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Strawberries

You really can't get too many strawberries in your diet. Here's why.

Few fruits can match the mass appeal of strawberries. A refreshing summer snack on their own, strawberries are also a popular ingredient in many dishes, drinks and desserts. As one of "the favorite fruits of people around the world," notes Katherine Tallmadge, a nutrition author and registered dietitian at聽, strawberries are an essential ingredient in fruit tarts, smoothies,聽strawberry shortcake, flavored lemonade, yogurt parfaits and daiquiris.

Even strawberry-flavored candy is popular, as evidenced by pink strawberry Starbursts being聽.听

All of this is good news for strawberry farmers and distributors, of course, but it's also a plus for frequent consumers of the fruit who experience a host of health benefits from eating them.

Are strawberries good for you?聽

The first thing to know is that strawberries are loaded with plenty of nutrients the body needs. "They are packed with antioxidants and vitamins," notes Abby Langer, a clinical nutritionist, registered dietitian and founder of聽.听

Tallmadge explains that these antioxidants help reduce oxidation and inflammation, "which improves your immunity to infections and diseases and promotes an increase in longevity." She also praises the 3 grams of dietary fiber found in each cup of the fruit. "The 200 seeds on each strawberry are their major source of fiber," she says, "but pectin is another type of fiber found in strawberries that has health benefits."听

This is the type of fiber that helps you "feel fuller longer, and it also feeds the good bacteria in your gut," says Langer. This is partly why strawberries have聽聽to aid with appetite control. "The slowing of digestion also helps regulate blood glucose levels and lowers cholesterol," adds Tallmadge.

In addition to their antioxidant and dietary fiber content, the 聽(USDA) shows that strawberries contain protein, calcium, vitamin A, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, niacin, folate and that they are an excellent source of potassium, "which helps keep blood pressure under control and reduces your risk of stroke," explains Tallmadge.听

Perhaps most impressive of all, "one cup of strawberries has around 85 milligrams of vitamin C - about a full day鈥檚 needed supply," says聽Jill Weisenberger, MS, RDN, a Virginia-based registered dietician and author of "." "They鈥檙e also very high in聽quercetin - one of the flavonoids important in heart health," she adds.听

If that's not enough, Langer praises the fruit for also being "mostly water - so they're very hydrating."

How many calories in strawberries?聽

As with any other food, the portion size of each strawberry determines how many calories it contains. The USDA聽聽that a small strawberry that's about an inch in diameter contains slightly more than 2 calories. A medium one has about 4 calories and larger ones that are over 1.5 inches in diameter have between 6-9 calories apiece. Put another way, "one cup of strawberries has about 46 calories," says Weisenberger.听

Along with being low in calories, strawberries are also low in carbohydrates, and, like most fruits, are fat-free. And strawberries are lower in sugar than most fruits. One cup of halved strawberries has about 7 grams of sugar, whereas a cup of cherries has 13, a cup of grapes has 15, a large banana has 16, a medium apple has 19, and one mango has a whopping 46 grams of natural sugar.听

Is it OK to eat strawberries every day?

With so many upsides, some wonder if it's okay to eat strawberries every day. While it's important to always maintain a well-balanced diet, "there are no downsides to eating strawberries often," says Langer, "unless, of course, you're allergic to them."听

For those looking for ways to include more of the fruit in their diet, Weisenberger suggests including them as a topping on yogurt, cereal or cottage聽cheese. She also says they are great layered into sandwiches. "Try sliced strawberries in a panini - so delicious." For dessert, she says one can enjoy a bowl of strawberries with a dollop of ice cream or frozen yogurt. "Or dip them into melted chocolate on special occasions," she suggests.听

One way to avoid the extra calories and added sugars contained in strawberry jam is to "instead use fresh strawberries" to go along with peanut butter on classic PB&Js, suggests Langer.

Tallmadge similarly appreciates getting creative with the fruit, but notes that the "simplest way to add strawberries to your diet is to enjoy them all by themselves."听

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