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Strawberry

Why you should eat fresh strawberries
For more reasons to justify your strawberry habit, savour these five sweet facts:

1. They are an excellent source of folate.

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 are being studied for their unique ability to suppress the inflammatory responses of the body and reduce our risk of hypertension by lowering LDL cholesterol. A 2013 study published in Circulation found women who ate three or more servings of strawberries and blueberries in a week reduced their risk of heart attack by 32 percent.

3. There’s more than enough vitamin C.

Strawberries contain more than 100 percent of our daily recommended intake 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 to a normal level, preventing the development of hypertension — especially in kids.

4. They’re a great source of fibre.

Strawberries are high in fibre, which is important for moving food through your digestive system and helping bowel movements. This can help improve digestion, especially for those with constipation or irregular stools.

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.

Nutritional breakdown of blueberries

One cup of fresh blueberries contains 84 calories, 0 grams of cholesterol, 1.1 grams of protein, 0.49 grams of fat, 21 grams of carbohydrate and 3.6 grams of dietary fiber (14% of daily requirements).
 
Anthocyanins that are responsible for the blueberry's color, contributes to the numerous health benefits of consuming the fruit.
That same one-cup serving provides 24% of daily vitamin C, 5% vitamin of B6 and 36% of vitamin K needs. Blueberries also provide iron, calcium, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, sodium, manganese, zinc, copper, folate, beta-carotene, folate, choline, vitamin A and vitamin E.
In addition to anthocyanins, blueberries contain a diverse range of phenolic compounds such as quercetin, kaempferol, myricetin and chlorogenic acid - all of which contribute to their antioxidant capacity.5
Due to these large amounts of bioactive compounds, blueberries rank very highly on the Aggregate Nutrient Density Index (ANDI), which rates foods based on their vitamin and mineral content, phytochemical composition and antioxidant capacity. Foods that have the most nutrients per calorie have the highest rankings, and blueberries score among the top 20 fruits and vegetables.6

Possible health benefits of blueberries

Consuming fruits and vegetables of all kinds has long been associated with a reduced risk of many lifestyle-related health conditions. Many studies have suggested that increasing consumption of plant foods like blueberries decreases the risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease and overall mortality while promoting a healthy complexion and hair, increased energy, and overall lower weight.

Maintaining healthy bones
The iron, phosphorous, calcium, magnesium, manganese, zinc and vitamin K in blueberries all contribute to building and maintaining bone structure and strength.
Iron and zinc play crucial roles in maintaining the strength and elasticity of bones and joints.2 Low intakes of vitamin K have been associated with a higher risk for bone fracture, while adequate vitamin K intakes improve calcium absorption and may reduce calcium loss.

Lowering blood pressure
Maintaining a low sodium intake is essential to lowering blood pressure. Blueberries are naturally free of sodium and contain potassium, calcium, and magnesium, all of which have been found to decrease blood pressure naturally.

Managing diabetes
Studies have shown that type 1 diabetics who consume high-fiber diets have lower blood glucose levels and type 2 diabetics may have improved blood sugar, lipids and insulin levels. One cup of blueberries contributes 3.6 grams of fiber.
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends 21-25 grams of fiber per day for women and 30-38 grams per day for men.

Warding off heart disease
The blueberry's fiber, potassium, folate, vitamin C, vitamin B6 and phytonutrient content, coupled with its lack of cholesterol, all support heart health. The fiber in blueberries helps lower the total amount of cholesterol in the blood and decrease the risk of heart disease.
Vitamin B6 and folate prevent the buildup of a compound known as homocysteine. When excessive amounts of homocysteine accumulate in the body, it can damage blood vessels and lead to heart problems.
According to a recent study from the Harvard School of Public Health and the University of East Anglia, regular consumption of anthocyanins can reduce the risk of heart attack by 32% in young and middle-aged women. The study, which was led by nutrition professor Aedin Cassidy, PhD, MSc, BSc, found that women who consumed at least three servings of blueberries or strawberries, showed the best results.

Preventing cancer
Vitamin C, vitamin A, and various phytonutrients in blueberries function as powerful antioxidants that help protect cells against free radical damage. They inhibit tumor growth, decrease inflammation in the body and help ward off or slow several types of cancer, including esophageal, lung, mouth, pharynx, endometrial, pancreatic, prostate and colon.1
Blueberries also contain folate, which plays a role in DNA synthesis and repair, thus preventing the formation of cancer cells from mutations in the DNA.

Improving mental health
Population-based studies have shown that consumption of blueberries can reduce the risk of cognitive decline as well as Parkinson's disease - a neurodegenerative disorder resulting from cell death in parts of the brain.5
Studies have also revealed that in addition to reducing the risk of cognitive damage, blueberries can also improve short-term memory loss and motor coordination.

Healthy digestion
Because of their fiber content, blueberries help to prevent constipation and promote regularity for a healthy digestive tract.

Weight loss and satiety
Dietary fiber is commonly recognized as an important factor in weight loss and weight management by functioning as a "bulking agent" in the digestive system. High fiber foods increase satiety and reduce appetite, making you feel fuller for longer and thereby lowering your overall calorie intake.

Fighting wrinkles
Collagen, the skin's support system, relies on vitamin C as an essential nutrient that works in our bodies as an antioxidant to help prevent damage caused by the sun, pollution and smoke. Vitamin C also promotes collagen's ability to smooth wrinkles and improve overall skin texture. Just one cup of blueberries provides 24% of your daily need for vitamin C.

News Flash

Nakuru ASK Show

AgriFresh Supplies will be taking part in this year's Nakuru ASK Show that will take place as from Monday to Saturday, 29th June - 4th July 2015. Find us at Egerton University Stand.

 

University of Nairobi