**Information provided by Essentia Health of Brainerd
Beneficial Berries: Good Tasting, Great for Your Body
If you’ve bought any fresh fruit lately, you know berries are in season right now. But not only are berries delicious, they’re also a terrific food for getting much-needed fiber and for fighting disease.
“Berries are some of the most powerful disease-fighting foods available,” says Teresa Farrell, registered and licensed dietitian at the Essentia Health Brainerd Clinic.. “They are rich in antioxidants that help turn off signals that trigger inflammation and decrease damaging free radicals — molecules that can damage organs and cells in our body. There’s even an acid inside berries called Ellagic acid, which protects against cancer.”
Berries deep in color, such as blueberries, contain an antioxidant called anthocyanins, which work with another antioxidant, quercetin, to help slow age-related memory loss and decrease inflammation.
According to the Arthritis Foundation, people become more susceptible to the damaging effects of free radicals and inflammation as they age. Berries help prevent those effects by turning off the inflammation signals triggered by free radicals.
A recent study also shows eating berries could reduce your chance of a heart attack. Women in the study who ate the most blueberries and strawberries were 32 percent less likely to have a heart attack, compared to women who ate berries once a month or less. The findings appear online Jan. 14 in the journal Circulation.
“Plump, juicy and sweet blueberries are one of nature’s great treasures,” adds Farrell. “Blueberries are virtually fat-free, low in calories (80 per cup), packed with vitamin C and full of fiber. Research continues to discover the many possible health benefits of blueberries. They’re also very versatile. Add blueberries to a smoothie, a green salad, chicken salad, yogurt or your cereal.”
Some “Berry” Interesting Facts on Berries:
- Strawberries contain more vitamin C in a one-cup serving than one orange and are particularly high in folic acid.
- Blackberries, raspberries and boysenberries each contain 8 grams of fiber in one cup.
- Cranberries not only combat urinary tract infections, but also are a natural probiotic, supporting healthy bacteria that grow in the gastrointestinal tract and aid in digestion.
Ripe for the picking:
• Strawberries: Mid-June to mid-July
• Raspberries: Early July to mid-August and then late August through September
• Currants: July
• Juneberries and gooseberries: Mid-July to late August
• Blueberries: Mid-July to late August
• Blackberries: Mid-August to mid-September
Farrell suggests to try this quick and delicious blueberry scone recipe, and if you’d like to learn more about blueberries and find some great recipes, go to blueberrycouncil.org
2/3 cup regular oats (not instant)
1/3 cup Bisquick Heart Smart baking mix
1 tablespoon brown sugar
½ teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons margarine, softened
1/3 cup fat-free or low-fat milk
¾ cup fresh blueberriesPreheat oven to 400 degrees F. Combine dry ingredients with the margarine and mix well. Add milk and stir. Fold in blueberries. Spray baking sheet with nonstick spray. Divide batter into 4 mounds, leaving some space in between because they expand. Bake 10 minutes.Servings: 4
Serving size: 1 scone
Fat: 2.5 gm
Sodium: 180 mg
Carbohydrates: 23 gm
Fiber: 2 gm
Protein: 4 gm
Essentia Health is guided by the values of quality, hospitality, respect, justice, stewardship and teamwork. From emergency care to convenient care, family care to speciality practice, Essentia Health delivers on its promise to be “Here With You” in the Brainerd Lakes Area. Learn more at www.essentiahealth.org.