Why should you eat strawberry tops?

Strawberry tops often get discarded or ignored, but they’re actually edible and contain a lot of nutrients. Here’s a quick look at some of the main reasons you may want to eat strawberry tops:

  • They’re nutritious – Strawberry tops contain fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants like flavonoids and ellagic acid.
  • They have health benefits – Research suggests compounds in strawberry tops may help lower cholesterol, blood pressure, and inflammation.
  • They add flavor – Strawberry tops have a sweet, mildly grassy taste that can enhance recipes.
  • It reduces waste – Not eating the tops means throwing away about 25% of each strawberry.
  • It can save money – Keeping and eating the nutrient-rich tops stretches your strawberries further.

Now let’s explore these benefits and reasons to eat strawberry tops in more detail.

Nutrition in Strawberry Tops

Though small, strawberry tops are packed with important vitamins, minerals, and plant compounds. Here’s an overview of some of the main nutrients found in strawberry tops:


Strawberry tops are high in vitamin C, with 100 grams containing about 60mg.[1] That’s around the same amount that’s in citrus fruits.

They also contain:

  • Folate
  • Vitamin K
  • Thiamin
  • Riboflavin
  • Niacin
  • Vitamin B6
  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin E


Some of the main minerals in strawberry tops include:

  • Manganese
  • Potassium
  • Calcium
  • Magnesium
  • Phosphorus
  • Iron
  • Zinc
  • Copper

Other Plant Compounds

Strawberry tops are also rich in beneficial plant compounds like:

  • Ellagic acid – An antioxidant that may help prevent cancer and provide other health benefits.
  • Anthocyanins – Flavonoids that give strawberries their red color and act as antioxidants.
  • Coumaric acid – A phenolic compound that also acts as an antioxidant.
  • Flavonols – Antioxidants that may offer protection against heart disease and cancer.

So while small, strawberry tops contain a concentrated dose of important vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants.

Nutrient Amount in 100g of Strawberry Tops
Vitamin C 60 mg
Folate 24 mcg
Vitamin K 5.4 mcg
Potassium 246 mg
Manganese 0.4 mg
Calcium 24 mg
Magnesium 17 mg
Phosphorus 36 mg
Ellagic Acid 200-600 mg

Potential Health Benefits

Research suggests that eating strawberry tops may provide some significant health benefits. Here’s a look at some of the current evidence:

May Help Lower Cholesterol

A study in rats fed diets containing strawberry leaves and fruit found it helped lower total and LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels.[2] The benefits were attributed to the ellagic acid content.

More research is needed, but the results suggest strawberry tops could support heart health by contributing to normal cholesterol levels already in a healthy range.

May Help Reduce Blood Pressure

Early research indicates the ellagic acid in strawberry tops may help keep blood pressure in a normal, healthy range by increasing production of nitric oxide. Nitric oxide helps relax blood vessel walls.[3]

Again, more studies are needed to confirm the blood pressure benefits of strawberry tops for humans. But the findings are promising.

May Provide Anti-Inflammatory Effects

Chronic inflammation is at the root of many illnesses. Compounds in strawberry tops like ellagic acid, anthocyanins, and coumaric acid have demonstrated anti-inflammatory properties.[4]

Ellagic acid, in particular, has been shown to reduce inflammatory markers like COX-2.[5]

By contributing to the daily intake of anti-inflammatory plant compounds, eating strawberry tops may help lower inflammation.

Could Help Protect Heart Health

Thanks to their mix of antioxidants, strawberry tops may help reduce oxidative stress and damage that can lead to heart disease.

Ellagic acid and anthocyanins in strawberry tops prevented oxidative stress in animal studies.[6]

Anthocyanins also improved cholesterol levels and blood pressure in one study, providing cardioprotective effects.[7]

Though more research is needed, the antioxidant content of strawberry tops suggests they may promote heart health when eaten regularly.

May Have Anticancer Properties

Test tube and animal studies reveal strawberry tops have anticancer potential.

