Antioxidant Power in a Tiny Package
No need to wait for the spring or summer farmer’s market to enjoy berries in every size and color – even months out from your local season, you can enjoy the benefits of these nutrient-packed fruits. Flash frozen or imported fresh berries are available now, so it’s easy to incorporate them into your diet year-round.
Colorful berries are certainly worthy of their Super Food status – thanks to high levels of antioxidants and polyphenols, which can help fight chronic disease, cancer, and heart disease. And you know what we always say – what’s good for your body is also good for your skin. Those antioxidants are also great for fighting the signs of aging and skin damage!
You don’t have to consume bucketfuls of berries to reap their health benefits – studies are showing that a simple sprinkling over your morning oatmeal can have a positive cumulative effect. How do various berries stack up? Let’s take a look:
Acai: This Brazilian berry is all the rage these days, and with good reason – they are loaded with antioxidants and fiber. They are a bit tart, so try blending frozen acai into smoothie for a refreshing and healthful kick.
Blackberries: These little gems are loaded with polyphenols, which may benefit heart health and even prevent cancer. Plus, they pack a whopping 7 grams of fiber in a half cup, with lots of Vitamin C. We love eating these the old-fashioned way – by the handful!
Blueberries: The latest research shows that these may boost your memory, and also contain compounds that help widen arteries. They’re also high in fiber and Vitamin C. Try them over Greek Yogurt for a perfect treat for the body and soul!
Cranberries: While we tend to consume these most over the Thanksgiving holiday, women should strive to incorporate them all year. They may increase LDL (good) cholesterol, and may also help prevent urinary tract infections. They are very tart on their own, so try a few in a mixed fruit smoothie, or sprinkle dried sweetened cranberries over a spinach salad.
Raspberries: Just a half cup of these ruby delights contain 4 grams of heart-healthy fiber, 25% of your RDA for Vitamin C and manganese, and high levels of polyphenols. In a smoothie, over granola, or fresh off the bush, raspberries are an antioxidant winner!
Strawberries: High in Vitamin C, these juicy beauties can also help widen arteries. They can even help whiten teeth as a natural source of malic acid! Try all-natural strawberries preserves spread on whole-grain toast.
So move over apples – a handful of berries a day may keep the doctor away! Note that berries including blueberries and strawberries are featured on the Environmental Working Group’s Dirty Dozen – which means they have pesticide residue levels of concern. Buy organic whenever possible!