If the current crisis has got you down, here's a spot of brighter news – the recent warm and sunny weather means strawberry season has begun a little early this year, and homegrown strawbs are now on sale.
And while you'll probably already know strawberries are both delicious and good for you, here are a few things you may not know about our favourite summer fruit…
1. A portion of strawberries contains more vitamin C than an orange
"Strawberries provide a daily vitamin C boost, and in fact, contain more vitamin C than oranges," says Dr Emma Derbyshire, British Summer Fruits public health nutritionist. "Just seven strawberries (80g – a portion) provide the recommended daily amount of vitamin C, which contributes to the normal function of the immune system, along with the reduction of tiredness and fatigue."
And their health-giving properties are nothing new – ancient Romans used strawberries to treat everything from depression to fever and sore throats.
2. They do not make a good alternative to professional teeth whitening – whatever you might have heard
There's plenty of online advice claiming you can use strawberries mixed with bicarbonate of soda to get whiter teeth. However, a 2015 University of Iowa study found that while a mixture of crushed strawberries and bicarbonate of soda rubbed over 20 pulled teeth, three times a day, for 10 days, helped remove plaque and surface debris from teeth, creating the illusion of a whiter smile, it was"less effective" than conventional whitening products.
3. They can help treat puffy eyes
Dermatologist Abigail James says strawberries contain anthocyanins (the antioxidant that creates their red colour), which are a great support to the circulatory system. "They also have slightly astringent properties making them good for treating puffy eyes," she says. "As an alternative to slices of cucumber, take strawberries straight from the fridge, cut them in half and glide them under the eye area."
4. The can help promote healthy skin
Strawberries contain natural AHAs (alpha hydroxy acids), which are widely used within the skincare industry for their skin brightening and exfoliating effects. "Strawberries and blueberries are often used alongside other fruits for their skin rejuvenation effects," says James. "Strawberries might also be good for your breakouts – they contain a natural form of salicylic acid which is widely used as a clinical antibacterial ingredient."
5. They can help prevent blood-sugar spikes
"Research suggests eating strawberries alongside a carbohydrate-rich meal may help to reduce spikes in blood sugar and insulin levels," says Derbyshire. "Improving blood sugar and insulin sensitivity could be helpful for preventing metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes."
6. The heaviest ever strawberry was farmed in Japan
Guinness World Records says the heaviest strawberry in the world was found by Japanese farmer Koji Nakao in 2015. It weighed a whopping 250g with an approximate height of 8cm, length of 12cm and circumference of 25 -30cm. The funny-looking fruit was multiple berries that had fused together to form one single large strawberry. The fruit broke a record held for over 30 years.
7. They are great for lustrous hair
"Strawberries are also great for your hair and scalp," says James. "The vitamins and AHAs help stave off dandruff, while the high levels of vitamin C encourage better iron absorption which can promote healthy hair growth. Plus, because they're loaded with silica, [so] can support split ends and thick lustrous hair too."