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The Nutritional Benefits of Berries Go Beyond the Cereal Bowl

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The Nutritional Benefits of Berries Go Beyond the Cereal Bowl

Berries are often called the “power-packed nuggets of nutrition,” and for good reason. Berries offer cancer-fighting antioxidants, excellent doses of fiber and other nutritional benefits that greatly impact overall health.

Antioxidant Content

Blueberries, blackberries, strawberries and raspberries are rich sources of antioxidants, such as anthocyanin, which gives berries their bright color. They also contain ellagic acid, an antioxidant that helps the body deactivate carcinogens and can slow down the reproduction of cancer cells. Because of these, berries are some of the strongest cancer fighters in the produce section.

  • 1 cup of blueberries = 13,000+ antioxidants
  • 1 cup of blackberries = about 8,000 antioxidants
  • 1 cup of strawberries or raspberries = about 6,000 antioxidants

Fiber Content

Berries are high in fiber, which comes from their skin and seeds, and low in calories.

  • Fiber aids with running your digestive tract and helps you stay full for a longer amount of time.
  • High fiber diets have been linked to a lower risk of heart disease, improved blood pressure and better blood sugar control.

A recent study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics found that consuming blueberries significantly reduced blood pressure. Study participants with high blood pressure who consumed the equivalent of one cup of blueberries daily for eight weeks had an average drop of systolic blood pressure by 5.1 percent and diastolic blood pressure by 6.3 percent. These results revealed the health benefits of eating blueberries and researchers recommended adding them to your diet.

Nutrition Facts

  • 1 cup of raspberries = 8 grams of fiber and only 64 calories
  • 1 cup of blackberries = 7.6 grams of fiber and only 62 calories
  • 1 cup of blueberries =  3.5  grams of fiber and only 83 calories
  • 1 cup of strawberries = 3 grams of fiber and only 46 calories

Fresh or Frozen: Which is better?

When choosing between fresh or frozen berries, both are equally nutritious. Just remember to check the ingredients of the frozen berries to select those with no added sugar. An extra health benefit of eating frozen berries is they have higher levels of anthocyanin due to the effects of freezing. However, when fresh berries are in season they may be less expensive, so enjoy fresh or frozen throughout the year to power up your nutrition.

Beyond adding berries to your cereal bowl…

  • Sprinkle berries in your salad.
  • Pair your favorite berries with a low-fat cheese for a healthy snack.
  • Top Greek yogurt with berries and a low-fat granola for a quick and healthy breakfast.
  • Blend a mix of colorful berries with ice for a cool and refreshing fruit smoothie.
  • Make a tasty salad dressing by blending berries with a balsamic vinaigrette dressing.
  • Create a colorful berry salsa:
  1. Dice strawberries and avocado         
  2. Add some chopped tomatoes and cilantro
  3. Sprinkle lime juice for zest and some finely diced jalapeno to taste
  4. Serve with baked tortilla chips

Whip up this scrumptious and diabetic-friendly Mixed Berry Compote next time you need a sweet treat! For a personalized nutrition consultation, meal planning tips and healthy eating advice, visit Cooper Clinic Nutrition Services or call 972.560.2655.

Article provided by Cooper Clinic Nutrition Services.