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Dublin: 11 °C Wednesday 3 June, 2020
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Strawberries are not only delicious, they can maintain and boost your own gorgeousness

While we eat them as sweet treats they don’t need to be guilty pleasures.

Fiann Ó Nualláin

A PART OF what makes strawberries look so delicious is their juicy redness, a colour normally a danger sign in other plants with fruits, but here it is a real advantage. Those plant pigments known as anthocyanins can help protect us from sunburn. Eating them boosts our inherent SPF and the juice works to repair skin of UV damage.

While we eat them as sweet treats they don’t need to be guilty pleasures as they actually help clean teeth and strengthen gums. Not only that but strawberries are full of flavonoid phyto-chemicals that fight inflammatory conditions, one such known as ellagic acid is under scientific study against cancer and neurological diseases – so as a health agent they are amazing.

Strawberry season 

The first week of summer is strawberry week with many promos and deals on punnets but strawberries are the summer fruit of choice for all of summer for many households for Sunday desserts and morning slices on cereal, but they also make the perfect choice for a healthy snack on the go or if you are dining al-desko. Real strawberries in natural yoghurt is my personal favourite (or choc dipped) but no smoothie is worth its salt without this berry.

The great thing is that local, fresh and tasty strawberries provide a brilliant source of Vitamin C (100 g provide 58.8 mg or about 98% of RDA) which boost our immune system to better fight infectious agents. The Vitamin C and phytochemical content in strawberries help scavenge harmful free radicals that trigger ageing and illness, while the quercetin in strawberries also helps slow the ageing process – it too mops up free radical damage within our system. Strawberries are a real superfood but it’s the non-culinary application that I absolutely love.

A mashed-up mask or slices of strawberries are not only a great natural way to replenish tired and dry skin but also as a general beauty aid to promote cellular regeneration of skin. These tasty fruits actually contain alpha-hydroxy acids (AHA), which are a natural exfoliant but also have anti-inflammatory properties to soothe your skin post-exfoliation.

Great for health and beauty 

That Vitamin C in the juice and flesh of strawberries acts as a topical treatment for sunburn and skin blemishes – it also actions as a powerful antioxidant helpful in delaying wrinkle formation. Strawberries contain Vitamin A and Vitamin E which keep skin youthful but also their content of lutein, zea-xanthin, and beta-carotene can be found in in face creams that target reactive oxygen molecules that play a role in skin ageing and so boost skin vitality naturally

Strawberries are bursting with two particular flavonoid phyto-chemicals known as anthocyanins and ellagic acid – both of which lower inflammation in the body when eaten but, like cucumber slices, they are great for lying over puffy eyes and treating UV damage as well. There are a lot of advantages in using this berry in your beauty regimen – not only is it highly effective (so much so that cosmetic companies are appropriating its chemistry) but paraben free, while lower carbon miles go a long way to make it the reach-to item in the supermarket.

Finally, strawberry whitening: the fruit acids contained in strawberries, not least malic acid, act as powerful tooth whiteners by lifting stubborn stains off the surface of tooth enamel. Many fruits have these acids, including apples, grapes, etc., but strawberries are also packed with Vitamin C, which actively clears away plaque. So strawberries offer a double hit of delicious dentistry.

Method 1: Eat a few strawberries at the close of a meal or for breakfast.

Method 2: Simply slice a strawberry and rub it over your teeth.

And there you have it! Strawberries are not only delicious they can maintain and boost your own gorgeousness.

Fiann Ó Nualláin is an advocate of gardening for health with a background in horticulture, nutrition, naturopathy and ethnobotany. His new book, The Holistic Gardener, published by Mercier Press, is available to buy now. 

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Fiann Ó Nualláin

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