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Eating Well With Whole Foods: Strawberries

by Suzann Pileggi Pawelski


"Doubtless God could have made a better berry, but doubtless God never did." (Dr. William Butler, 17th Century English Writer) Dr. Butler is referring to the strawberry, the most popular of the berries. June is an ideal time to enjoy the plump, juicy and refreshing fruit. A member of the rose family and synonymous with passion, the strawberry was a symbol for Venus, the Goddess of Love, because of its heart shape and luscious red color. The strawberry figures prominently in ancient art, history and literature. Strawberries were perceived as a healing food as far back as 200BC when the Romans cultivated them for their medicinal properties. During the reign of Napoleon, prominent French beauty Madame Tallien was reputed to bathe in the juice of fresh strawberries — she used 22 pounds per basin!

In addition to being colorful and delightful, strawberries are a tasty way to help our bodies stay healthy. Ounce for ounce, strawberries have more Vitamin C than citrus fruit and are rich in manganese, dietary fiber and iodine. They also provide a good source of potassium, folate (important for preventing birth defects), vitamin B5, vitamin B6, vitamin K, riboflavin, omega 3, magnesium, and copper. Chock full of phenols — a large class of phytonutrients popular for their disease preventing benefits — strawberries are rich in anthocyanins and ellagitannins. Anthocyanins provide strawberries’ vibrant red hue and act as strong antioxidants helping prevent cellular and oxygyen damage in the body. Ellagitannins have been linked with lowered rates of cancer-related death. Its unique phenol content makes strawberries an ideal heart healthy, anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory fruit. And, unlike anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin or ibuprofen, strawberries do not cause intestinal bleeding.

Since strawberries are very perishable they should be bought no more than a few days prior to use. Choose ones that are symmetrically shaped with a full red color, bright sheen, firm flesh and attached green caps. The berries should be dry and free of mold. Select medium-sized berries over large ones for optimal flavor. Strawberries cause allergic reactions in some people and should be avoided by those with a known sensitivity. Always choose organic varieties to avoid consuming pesticides often found on strawberries. Strawberries are a delicious snack by themselves and excellent topped on whole grain cereal, organic yogurt, or blended in smoothies.

Strawberry Banana Breakfast Smoothie

½ cup unsweetened soy milk

½ cup plain soy yogurt

1 ½ cups fresh strawberries

1 medium banana

1 tablespoon flaxseeds, ground

2 ice cubes

Mix all ingredients in a blender until smooth. Pour into a glass and enjoy!

 

Suzann Pileggi is a certified holistic health counselor. She works with clients on nourishing their body and soul by helping them make better food and lifestyle choices. She uses food to naturally increase energy, control cravings and create a balanced lifestyle. She conducts special sugar seminars at Radu’s Physical Culture gym in NYC. Visit her website at www.suzannpileggi.com , email her at suzannpileggi@aol.com, or call her at (646) 265-9055 for a FREE initial holistic health consultation. Phone consultations and group seminars available.


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