One of the best parts of summer is the wonderful berry season. The berries are at their sweetest “in season” condition and you must take advantage of the powerful nutrients that these delicious fruits and superfoods provide.
The key to understanding berries and how healthy they are comes down to their color. Rich micronutrients are evident in fruits and veggies by color, scent and other properties. Berries have their rich color from certain phytochemicals found within them.
These colorful phytochemicals are beneficial to the body in numerous ways, so many in fact, that science is still sorting out the thousands of micronutrients out there and how each one helps the human body. Antioxidants and cancer fighters are common terms used to describe them.
Frozen berries are available all year long and are not as denatured as cooked berries but they are still the best when fresh. For the other seasons throughout the year you can freeze the fresh berries you bought yourself while ensuring the quality and freshness when you defrost them. Frozen berries are the only way to go for making delicious smoothies and shakes since they help make it frothy and thick like a milkshake. By adding some protein powder to the mix, you are enriching the shake which could also double as a meal when you’re on the run and need to satisfy your sweet tooth. It’s better to have a quick protein smoothie which takes minutes to make rather than missing a meal altogether.
An interesting fact that berries are healing foods is the example of the cranberry. Doctors frequently suggest daily cranberry juice intake because of its ability to flush toxins from the bladder. Those with chronic bladder infections, like the elderly, need this type of berry in order to decrease the instances of bladder infections without pharmaceuticals.
Blueberries are simply too delicious to be cancer fighters but they actually are and another great thing these little berries do is to help reduce bad cholesterol. Studies have also shown that blueberries can help slow down the disabling effects from the loss of memory and motor skills. Just a few handfuls each day can help reduce memory loss while keeping your ability to speak clear and concise at optimal levels. Degradation of our memory and motor skills are something that can happen to any of us with the aging process.
Raspberries are full of excellent phytochemicals and antioxidants. Raspberries also have the benefit of being high in fiber and vitamin C.
Strawberries have many of the qualities listed above just like the other berries mentioned earlier. They are rich in potassium, low in calories and have zero fat. Although a simple and common berry to find, the strawberry is super rich in nutrients so it’s important to take advantage of these benefits when these berries are listed at affordable prices at your local grocery store or farmers market.
My suggestion is to buy a little of each type of berry and make a nice fruit salad topped with some plain nonfat yogurt along with some raw almonds. For those who like soy yogurt or cottage cheese, you can also use those to make your fruit plate extremely healthy. Some nonfat cheese and berries with a slice of rye bread works very well as a snack during the day or for a great little meal for breakfast. Soft tofu also goes very well with berries.
A fun way to get berries during the summer is to head out to a local farm in your area with friends and family and have some fun picking them yourself. It’s a great activity to do while spending quality time with others. You will also get to eat the fruits of your labor, literally!