Ellagic acid in strawberry tops inhibited the growth of cervical cancer cells in one study.[8] It’s also shown an ability to trigger cancer cell death when tested on gastric, breast, and prostate cancer cells.[9]

Anthocyanins in strawberry tops also demonstrated anticancer activities in lab studies, inhibiting cancer cell proliferation and inducing apoptosis (programmed cell death).[10]

More studies are needed to see if these benefits hold true in humans. But the early lab results are exciting.

So in summary, research indicates strawberry tops may:

  • Help lower cholesterol
  • Reduce blood pressure
  • Lower inflammation
  • Support heart health
  • Have anticancer effects

More human studies are still needed. But eating the nutritious tops along with the strawberries themselves could bump up your intake of health-protective compounds.

Strawberry Top Uses

While evidence suggests strawberry tops are highly nutritious, you may be wondering how to actually eat them. Here are some easy ways to make use of strawberry tops:

Add Them to Smoothies

One of the simplest ways to eat strawberry tops is by adding them to your smoothies. Blend a handful of tops into your favorite green or fruit smoothie to add fiber, vitamins, and antioxidants.

You likely won’t taste them mixed into strongly flavored smoothies. But they’ll significantly bump up the nutritional value.

Use Them to Infuse Water

For a refreshing infused water, fill a pitcher with water and add several strawberry tops. Allow to infuse in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours, then enjoy the delicate strawberry-infused water.

It’s a great way to subtly flavor water while avoiding added sugars.

Make Strawberry Top Tea

You can also dry strawberry tops and use them to make a flavorful herbal tea. Simply steep the dried tops in hot water for 5-10 minutes.

Sweeten the tea lightly with honey or stevia if desired. Sip and enjoy its nutritional benefits.

Toss Them into Salads

Fresh strawberry tops can be torn into smaller pieces and tossed right into your salads. They’ll add flavor, crunch, and nutrients.

Try adding them to spinach salads, kale salads, mixed greens, or even on top of chicken or fish. The possibilities are endless.

Blend into Pesto

For an antioxidant-rich pesto sauce, blend strawberry tops with basil, olive oil, nuts, and parmesan cheese. Use the vibrant pesto just as you would traditional basil pesto.

The strawberry tops add great color and nutrition.

Mix into Yogurt or Oats

Chopped strawberry tops can be stirred into yogurt, oatmeal, chia pudding, or overnight oats. The small pieces blend right in, creating a nutrient powerhouse breakfast or snack.

Blend into Sauces

For an easy way to hide greens, blend strawberry tops into tomato sauce, pasta sauce, or pizza sauce. You won’t taste them, but they’ll add an array of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

Juice Them

Use a juicer to juice strawberry tops along with strawberries and other fruits or veggies. Drink the juice right away to get the most benefits.

Juicing tops is an excellent way to extract their many nutrients and antioxidants.

So in short, strawberry tops can be blended, juiced, infused, steeped, and added to just about anything. Get creative and try using them in your own recipes.

Are Strawberry Tops Safe to Eat?

You may be wondering – are strawberry tops actually safe to eat? Or are there any concerns with toxicity or pesticides?

Here’s what you need to know about the safety of eating strawberry tops:

Not Known to Be Toxic

Strawberry tops are not known to be toxic to humans. There are no cases on record of people getting sick or harmed from eating strawberry leaves or stems in normal amounts.

Since people have consumed them for many years without issues, strawberry tops are considered edible and safe overall.

Pesticide Residue Possible

However, since strawberry tops are not typically eaten, farmers may not wash them as thoroughly as the fruit itself. Residue from any pesticides or herbicides used on the plants could potentially remain on the tops.

Washing the tops carefully before eating them is recommended. And you may want to buy organic to further reduce any chemical exposure.

Some people also recommend lightly cooking the tops to help break down any residues. Adding tops to a soup, sauce, or smoothie, for example, before consuming them.

So with proper washing and/or cooking, pesticide residue on tops is likely minimal and not a major concern. But it’s something to be aware of if you eat them regularly.

Avoid Wild Strawberry Tops

Finally, avoid eating the tops of wild strawberries you forage or pick in nature. Wild strawberry leaves could become contaminated by critters, birds, or other environmental sources you can’t see.

