Food Focus: Berries

Blueberries, strawberries, raspberries! Oh my!

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This time of year is so colorful in the produce department or farmer’s market and makes having healthy snacks and desserts so fun. The variety of berries can satisfy our sweet tooth as well as provide great health benefits with every bite.

Why are berries so good for you?

Blackberries: Blackberries are delicious eaten on their own, one sweetness bursting bite at a time. With that burst of flavor, you get antioxidants, vitamin E, folate, dietary fiber, vitamin C, Vitamin K and Manganese. One cup of blackberries has about 8 grams of fiber and half the daily recommended dose of vitamin C.

Blueberries: #1 in antioxidant protection, blueberries are full of anthocyanins, phytonutrients that, along with resveratrol, ellagic acid, and vitamin C, prevent oxidized molecules (free radicals) from directly damaging cells. Free radicals have been associated with conditions such as cataracts, glaucoma, varicose veins, hemorrhoids, peptic ulcers, heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease and cancer. Blueberries also promote brain health, healthy elimination, and weight control.

Raspberries: Raspberries benefit the liver and kidneys, cleanse blood of toxins, regulate menstrual cycles, treat anemia and can promote labor at childbirth. Not bad for a delicious, individually packaged treat! With 8.3 grams of fiber per cup, raspberries give you about one-third of your recommended daily fiber allowance. Add raspberries to your eating plan to help reduce elevated cholesterol levels, reduce the risk of heart disease and regulate your blood pressure.

Strawberries: The most popular berry in the U.S., strawberries are also rich in antioxidants as well as being an excellent source of Vitamin C. Foods rich in Vitamin C have been found to provide protection against inflammatory polyarthritis, a form of rheumatoid arthritis involving more than one joint. One cup of strawberries contains only 43 calories and 3.3 grams of fiber, so eat ’em up!

Enjoy more berries this season on their own, with some yogurt and granola for breakfast, in your smoothies, or with this delicious raw berry crisp and home-made popsicles.

What’s your favorite berry?

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