If you are a strawberry addict like me, then June must make you very happy. Canadian strawberries are just the best. Unlike their oversized waterlogged cousins to the south, berries grown in Canada are teeming with flavour. The common garden strawberry that we find in stores today is actually a hybrid of the French (for flavour) and Argentinean (for size) varieties. In our modern world, we are accustomed to strawberries being available year round, but nothing can compare to the first sweet taste of a June strawberry that has been picked the day before. Local berries also equal a much smaller carbon footprint.
Why you should eat fresh strawberries
For more reasons to justify your strawberry habit, savour these five sweet facts:
1. They may reduce the risk of degenerative disease: Strawberries are an amazing source of folate (the folic acid found in food). Inadequate amounts of folate in the aging population can contribute to atherosclerosis, vascular disease and even a decline in cognitive function. Medications used for conditions like rheumatoid arthritis can actually deplete folic acid in the body, so stock up on strawberries to replenish!
2. They could reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease: Strawberries could have the unique ability to suppress the inflammatory responses of the body and reduce our risk of hypertension by lowering LDL cholesterol.
3. Use strawberries to stop stressing: Strawberries contain over 100 percent of our daily recommended allowance of vitamin C in just one cup. Recent studies show that when vitamin C is consumed during times of stress, it actually has the ability to decrease our blood pressure back down to a normal level, preventing the development of hypertension — especially in kids!
4. Prevent bone loss with strawberries: Strawberries are high in potassium, and high-potassium diets have been shown to reduce bone loss by preserving calcium stores and preventing the breakdown of bone that comes with age.
5. They’re high in antioxidants: Strawberries contain anthrocyanin, which is a powerful antioxidant that protects us from the damaging effects of our environment, especially the sun. The antioxidant power of the anthrocyanins found in strawberries lasts up to 24 hours after consumption; this makes them a great defence against free radical damage!
Strawberry, red onion, spinach salad
This is a classic strawberry spinach salad. It is a perfect blend of sweet and sour and savoury. The spinach is one of the richest sources of lutein, which protects your vision. As an antioxidant, lutein protects the macula tissue in your eye by absorbing damaging UV radiation and dissipating it harmlessly. The yellow bell pepper is teeming with vitamin C for immune protection. Together with the strawberries, you get your RDA of vitamin C in just one serving of salad!
4 cups baby spinach
1 med red onion, finely sliced
1 large yellow pepper, finely sliced
2 cups strawberries, sliced
1/2 cup pine nuts
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 tsp sea salt
1. Layer veggies in a bowl and top with berries and pine nuts.
2. Mix dressing ingredients in a mason jar and pour over the salad.
Makes four salads
Nutritionist Julie Daniluk hosts Healthy Gourmet, a reality cooking show that looks at the ongoing battle between taste and nutrition. Her soon-to-be-published first book, Meals That Heal Inflammation, advises on allergy-free foods that both taste great and assist the body in the healing process.
For more amazing recipes visit Chatelaine.com’s recipe section.