Functional Foods at Farmers Markets - Week Four

Wow! I had no idea that strawberries are part of the rose family!

Mmmmmm, the thought of biting into a beautiful red ripe strawberry that I just brought home from the farmers market makes my mouth start to water.

When eaten at the perfect time, I think strawberries taste better than candy and, while happily munching,  I completely forget about all of the great nutritional benefits that are packed into them.

Let’s see what functional food payoff strawberries can add to your day!


Here's What One Little Cup of Fresh Strawberries Can Do For You!


Provide manganese, fiber, iodine, copper, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, biotin, omega-3 fats from the seeds, and vitamin B6.


Provide 21 polyphenols (protective agents) with antioxidant (oxidation inhibitor) and anti-inflammatory (inflammation reducer) capabilities. The polyphenols are from the groups known as: flavonoids, phenolic acids, tannins, and stilbenes.


Give you  113% of the DRI (dietary reference intake) for Vitamin C, an amazing antioxidant that lowers our risk of cardiovascular disease, cancers and much more.


When eaten as part of a balanced meal or snack, it can possibly help maintain healthy blood glucose (sugar) and insulin levels because of some peptides and folate in them, as well as their lower glycemic index value.


Give you a boost of the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin to help keep your eyes healthy.


Provide varied amounts of polyphenols during their ripening stages because the different colors indicate more enhanced or decreased polyphenol amounts. For example, when strawberries are more green it indicates increased ellagitannins (a cancer inhibitor, anti-inflammatory, and more), however, a bright red color indicates higher amounts of anthocyanins, which promotes brain health, is a cancer inhibitor, and heart protector.


Keep the heart happy because they contain an enzyme that helps break down lipid hydroperoxide, which is known to cause damage to blood vessels.


Possibly help women maintain their cognitive function if they believe the results of a Harvard study that showed when women over 70 years old consumed 1 – 2 cups of strawberries per week, they experienced an improved capability of new brain nerve growth in the hippocampus region of the brain. This region is involved with learning and memory.


Lower your risk for cancer, strawberries rank high on the AICR’s (American Institute for Cancer Research) list of foods that fight cancer because of how much ellagic acid they contain. Ellagic acid has been shown to lower the risk of esophageal, breast, lung, skin, and bladder cancers.

Purchasing and Storing

Strawberries are one of the fresh fruits that are recommended to be organic, if your budget allows it because, studies have shown that they retain a lot of pesticides when they are used in the growing process. For a complete list of the “Dirty Dozen” list go to this link:

Keep in mind that when storing strawberries, they can lose much of their vitamin C and polyphenols if stored in a lower humidity area. When refrigerating, it’s recommended to keep them in the vegetable bins to keep the air from circulating around them, which keeps the humidity a little higher.


Using Strawberries for Cooking

My grandchildren love them after I’ve sprinkled pineapple infused balsamic vinegar on them because the combination tastes like they’ve been sprinkled in sugar.

I love throwing them into salads and yogurt, on waffles, or on top of low-fat ice cream.  

My husband’s mother and grandmother make the most scrumptious strawberry jam I have ever tasted and they said they simply follow the recipe on the box of pectin they buy to thicken it.

My youngest daughter makes cream cheese stuffed strawberries and baked brie with a strawberry compote sauce that are absolutely fabulous and always a big hit at our family gatherings.

Now it’s that time for you to get your groove on with some strawberry creations! Send us any new ideas you have or try out. Enjoy!