I read in Michael Greger’s book, How Not to Die, that the most commonly eaten fruits in the US are bananas and apples. But, if you want to know which fruit gives you the most antioxidant power, neither of those are even close. Don’t get me wrong, please keep eating apples and bananas, but read on to find out about a fruit with super powers.
I really wanted to write this blog about processed foods today, but when I talked with clients about it and started doing some research, I discovered two things. First off, processed foods are incredibly hard to define. There is a big spectrum of processed foods, there are less processed foods like, good quality cheese, chicken breast, olive oil, to the most processed foods like, chips, cakes, cookies, which tend to have salt and sugar added to them. And the second thing I discovered was this: Who likes to think about and focus on the things we ought not to eat? I don’t know about you but I would much rather focus on filling my plate with things I love that give the biggest nutritional bang for my buck. I will write on this topic one day, just not today. And really, it got me thinking more about how we can focus on whole foods that are plant based and nutrient dense. Which brings us back to today’s post. Berries! They are the fruit with super powers!
Whats the big fuss about berries?
Have you ever eaten fresh raspberries off the vine in summertime? What a delight! Turns out all berries are ridiculously high in antioxidants. So high in fact, that they deserve a place in our diet every single day. There is research that shows berries can protect against cancer, boost our immune system, protect our liver and brain and those who eat the most berries are shown to have less cardiovascular disease. The color in the berry is the antioxidant, so the darker and richer the color the more antioxidants included inside. On average berries have 10x more antioxidants than other fruits and veggies, and 50x more antioxidants than other animal based foods.
Kinds of Berries
There are tons of berries to choose from! They are all good, some have more antioxidants that others, but the best ones are the ones you’ll eat regularly! Choose from acai berries, barberries (these dried berries are used in persian cooking, you can buy them online or get them cheaper in a middle eastern grocery) blackberries, blueberries, cherries (sweet and sour), concord grapes, cranberries, gogi berries, kumquat, mulberries, raspberries and strawberries.
Fresh or frozen and how much?
Berries are often listed on the dirty dozen list (specifically strawberries), meaning that conventional berries can contain very high levels of pesticides. If you can get organic berries even better, but honestly just eat whatever you can get. Fresh and organic berries can be the most expensive, while organic frozen can be more reasonable, especially at a place like Costco. Aim for at least 1 serving a day, 1/2 cup of fresh or frozen or 1/4 cup of dried berries, like barberries or gogi berries.
Frozen or fresh berries are super easy to add to a smoothie. My favorite combo is water, 3 bananas, 1 cup frozen berries, 2 handfuls of spinach, plus a dash of cinnamon or cardamom. Berries also taste great on oatmeal for breakfast. I’ve heard about using a food processor to make “berry ice cream”, where you blend frozen bananas with frozen berries. You can always make a trail mix with nuts, seeds, and dried berries.
How do you like your berries? Do you have any favorite ways to eat or prepare them? I’d love to read your comments!
Here’s a recipe I made with blueberries, its a cold parfait that would be a great snack. I adapted it to be warm for brunch last month. http://ohsheglows.com/2015/07/30/coconut-cardamom-vegan-overnight-oat-parfait-with-blueberry-chia-seed-jam/
Learn about how barberries can reduce severe acne http://nutritionfacts.org/video/treating-acne-barberries/
Read and learn more about the dirty dozen and clean fifteen http://www.ewg.org/foodnews/index.php
Watch tons of videos based on scientific research on the health benefits of berries http://nutritionfacts.org/?s=berries