Berries, The Superfood
Each month, Morrison Healthcare, Western Missouri Medical Center’s (WMMC) food services partner, features a different Superfood. WMMC highlights these superfoods in our “The Superfood” blog series. This month features berries.
Summer is fast approaching, which means berries are now in season! These juicy treats are not only delicious but are loaded with health benefits.
These delightful fruits are vast in variety. Blueberries, raspberries, blueberries and strawberries are some favorites, but there are also gooseberries, huckleberries, mulberries, boysenberries and many more! Raspberries themselves include gold, black, purple and red variations.
Many of us are exposed to free radicals and inflammation from different environmental and physical factors. As our bodies age, we are more susceptible to their harsh effects. Berries are full of antioxidants that can help defend cells. This benefit can protect against cancer, heart disease, arthritis, etc.
Blackberries, Raspberries, and Boysenberries- A Fiber Frenzy
As discussed in our previous superfood blogs, fiber is an important nutrient most people do not eat sufficiently in their diet. It not only helps with digestive health, but can also increase satiety, decrease cholesterol, and improve glucose control. All berries contain some fiber, but blackberries, raspberries, and boysenberries are winners with 8 g per 1 cup serving. That is 32% of the daily fiber needs for women and 21% for men!
Strawberries Pack a Vitamin C Punch
Just 5 strawberries contain almost 100% of your daily Vitamin C needs, which is slightly more than a small orange! They are also an excellent source of folic acid, vitamin K, potassium, manganese and fiber. Enjoy them for only 50 calories per one cup serving.
Blueberries-A Brain Food
These berries are packed full of phytonutrients and one found abundantly in blueberries is anthocyanin. This flavonoid gives the berry is vibrant purple/blue hue. Some studies have shown that it can improve cognitive function and reduce age-related declines in mental function. Anthocyanin is also present in other fruits and vegetables!
The Storage Dilemma
As you may know, fresh berries do not always last long in the fridge. To make sure they stay fresh, keep them dry and do not wash until you are ready to eat them. Frozen berries contain the same health benefits and because they are frozen at their peak ripeness, they can retain their nutritional value longer. Enjoy them in smoothies, recipes or right out of the freezer!
Try the delicious berry recipes below!