By Steve Blanchard
Will you be among the half a million expected to flood the annual Florida Strawberry Festival this year?
The festival March 1-11 in Plant City boasts big musical acts, livestock shows and carnival rides, but the real star is the strawberry. This super fruit is rich in folates, vitamin C and packed with antioxidants.
"Strawberries are full of plant chemicals known as phytonutrients such as flavonoids, anthocyanin and ellagitannins. All of these compounds exert a synergistic and cumulative effect on human health promotion and in disease prevention,” said Moffitt researcher Nagi Kumar. “Early studies have shown that these substances found in strawberries can reduce inflammation and protect the cells in our body, allowing them to grow and function normally. These anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits of strawberries are also important for cancer prevention."
Dr. Kumar suggests adding raw strawberries to your regular diet.
"Eating them raw lets your body benefit the most from their nutrients. You can also include them in smoothies, pair them with yogurt and milkshakes, or add them to salads with other dark, green, leafy vegetables," she adds.
Here are some of Dr. Kumar’s favorite strawberry recipes:
Very Berry & Spinach Salad
1 cup of sliced strawberries
1 cup blueberries
2 cups baby spinach
1/4 cup goat cheese or Feta
1/4 cup walnuts or pecans
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon honey
1/8 teaspoon each of garlic powder, pepper and salt
- Wash spinach and combine with strawberries and blueberries
- Garnish salad with feta or goat cheese crumbles
- Toss in the dressing just before serving
- Garnish with walnuts or pecans
Super Strawberry Smoothie
1 cup sliced strawberries
3/4 cup almond milk
2-3 cubes of crushed ice
Blend all ingredients together.