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EAT: STRAWBERRIES - A LOVE STORY

Pop quiz! What is Fragaria Ananassa?

A) A magic spell

B) The name of a high end designer

C) The Latin name for strawberry

D) An elusive Himalayan bear-like animal

If you guessed C, you are correct. Fragaria Ananassa is the Latin name for our Fruit of the Month, the strawberry. The strawberry that we know and love today has a fascinating history—a tale of adventure and love. Well, that may be a bit dramatic, but it did involve New World explorers and the joining of male and female strawberries of two different varieties.

Around 1500, European explorers brought a male variant of the strawberry back from Virginia to France. This strawberry was a larger and more deeply red berry. Around 200 years later, another strawberry, a female variant from Chile, arrived from France. Once horticulturalists planted both variants next to each other, the male plant pollinated the female plant and the Fragaria Ananassa was born! They (and we) all lived happily ever after.

Not only do strawberries have interesting origins, they’re also tasty and packed with vitamins. One cup of fresh strawberries makes a great, fat-free, 55-calories, vitamin C and folate packed snack. Even better, research shows that strawberries have powerful anti-disease qualities in the form of components called phytochemicals and phenol compounds.

  • Phytochemicals: phytochemicals may help prevent cancer by blocking the action of cancer-causing substances on organs and tissues.
  • Phenol compounds: these compounds have strong anti-oxidant qualities that may lower the risk of heart disease, suppress inflammation, and benefit the aging brain.