by Julie Smith

strawberries1Stop by any of the green markets around the 5 boroughs and you will notice that the produce season has truly kicked off in a rainbow of colors.  Among my favorite for June is the strawberry.   Red, delicious, and juicy, strawberries are one of the healthiest fruits you can include in your diet. Strawberries are packed with antioxidants and other essential nutrients that can help you reduce your risk of cancer, heart disease, and inflammatory diseases – all with little impact to your waistline. Here are just a few reasons to pick up a pint or two of strawberries at your local market.

•    According to the California Strawberry Commission, a serving of strawberries (about 8 strawberries) provides 160 percent of the recommended daily intake for vitamin C. Vitamin C has been associated with reduced rates of stomach, cervical, breast and non-hormone-dependent cancers.

•    Strawberries are in the fruit group with the highest antioxidant values.  The flavonoids, such as anthocyanins, quercetin and kaempferol, exhibit antioxidant properties that have been proven beneficial in suppressing cancer cells.

•    Strawberries are also heart healthy.  The heart-health benefits of strawberries are attributed to their high levels of key nutrients – Vitamin C, Folate, Fiber and Potassium.

Try this 5 minute smoothie recipe to kick start your day or give yourself a much needed break. The smoothie can be made with or without dairy and includes some oatmeal for added fiber.  If oatmeal isn’t for you, simply omit from the recipe:

Ingredients:

1 cup of milk or any non-dairy substitute of your choice (almond, rice, hemp, soy, etc)
1/2 cup rolled oats
1 banana, broken into chunks
14 frozen strawberries (add ice if desired)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Blend for 45 seconds then enjoy!

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