The surprising benefits of eating strawberry leaves
Ruby-colored strawberries are in high demand by health-conscious people. Commonly classified as a summer fruit, the fleshy fruit is tasty, refreshing and packed with vitamins and minerals. You can undoubtedly prepare a medley of strawberry-inspired desserts, savory dishes, and drinks with the fruit and strawberry leaves too!
How about strawberry leaves? Did you know the leaves are edible and as nutritious as their fruit? Strawberry leaves are loaded with vitamins and have health benefits too. They reduce inflammation and ease discomforts like stomach aches and arthritis pain.
Curious to know more about these underrated nutritious leaves? Read on, and you will be amazed!
Can you eat strawberry leaves?
Like its fruit, strawberry leaves are eaten and have many medicinal and health benefits. Strawberry leaves were used in folk medicine several centuries ago.
Strawberry leaves contain tannins, which can help ease upset stomachs or bloating. Research from the University of Maryland Medical Center shows that the leaves contain significant amounts of vitamin C, calcium, iron, and other minerals.
Vitamin C strengthens the immune system, helps make skin and hair healthy, and prevents colds and other viral diseases. Calcium, on the other hand, helps in bone tissue development.
In addition, the mineral content in the strawberry tops helps cleanse blood vessels and lower blood cholesterol. In addition, strawberry leaves have anti-microbial properties.
While eating dried or fresh strawberry leaves are safe, some people may experience allergic reactions and specific side effects. Allergic reactions vary from experiencing itchiness, hives, and lightheadedness to anaphylaxis.
Benefits of Eating Strawberry Leaves
We’ve highlighted several benefits of eating these nutrient-rich leaves, as follows:
1. Improves heart health
Strawberries and berries, in general, contain polyphenols like anthocyanins, which are organic compounds that reduce the risk of heart complications. Interestingly, strawberry leaves contain more polyphenols than their fruit. The next time you make a strawberry smoothie, add the leaves for a healthier heart.
2. Helps lower blood sugar
Good news for those with type 2 diabetes: strawberry leaves help reduce blood sugar levels.
Clinical trials have found evidence that significant polyphenolic compounds in strawberry leaves could help decrease blood glucose levels in rat subjects.
The results from these clinical trials are promising. However, human trials are needed for further studies.
3. Helps reduce oxidative stress
Strawberry leaves contain a high level of antioxidants that help reduce free radicals that cause oxidative stress.
4. Helps boost your immune system
The vitamin C content in the leaves helps increase the body’s immune system. The combo of vitamin C and polyphenols further strengthens its defenses. As a result, the immune system can prevent various infections and viral diseases.
5. Strawberry leaves might have anti-microbial properties.
Did you know that these leaves may have antimicrobial properties? They help wounds heal faster, treat burns, and prevent the appearance of scars.
The tannin content in the leaves helps keep the stomach and intestines healthy. In addition, it helps eliminate heavy metals from the body.
And since ancient times, the leaves have been used for medicinal purposes to treat ailments ranging from tonsillitis, kidney problems, and gall bladder problems to help alleviate stomach pain and ulcers.
Ways to use strawberry tops and leaves in cooking
More than just making tea, there are various ways to use these vitamin-enriched leaves and gain health benefits. Scroll down and try some yourself!
1. Enjoy strawberry-infused water
Feel fancy without going to the spa for that delicious fruity water drink. Enjoy fruit-infused water at your very home. Add strawberry leaves to a glass jar or pitcher, fill it with water, and let it sit for an hour. Once done, you can sip while watching the sunset or Netflix shows!
2. Have strawberry tea for two
Having herbal tea has soothing effects on the body and mind. Don’t worry if you don’t have jasmine, chamomile, or green tea. Make your herbal tea with strawberry leaves and get a healthy boost. You can dry the leaves in an oven. Heat the oven to 90 degrees for close to an hour.
You can also dry the leaves ‘naturally’ with fresh air, away from sunlight. However, it will take much longer.
To make your tea, use dried or fresh strawberry leaves. Add boiled water and let it steep for a couple of minutes, according to your preference. You may also put in some honey if you wish. Enjoy the mild, fruity flavor.
Moreover, you can also flavor kombucha (sweetened black tea) by adding strawberry tops to it. Enjoy a strawberry-infused kombucha drink.
3. Strawberry-flavored choco drink
Turn them into ice cubes if you have leftover strawberry leaf tea. Once ready, pour ice cubes into mugs of hot chocolate. Add marshmallows for a warm and hearty drink!
4. Toss strawberry leaves into a salad
Want something light and fresh to brighten up your salad? Add fresh strawberry leaves. The leaves have a light flavor and are not at all overpowering. Lightly cut the fresh leaves and mix them with your favorite greens and dressing. They add a grassy and fruity edge to your salad dish.
5. Make a refreshing and nutritious smoothie
Who doesn’t like the classic strawberry smoothie? Strawberry smoothies are always delightful; you can have them in summer and any day. When you prepare your smoothie, instead of just using the fruit, include the leaves too.
You may also add dried leaf extract if you wish. With the strawberry leaves intact, you get a more significant dose of health benefits and refreshing goodness! To add a twist to your smoothie, add kale and spinach too.
6. Add them to your favorite cocktails
Have a taste of ‘summer’ with your favorite mojito or strawberry daiquiri by adding strawberry leaves. They make these drinks extra delightful to take.
In addition, you can have strawberry-infused vodka, rum, or gin for a weekend party. How? Add your favorite liquor of choice to strawberry leaves and let it sit for two days. Afterward, strain the liquid and shake it like a summer cocktail. You will love the sweet strawberry scent too!
7. Fancify strawberry-infused vinegar
Add a ‘gourmet’ twist to your ordinary vinegar. Cover strawberry leaves with vinegar. You can also use white or red wine and balsamic vinegar. Let it sit for an hour. Infused vinegar is perfect for salad dressings and sauces.
Strawberry leaves are extraordinary! They are healthy, nutritious, and delightful as their fruit. Don’t throw them away the next time you see them in your fruit basket. Store them, and you can put them to good use. Make a refreshing tea or salad and share them with your friends!