Don’t trash those strawberry leaves! Here’s the key to better health

When you think of strawberries, it’s likely the juicy, red fruit that comes to mind, not the green leafy plants. However, those often discarded leaves, known as the calyx, are a treasure trove of health benefits that shouldn’t be overlooked [1].

According to Dr Karan Rajan, a well-known NHS surgeon and popular TikTok content creator, strawberry leaves are surprisingly nutritious. These leaves are loaded with antioxidants, which help combat oxidative stress and inflammation in the body.

They also contain a significant amount of Vitamin C – almost as much as the fruit itself – and are rich in fiber and essential minerals like magnesium.

Strawberry leaves’ antioxidant properties play a crucial role in maintaining overall health. Antioxidants help neutralize free radicals, unstable molecules that can damage cells and contribute to aging and diseases, including cancer.

Vitamin C, known for boosting the immune system, is vital for skin health, wound healing and iron absorption from plant-based foods. Fiber aids in digestion, helps maintain a healthy weight and lowers the risk of heart disease.

Magnesium supports muscle and nerve function, regulates blood sugar levels and is essential for producing protein, bone and DNA.

While it might seem odd to eat strawberry leaves, they can be incorporated into your diet in several delicious ways:

  • Strawberry vinegar: Infuse vinegar with strawberry tops for a unique flavor that can be used in dressings and marinades [2].
  • Strawberry syrup: Simmer strawberry tops with sugar and water to create syrup for pancakes, desserts or cocktails.
  • Herbal tea: Brew the leaves into a tea, which can be enjoyed hot or cold. This tea not only tastes good but also provides health benefits.
  • Salsa: Chop the leaves finely and mix them into homemade salsa for a fresh twist.

In addition to the benefits of the leaves, strawberries themselves are packed with health advantages. Consuming strawberries regularly has been linked to improved cognitive function, lower blood pressure and higher antioxidant levels [3].

They are also associated with a reduced risk of chronic diseases, including heart disease and cancer. The presence of anthocyanins, potent antioxidants, gives strawberries a red color and contributes to these health benefits.

Several studies have highlighted the health benefits of strawberries. Research suggests that eating strawberries daily can enhance brain function, thanks to their high antioxidant content.

Strawberries can also help manage hypertension by promoting blood vessel relaxation and improving circulation. Additionally, their anti-inflammatory properties can help reduce the risk of various inflammatory conditions.

The next time you enjoy strawberries, think twice before tossing the tops. Embrace the nutritional benefits of strawberry leaves by incorporating them into your diet. Not only will you reduce waste, but you’ll also be adding a boost of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals to your meals. So, give these green gems a try and reap their health rewards.

Read the full article on HuffPost UK here for more information.

[1] https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/the-crucial-health-reason-behind-why-you-shouldnt-throw-out-strawberry-leaves_uk_664f4c05e4b058247fa1cb63
[2] https://modernveganguide.com.au/strawberry-top-vinegar/
[3] https://www.news-medical.net/news/20230724/Consuming-strawberries-may-promote-cognitive-function-and-improve-cardiovascular-risk-factors.aspx

Photograph: oizostudios/Envato
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