Strawberries Are Nutritious Low-Carb Fruits

Sweet berries are one of the fruits lowest in sugar

Full Frame Shot Of Strawberries
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Strawberries are highly nutritious, and they are one of the fruits that are the lowest in sugar. Berries, including strawberries, are among one of your best choices of fruit on a low-carb diet.

History of the Strawberry

The strawberry fruit, scientifically classified as Fragaria, has been mentioned in ancient Roman literature in reference to its medicinal use. The strawberries you eat today are called garden strawberries and they were a hybrid grown in Brittany, France, during the late 18th century.

Prior to garden strawberries, wild strawberries and cultivated selections from wild strawberry species were the common sources of the fruit.

Carbohydrate and Fiber Counts for Strawberries

In addition to being consumed fresh, you can freeze strawberries, make them into preserves, as well as dry them or eat them in prepared foods, such as cereal bars. Strawberries are a popular addition to ice cream, smoothies, milkshakes, and yogurts.

Strawberry quantityCarbs, fiber, and calorie counts
½ cup sliced strawberries5 grams net carbs, 1.5 grams fiber, 26 calories
1 large (1.5-inch in diameter) strawberry1 gram of net carbs, 0.5 grams fiber, 6 calories

 

Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load for Strawberries

The glycemic index of a food is an indicator of how much and how fast a food raises your blood sugar. One study of strawberries had an average glycemic index of 40.

The glycemic load of a food is related to the glycemic index but takes serving size into account.

A glycemic load of one is the equivalent of eating 1 gram of glucose. 

Glycemic load of strawberries
1/2 cup of sliced strawberries: 1.5
1 large (1.5-inch diameter) strawberry: 0

Health Benefits of Strawberries

Strawberries are an excellent source of vitamin C and a very good source of manganese. They also contain relatively large amounts of phytonutrients, especially anthocyanins and others which may help protect your cells from damage.

Strawberries have been rated as one of the fruits highest in antioxidants, and there is some evidence of the reduction of cancer risk from strawberries. 

Selection and Storage of Strawberries

Pay attention to the ripeness of the strawberries you buy. Not only does a perfectly ripe strawberry have the best flavor, but it also contains more nutrients than strawberries that are not quite ripe, as well as those that are past their prime. Although you can now buy fresh strawberries year-round, they are much better when you can get them locally and in-season, as strawberries that have to be shipped long distances are often under-ripe and have a somewhat woody texture. Frozen strawberries that were picked in their prime are probably preferable to fresh ones that have traveled hundreds or thousands of miles in their cartons.

Look for strawberries that are red all the way to the stem end. Avoid berries that have whitish or green areas or are damaged in any way. If you are buying them in a clear plastic container, be sure to look at the berries on the bottom, as it is a common trick to put the less-ripe berries there. Make sure there are no signs of leaking juice or mold on the berries.

When you get your strawberries home, take them out of the container and make sure there were no damaged ones hiding inside, as this will quickly contaminate the rest of them.

Store in the refrigerator, and do not wash them until right before you are going to use them. If you are not going to be able to use them before they go bad, put them in a plastic bag in the freezer.

Low-Carb Recipes With Strawberries

Sources

  • Leroux, MarcusFoster-Powell, Kaye, Holt, Susanna and Brand-Miller, Janette. "International table of glycemic index and glycemic load values: 2002." American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Vol. 76, No. 1, 5-56, (2002).
  • Seeram, NP. "Berry fruits for cancer prevention: current status and future prospects.." Journal of agricultural and food chemistry. 56(3):630-5. (2008).
  • United States Department of Agriculture National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 28.
  • United States Department of Agriculture. "Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC) of Selected Foods, Release 2. May 2010.

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