Healthy Pantru: Strawberries

By Lisa Turner

A bowl of this juicy, sweet fruit tastes too much like dessert to be such a nutrient-rich food, and yet new research shows strawberries may help prevent cardiovascular disease. “They are rich in anthocyanins, plant compounds that have a powerful anti-inflammatory effect,” says Shari Lieberman, author of The Real Vitamin and Mineral Book (Avery, 2007). “Anthocyanins scavenge free radicals that cause damage and inflammation in the blood vessels.” In a recent study, women who ate two or more servings of strawberries a week were 14 percent less likely to have elevated levels of C-reactive protein, a compound that signals the presence of inflammation.

Fresh, ripe strawberries taste great when sliced and drizzled with a high-quality balsamic vinegar. Or use them in this simple recipe:

Chilled Strawberry-Rosewater Soup With Crème Fraîche and Pistachios
Wash, stem, and chop 1 pound of fresh strawberries; combine with 1 tablespoon rosewater (available at international markets or most large grocers), 1/2 teaspoon salt, 2 tablespoons sugar, and 11/2 cups vanilla yogurt. Puree until smooth, adding low-fat milk as needed to desired consistency. Chill for four hours or overnight. Serve chilled and topped with a dollop of crème fraîche and finely chopped pistachios.