Berries are an awesome food to add to your daily arsenal. These delicious health promoting gems are low calorie, high fiber and loaded with vitamins and antioxidants.
There isn’t a day that goes by in my life that I don’t incorporate berries into one of my meals. They are great on cereal, on toast, in smoothies, on salads, make great sauces and definitely make for wonderful desserts. The possibilities are endless.
There are so many different kinds of berries. Of course the most readily available to us are blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, cranberries and black berries but there are so many more. Others include currants, gooseberries, goji berries, loganberries, lingonberries, bilberries, barberries, honeysuckle, elderberries, seabuckthorn berries, rose-hip berries, acai berries, juniper berries, boysenberries, mulberries, Saskatoon berries etc. Did you know that tomatoes are acutally considered berries too?
Each berry has it’s own nutritional profile and it would take me a long time to break down each one I have listed above so I will just expand a little on the popular berries we can get our hands on in our local markets. There is so much to be said about berries but I’m just going to give you the short version.
BLUEBERRIES – These little powerhouse berries are loaded with powerful antioxidants which help protect the body from oxidative stress from free radicals. Blueberries are very protective of the cardiovascular system. Blueberries are also heavily loaded with phytonutrients which help our bodies prevent disease and keep things working properly. You will also find phytonutrients in whole grains, nuts, beans and tea. Blueberries are best eaten raw for maximum benefit rather than eating them sweetened up in desserts and jams but either way you get them…it’s all good. One cup of raw blueberries contain 84 calories and are low on the glycemic index. They contain Vitamin K, manganese, Vitamin C, fiber and copper to name a few nutrients. Buy organic or wild blueberries whenever possible to avoid pesticide residue.
STRAWBERRIES – Ranked very high on the “BEST ANTIOXIDANTS IN FOODS” list, strawberries are the most popular berry. Strawberries are very low in calories coming in at 47 calories per cup of raw strawberries. They are very rich source of anthocyanins and have potential to ward off cancer, inflammation and neurological diseases. They are an excellent source of Vitamin C, which is a powerful antioxidant. In fact just 100 grams provides 98% of your recommended daily intake of Vitamin C. That is incredible. Strawberries are also very high in the B-complex vitamins such as B-6, niacin, riboflavin, folic acid and others. You will also get vitamin A and vitamin E and other antioxidants such as lutein and beta carotene. Strawberries also contain many minerals such as potassium iodine, copper, iron, and manganese. One thing to note when shopping for strawberries is that most conventional strawberries are very highly sprayed with pesticides, fungicides and herbicides as they are a very fragile berry….this landing them on the “dirty dozen” highest sprayed crops list. As I always say “BUY ORGANIC” whenever possible. Sometimes, if we don’t eat the berries while they are their freshest I will stew them with a bit of coconut sugar in a pot on low heat. Then my hubby will enjoy them overtop of vanilla ice cream.
RASPBERRIES – As I always say, organic is best and there is proof that organic raspberries have significantly higher amounts of antioxidants than non-organic raspberries. Raspberries are also a very delicate berry. You must eat them up pretty quickly after purchasing them but they are so good so don’t deprive yourself of this yummy berry just because of that. I buy organic raspberries, wash them and put them in little snack bags and freeze them to add to my smoothies. As with other berries, the raspberry is high in antioxidants, fiber and anthocyanins. A cup of fresh raspberries contain 64 calories and are high in Vitamin C, manganese, copper, Vitamin K, pantothenic acid, biotin, Vitamin E, magnesium, folate, omega 3 fats and potassium. Wow…that is quite a profile.
BLACKBERRIES – Yet another powerhouse treat loaded with nutrition. These berries were recently identified as a top cancer fighter. They contain 43 calories in a one cup serving as well as 5 grams of fiber. These berries contain many antioxidants and are a good source of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, calcium and iron among other vitamins and minerals. Along with blueberries, blackberries have a pretty good shelf life when kept in a lidded container in the fridge. I also freeze these gems in smaller bags for use in my smoothies. Regular consumption of this berry will definitely have a positive impact on your health.
Just a little add on here: Put a bowl of these four berries together with 2 tablespoons of orange or pineapple juice, 1 tablespoon of fresh lime juice, 1 tablespoon of agave nectar or coconut nectar, 2 teaspoons fresh minced mint. Toss gently to combine and voila….a yummy and healthy dessert.
All four of the berries I’ve included here are definite foods to add to your anti-cancer health regime. I suggest daily consumption of all or one of these gifts from Mother Nature!