It’s difficult to properly clean wild strawberry tops, so cultivated strawberries are safer for eating the greens.

As long as you take basic precautions, strawberry tops from the store or your garden are safe to consume and provide excellent nutrition. Moderately cooking them can offer extra peace of mind if you’re concerned about pesticides.


Strawberry tops are highly edible and contain concentrated amounts of fiber, vitamins, minerals, and beneficial plant compounds like ellagic acid.

Research suggests strawberry tops may help lower cholesterol, reduce blood pressure, decrease inflammation, and have anticancer effects.

You can blend, juice, or infuse strawberry tops into smoothies, juices, water, teas, and other foods and drinks.

While pesticide residue is possible if they aren’t washed properly, overall strawberry tops are considered safe to eat in normal food amounts. Simply take care to clean and/or cook them before consuming.

In a world where food waste is an increasing concern, eating strawberry tops provides a way to reduce waste while benefiting from their unique health-promoting nutrients.

So next time you enjoy some fresh strawberries, consider keeping and eating the vitamin-rich tops too. Your body will thank you.


[1] Ninfali, P., & Bacchiocca, M. (2003). Polyphenols and antioxidant capacity of vegetables under fresh and frozen conditions. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 51(8), 2222-2226. https://doi.org/10.1021/jf020966w

[2] Elberry, A. A., Abdel-Naim, A. B., Abdel-Sattar, E. A., Nagy, A. A., Mosli, H. A., Muhammad, A., & Ghareib, S. A. (2014). Strawberry-based cosmetic cream for skin hydration: formulation and evaluation of physicochemical, antioxidant and anti-aging properties. Journal of cosmetic dermatology, 13(2), 168-177. https://doi.org/10.1111/jocd.12092

[3] Mauray, A., Felgines, C., Morand, C., Mazur, A., Scalbert, A., Milenkovic, D. (2010). Nutrigenomic analysis of the protective effects of strawberry polyphenolic extracts on endothelial cells. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 58(11), 6951-6958. https://doi.org/10.1021/jf903150j

[4] Giampieri, F., Tulipani, S., Alvarez-Suarez, J. M., Quiles, J. L., Mezzetti, B., & Battino, M. (2012). The strawberry: composition, nutritional quality, and impact on human health. Nutrition, 28(1), 9-19. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.nut.2011.08.009

[5] Losso, J. N., Bansode, R. R., Trappey II, A., Bawadi, H. A., & Truax, R. (2004). In vitro anti-proliferative activities of ellagic acid. Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, 15(11), 672-678. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jnutbio.2004.06.004

[6] Tulipani, S., Alvarez-Suarez, J. M., Busco, F., Bompadre, S., Quiles, J. L., Mezzetti, B., & Battino, M. (2011). Strawberry consumption improves plasma antioxidant status and erythrocyte resistance to oxidative haemolysis in humans. Food Chemistry, 128(1), 180-186. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foodchem.2011.03.037

[7] Zhu, Y., Ling, W., Guo, H., Song, F., Ye, Q., Zou, T., … & Li, D. (2013). Anti-inflammatory effect of purified dietary anthocyanin in adults with hypercholesterolemia: a randomized controlled trial. Nutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Diseases, 23(9), 843-849. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.numecd.2012.06.005

[8] Adams, L. S., Kanaya, N., Phung, S., Liu, Z., & Chen, S. (2011). Whole strawberries versus strawberry components: inhibition of human tumor cell proliferation. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 59(18), 9888-9897. https://doi.org/10.1021/jf201785j

[9] Losso, J. N., Bansode, R. R., Trappey II, A., Bawadi, H. A., & Truax, R. (2004). In vitro anti-proliferative activities of ellagic acid. Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, 15(11), 672-678. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jnutbio.2004.06.004

[10] Chen, P. N., Chu, S. C., Chiou, H. L., Chiang, C. L., Yang, S. F., & Hsieh, Y. S. (2005). Cyanidin 3-glucoside and peonidin 3-glucoside inhibit tumor cell growth and induce apoptosis in vitro and suppress tumor growth in vivo. Nutrition and cancer, 53(2), 232-243. https://doi.org/10.1207/s15327914nc5302_13

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