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Learn About the Health-Boosting Benefits of Your Favorite Berries

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Learn About the Health-Boosting Benefits of Your Favorite Berries

Berries have some of the highest antioxidant levels of any fresh fruit and are some of the most powerful disease-fighting foods available. Peak season for these fruits is between May and August; but do not fret, if you cannot find them fresh, frozen is the next best thing.


Blackberries are North American natives that can be found growing wild in woodland areas and in cultivation from June to August. They are high in polyphenols and known to have anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties. The dark blue color of blackberries offer some of the highest antioxidant levels in fruit. They are also rich in vitamin C, fiber and low in calories making them an excellent choice for that heart healthy diet.

Blueberries are grown all around the world and date back to Greek and Roman empires. These little blue orbs of tart sweetness are chock full of health benefits and available fresh picked from June to July. Blueberries are an excellent source of vitamin C, manganese and dietary fiber. They are loaded with polyphenols, which have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Blueberries have been studied for risk reduction of cardiovascular diseases, blood clotting and prevention of urinary tract infections.

Raspberries are believed to have originated in Eastern Asia, finding their way to North America by prehistoric people who crossed the Bering Strait. It is a good thing they brought them along. They have been of botanical interest for thousands of years. Historically used in teas for throat gargles and digestive cures, today research suggests that raspberries may have cancer preventative benefits and protect against heart disease and mental decline.

Strawberries grew wild in Italy as far back as 234 B.C. and were discovered in Virginia by the first Europeans in 1588. Today, more than 80 percent of commercial strawberries are produced in California’s moderate climate. Strawberries are rich in vitamin C, folate and fiber. Their phytonutrients may have preventive benefits of cardiovascular disease, cancer and cognitive decline. Those little strawberry seeds contain alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), an omega-3 fatty acid, similar to the good fat found in flaxseed. Other nutrients include calcium, iron and many essential amino acids.

Cranberries are native to North America and grown in low bogs that can be filled with water allowing them to float for ease of harvest. They are available frozen year-round and fresh from November to January. Naturally tart, cranberries are full of vitamin C and fiber providing a healthy boost of disease fighting antioxidants second only to blueberries. In addition, at 45 calories per cup, you have a guilt-free treat!

Nutrient content per 1 cup of fresh fruit:















3.5 g

7.6 g

8 g

3 g

5 g


9 mg

42 mg

31 mg

23 mg

8 mg


112 mg

223 mg

186 mg

220 mg

85 mg

Vitamin C

14 mg

30 mg

32 mg

85 mg

13 mg


9 mcg

36 mcg

26 mcg

35 mg

1 mcg

Berries boast so many healthful benefits; it is hard not to include them in your weekly menu planning. Enjoy the sweet flavors of these fruits for breakfast, lunch, dessert or an afternoon snack. Here are some suggestions:

  • Add a handful of blueberries to your morning oatmeal or non-fat Greek yogurt
  • Pair 1/2 cup blackberries and one ounce string cheese for an afternoon snack
  • Blend a smoothie with mixed blackberries and raspberries, yogurt, almond milk and ice
  • Slice strawberries into a chilled spinach salad
  • Roast Brussels sprouts with fresh cranberries

Article provided by Cooper Clinic Nutrition Services.

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