of the food. Even if you are not interested in fat loss, gravitating towards foods like strawberries is still good for you because low-calorie, high-volume foods tend to be unprocessed, full of flavor, and packed with nutrients, per Cheat Day Design.

7. Strawberries are great for prenatal health

Whether you have a little one on the way, or are just thinking about growing your family, a strawberry snack is an excellent choice to reach for. According to A Date With Baby, a healthy serving of strawberries is a great source of folic acid. When developing the baby, a mother's body uses folic acid to assist in preventing birth defects, especially in the baby's spine and brain which are formed early in the pregnancy. Since folic acid helps our bodies create new cells, having plenty of it on hand during this stage of pregnancy is essential (via CDC).

Due to this benefit, most OB-GYNs will recommend that mothers-to-be take a folic acid supplement during their conception and pregnancy journey, as it can be hard to get enough folic acid from food alone. However, many women prefer to enjoy foods high in folic acid, like strawberries, in addition to taking vitamins to get enough nutrients in a fun and tasty way. The good news is that strawberries have many more benefits for expectant mothers as well. The vitamin C present in strawberries helps the body make more collagen. The body then uses the uptick in available collagen to stimulate growth in the baby's skeleton, skin, and cartilage, too (via News18).

8. They are high in fiber

According to research by Harvard University, most Americans need more fiber in their diet. Here's why: In simple terms, fiber is a type of carbohydrate. Usually, your body can turn the carbs you eat into a substance called glucose. Next, the body uses glucose to power various functions around the body. However, fiber is a bit different than all other carbs. This is because of all the different things you might eat, fiber is one that your body cannot digest. Due to this lack of digestion, fiber pulls other things along with it as it moves through your digestive tract. In other words, it can help clear you out through regular bowel movements.

The average American only consumes about 15 grams of fiber every day. However, depending on your age, sex, and weight, you really should be taking in between 25 to 30 grams of fiber instead, per Harvard University. While it is possible to take fiber supplements, another way to increase your intake is by eating strawberries. Eating about eight medium strawberries is equal to roughly 2 grams of fiber (via SF Gate). By adding strawberries to your morning smoothie, or enjoying them as an afternoon snack, you are well on your way to reaching your daily fiber goal.

9. Their potassium levels can improve kidney diseases

Potassium is an organic compound that helps our hearts and muscles get in tip-top shape. However, it is possible to have too much of a good thing. For some people, having too much potassium in their blood at once can be harmful. According to the National Kidney Foundation, the main people at risk are those with Addison's disease, kidney disease, or poorly-controlled diabetes. If you fall into one of these categories or have been advised by your doctor that you need to lower your potassium levels, strawberries are generally a safe food to eat if you want a sweet treat.

According to Nature World, strawberries have a moderate amount of potassium per serving. Roughly, there are about 153 mg of potassium per 100g of raw strawberries. Compare that to the 358 mg of potassium per 100g of bananas, a food famous for its potassium content. Of course, if you consume strawberries in high amounts, the amount of potassium in the fruit can quickly add up in your system. So, if your doctor has advised you to limit potassium intake, be sure to follow their plan exactly to maintain optimal health.

10. Strawberries are a great source of vitamin C

According to the Mayo Clinic, vitamin C, sometimes called ascorbic acid, is an important nutrient to have in your daily diet. The body doesn't make vitamin C on its own, so you have to get all of it from outside sources, like foods, drinks, and supplements. Each day, men should aim for about 90 milligrams of vitamin C, while women should consume about 75 milligrams, per the clinic. The nutrient can protect your body from catching a contagious illness and protect your eyesight from deteriorating. It can also protect you from developing a serious illness, like cancer.

Luckily, strawberries are a great source of vitamin C. The USDA reports that one large strawberry contains almost 11 milligrams of the vitamin. To get your daily serving of ascorbic acid, you wouldn't need to eat many strawberries. By adding a handful of strawberries to your breakfast, or reaching for them as an afternoon snack, you will find yourself coasting past your daily vitamin C allowance with ease.

11. They can improve your skin's appearance and texture

If you are trying to improve your skin's health, consider eating more strawberries every day. The fruit has many nutrients which, according to a 2017 study published in the medical journal Nutrients, are essential for improving your skin's appearance, texture, and overall health. The study found that a large amount of vitamin C can help to improve your skin's immunity at a cellular level. This means that when changes occur in the environment, like shifting temperatures or humidity levels, your skin is better equipped to face these changes without drying out or breaking out. As strawberries have high amounts of vitamin C, they are more than equipped to help with this. Other environmental changes that eating strawberries can protect your skin against due to the presence of vitamin C include prolonged exposure to UV rays, as well as pollution.

Strawberries also contain an organic compound known as Alpha Lipoic Acid. Combined with vitamin C, this compound can protect your skin from common signs of aging, like wrinkles and fine lines, due to the elasticity they provide to your skin, according to a 2014 study published in the European Journal of Pharmaceutics and Biopharmaceutics. In addition, both nutrients help to provide natural hydration to your skin, meaning your face will be plumper and softer, giving your complexion a natural glow. If you want to achieve this dewy, clean look, eating strawberries is one way to get there.

12. Strawberries mix well with a variety of other foods

One of the best reasons to eat more strawberries is simply because they taste good! The fruit has a sweet, distinct taste, but with the added benefit of not completely overpowering any dish it is included in. Strawberries are one of the rare items that can be paired with a variety of foods to enhance the overall flavor, rather than overwhelm it. The possibilities are nearly endless.

For example, strawberries go great with kiwi, banana, peach, lemon, and lime. You can add the fruits together for a salad, or blend them together in a smoothie. In each case, you will be able to taste the strawberry, but its sweet flavor blends in perfectly with those surrounding it.

Strawberries also taste amazing when sprinkled with herbs and spices like chili, cinnamon, basil, and mint. You can dip strawberries in dark chocolate or yogurt to make them feel a bit more like a dessert, or even champagne if you are looking for something elegant to serve as an hors d'oeuvre. Strawberries can even be sprinkled over a spinach salad to give it a summery feel. Overall, there aren't many foods as versatile and delicious as strawberries.