Strawberries…It’s what’s GOOD for you! Event Recap and Giveaway
Last week, I attended the Paint New York Red with California Strawberries event hosted by the California Strawberry Commission and travel/food blogger Carol Cain, aka New York City Mama. I met some industry people and tasted some refreshingly delicious food. More importantly, I learned some interesting facts about strawberrries that were so juicy, I felt compelled to share.
Before this event, strawberries to me were just the most wonderful fruit to eat. Now, I actually have a big appreciation for this wonderful fruit – and not just for its flavor.
*California grows 88% of the nation’s strawberries?
California strawberries are available all year long. In winter, strawberries ship from Southern California; production moves north with the warming spring temperatures. Volume peaks in April, May and June when production in all districts overlaps. Weekly volume averages five to six million trays from early April through mid July, and more than 50% of the crop is harvested after the first of June.
*Strawberries are nutrient dense; they are low in sugar (only 8 grams) and have only 50 calories per serving (1 cup or approximately 8 medium strawberries)?
David Grotto, RD, LDN and author of 101 Optimal Life Foods says that strawberries are a superfruit. According to Grotto:
Being nutritious is great, but what about the effect of those nutrients on health? Scores of studies exist that evaluate the health benefits of the nutrients found in strawberries.
• Potassium helps control blood pressure and fight stroke.
• Fiber helps control weight and relieve constipation.
• Vitamin C helps repair damage in the body and is an important nutrient in promoting a healthy immune system. This is especially important during cold and flu season. Folate is a B vitamin that fights birth defects and helps control the inflammatory process associated with heart disease.
The plant nutrients found in strawberries, particularly polyphenols, have antioxidant capabilities that can reduce inflammation and oxidative stress. These two harmful processes have been linked to major challenges to our health, including cancer, cardiovascular and neurological disease, arthritis, obesity, diabetes, autoimmune disorders and pulmonary disease. Polyphenols help protect and repair cells. Research on these and other nutrients found in strawberries have shown promise in various studies in:
• Improving cognitive decline,
• Reducing damage that leads to aging,
• Enhanced signaling between brain cells,
• Reducing total and LDL cholesterol and preventing the oxidation of LDL cholesterol,
• Reducing the requirement of insulin for glucose control, and
• Protecting DNA from harmful mutations.
And remember, frozen strawberries are just as nutritious as fresh ones. I know I love having frozen strawberries around (so convenient!) to make quick smoothies for my children – perfect for that healthy summertime treat!
Materials licensed under State of California guidelines – the strictest regulations in the world – are used only when needed. They are applied by certified professionals, and workers are not permitted into the fields until deemed safe by trained professionals.
To demonstrate how safe it is to eat any fruit or vegetable, even if a pesticide residue is present, the Alliance for Food and Farming reached out to Dr. Robert Krieger, head of the University of California, Riverside Personal Chemical Exposure Program. Dr. Krieger provided them with information on how much of 14 produce items a man, a woman or a child could eat and still not consume enough pesticide residues to reach a level where an adverse effect could be observed. For example, a woman can eat more than 2,000 strawberries a day without any effect even if the strawberries have the highest pesticide residue recorded for strawberries by the USDA.
For more information and to use the calculation tool to find out how many of a certain produce you can safely eat, please visit www.safefruitsandveggies.com.
I also heard George Chavez, owner of L&G Farms, say that he thinks non-organically grown strawberries are tastier than the organic ones (and they are more affordable, especially if you buy in such quantities like I do!) I suppose my point is that you should always do thorough research before you jump to conclusions about what media presents to you regarding your food choices.
On a side note, this man spoke with such great passion about his work, it’s hard not to appreciate every bite of strawberry I take from now on, well knowing the heart that’s gone into producing this wonderful fruit!
These are just a few key facts I took away from this event. I just love knowing how extra good strawberries are for me when I already love them and would have eaten them regardless. To learn more about strawberries, please visit www.calstrawberry.com. The only other thing I wish I could share with you is the food I tasted that night. Strawberry Muddle Cocktail, Strawberry Shortcake Sliders, Grilled Mahi Mahi Tacos with Strawberry Salsa, Strawberry Gazpacho…is your mouth watering yet?
Since I can’t share the actual food with you, I have the next best thing. I have a copy of Strawberry Recipes for Everyday by the California Strawberry Commission and 101 Optimal Life Foods by David Grotto, RD, LDN to give away to one lucky reader. I’m also including a strawberry pin and patch :)
This giveaway is only open to U.S. residents 18 years and older with a valid street address (please, no P.O. Box). Giveaway will end on Sunday, July 31, 2011 at 12:00pm EST – comments submitted after that will not count. One lucky winner will be selected randomly by random.org and be notified via e-mail; winner must respond within 48 hours or a new one will be selected. Good luck!
Disclosure: I received samples of these books as a gift for attending this event; no other compensation was received for this post/giveaway. All opinions expressed are my own.