Strawberries: Why Kids Should Eat More
Who on earth could resist a big, bold, bright red, beautiful strawberry, with a luscious scent that surely comes straight from Heaven? Not children, that's for sure!
When polled, children usually point to the strawberry as their favorite fruit. When I think back to my own childhood, I can't help but remember scoping out the berry patch and helped myself to those beautiful red berries resting comfortably on the bright yellow bed of straw that my father had put down in early spring. I didn't think much of the bed of straw, though it did make finding the berries a bit easier. At the time, I didn't realize that, by distinction, strawberries aren't technically even considered berries. I didn't know about their high nutritional value, and I didn't care. All that mattered was the flood of sweet goodness in every bite.
What's in a Name?
The scientific classification of a berry means the seeds are inside the fruit and in the case of the strawberry the seeds, of course, are on the outside. And, in the case of strawberries, a lot of seeds are on the outside! In fact, approximately 200 of the tiny yellow seeds pepper the outside of each berry. Despite the fact that farmers who grow this crop tend to place straw beneath the plants to keep the berries dry and clean, their name has nothing to do with straw. Traditionally, strawberries were found strewn along the ground, so they were originally called strewberries. But strawberries, like raspberries, aren't berries at all. They hail from the rose family. Cultivated since the early 1700s, strawberries have been used extensively in culinary dishes as well as in medicinal concoctions.
Health Benefits of the Strawberry
- Ellagic acid,
- Immense amounts of vitamin C,
- And the seeds are an excellent source of fiber.
Vitamin C is used to repair body tissue, to keep gums and teeth healthy, and to help cuts and wounds. Additionally, studies have determined that the antioxidants and nutrients found in strawberries:
- Promote brain health,
- Protect against cancer,
- Help reduce the risk of dementia,
- Help reduce the risk of diabetes and,
- Help reduce the risk of heart disease.
If that's not enough to convince you to incorporate this delicious fruit into your diet, it has been determined by the Advisory Committee for the new Dietary Guidelines that the nutrients and antioxidants found in the strawberry are some of the same components missing in the average American diet. The strawberry, now labeled a superfood, fits the United States Department of Agriculture's new dietary guidelines for children. The new recommendation suggests approximately four cups of fruits and vegetables per child per day.
Sweet and juicy, the strawberry is actually low in sugar and the perfect addition to any meal. If a parent chooses strawberries for a child's meal or snack, rather than processed foods, that child will have a better chance of sidestepping obesity and the serious problems associated with it that is currently plaguing our youth today.