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The tiny strawberry is packed with vitamin C, fiber, antioxidants, and more.

The heart-shaped silhouette of the strawberry is the first clue that this fruit is good for you. These potent little packages protect your heart, increase HDL (good) cholesterol, lower your blood pressure, and guard against cancer.

Packed with vitamins, fiber, and particularly high levels of antioxidants known as polyphenols, strawberries are a sodium-free, fat-free, cholesterol-free, low-calorie food. They are among the top 20 fruits in antioxidant capacity and are a good source of manganese and potassium. Just one serving -- about eight strawberries -- provides more vitamin C than an orange.

This member of the rose family isn’t really a fruit or a berry but the enlarged receptacle of the flower. Choose medium-sized berries that are firm, plump, and deep red; once picked, they don’t ripen further. First cultivated in ancient Rome, strawberries are now the most popular berry fruit in the world. In provincial France, they were regarded as an aphrodisiac. These red gems may be good for your heart in more ways than one.

Want other ways to get your vitamin C? Try brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, mango, papaya, red peppers, watermelon, and winter squash.

Strawberry Salad With Grilled Shrimp

Makes 4 servings

Salad:

2 cups baby spinach, rinsed and dried

2 cups arugula, rinsed and dried

2 cups strawberries (about 1 pt), hulled and sliced

2 oz crumbled goat cheese

3 tbsp pecans, toasted and chopped

2 small green onions, sliced

1 lb shrimp, cleaned and deveined

Dressing:

2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

1 tbsp honey mustard

1 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp fresh chopped basil

Pinch of salt and freshly ground pepper

  1. Combine all salad ingredients (except shrimp) in a large bowl. Toss gently.
  2. Make the dressing: Whisk the vinegar and mustard together in a small bowl; slowly whisk in olive oil. Add basil and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Grill the shrimp: Heat and oil an outdoor or stove-top grill. When hot, add shrimp and grill 3 to 4 minutes on each side until slightly charred and cooked through. Remove from heat.
  4. Divide salad among four plates. Arrange grilled shrimp on top.
  5. Drizzle dressing over each and serve.

Per serving: 251 calories, 23 g protein, 12.5 g carbohydrate, 12.8 g fat (4 g saturated fat), 177 mg cholesterol, 2.5 g fiber, 306 mg sodium. Calories from fat: 45%.

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