Strawberries – the fruit of love!

The ideal fruit for Valentine’s Day is definitely the strawberry. Not only is a strawberry the colour of love, in the shape of a heart - it is also good for your heart. Researchers in the US discovered that people who ate strawberries (and other fruits coloured red, purple, or blue ) had a lower risk of heart disease. So what has the humble strawberry got that can have this positive effect?

Apart from tasting great these small fruits are bursting with goodness. Eight medium strawberries (80-100g ), that’s one portion on the Food Pyramid, contain just 30 kcals – about the same as half a plain biscuit.

As with all brightly coloured fruit, a portion of strawberries is bursting with vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant that is not only good for your heart but is also linked to reducing your risk of cancer, and preventing colds and infections, among other things.

Like all fruits, strawberries are a great source of fibre. But watch out for what you add to you strawberries - the traditional topping of whipped cream or ice cream can add a whopping 60-110 kcals per dessert spoon.

So, here are some delicious and healthier ways to eat strawberries:

Chopped and added to your breakfast cereal.

Blend with other fruits, with some low fat yoghurt or fruit juice to make your own tasty smoothies.

They make a tasty and unusual addition to a green salad.

Threaded on a kebab skewer with pineapple, kiwi, or any other of your favourite fruits.

Layer sliced strawberries, whole blueberries, and plain yogurt in a wine glass to make a parfait dessert.

Or just for Valentines – serve them nude!

By Cara Cunningham, community dietitian. For more information on diet and nutrition, please contact the Community Nutrition and Dietetic Service, HSE Dublin-Mid Leinster on (044 ) 9395518 or email [email protected].

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