Mother Nature, in all of her wisdom, has provided us with an entire array of healthy treats.
One of our favorite categories of produce is berries. The reason is berries are packed full of powerful antioxidants and deliver condition-specific health benefits unique to the underlying fruit. In addition, they are a great addition to almost any type of recipe or simply as a tasty snack.
According to a 2004 published research from USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University, blueberries rank as one of the top fruits delivering overall antioxidant capacity.
The researchers studied over 80 different types of food including varieties of fresh fruit and vegetables, herbs and spices, nuts and dried fruits. The results of the study found that the humble blueberry delivered the highest overall antioxidant value.
Antioxidant value is measured in the ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorption Capacity). The higher the number, the more free radicals the food absorbs. Free radicals are unstable oxygen molecules that may cause disease and premature aging. Health professionals suggest the average person should consume 5,000 ORAC units daily. The good news is that one cup of fresh wild blueberries delivers 9,600 ORAC units making it an excellent choice for antioxidants. If you can’t find fresh blueberries locally, consider frozen blueberries or wild blueberry capsules.
Did you know there are over 500 different types of strawberry varieties on the planet? No matter the variety, they are easy to spot due to their unique heart-shapes.
However, this large berry is not really a berry. Say what! That’s right… the fact of the matter is, strawberries are an accessory fruit. This simply means the seeds of the fruit are on the outside and not on the inside. No matter if the seeds are on the exterior or the interior, it is just as succulent as any berry.
Strawberries are packed full of goodness. They are naturally low in calories and fat. In addition, they are also a good source of vitamin C. So if you can’t find an orange to get your daily dose of vitamin C, grab a few strawberries instead. In addition, they are also a good source for fiber, potassium and folic acid. All are required for a healthy body no matter your age.
Before their explosive popularity, the blackberry plant was originally considered to be a weed. The reason is they are aggressive intruders and spread very fast. So for early pioneers and settlers, this berry probably wasn’t high on the list for planting in gardens.
Blackberries are a good source of phytoestrogen, fiber and vitamin K. One of the most popular natural remedies associated with this berry is its ability to help maintain a healthy immune system, especially for women. The high levels of phytoestrogen help to make this berry Mother Nature’s version of the female hormone estrogen. It helps to provide relief for women while helping to maintain healthy body function.
Finally, the high presence of fiber in this purplish-colored fruit makes it a good choice for digestive health and maintaining healthy bowel function.
So the next time you’re strolling through the produce section of your local grocery store or farmers market, keep an eye out for these three amazing berries. However, if you can't find the fresh fruit, consider enjoying the frozen fruit or strawberry, blackberry or wild blueberry capsules.
Wu X, Beecher GR, Holden JM et al. Lipophilic and hydrophilic antioxidant capacities of common foods in the United States. J Agric Food Chem. 2004 Jun 16;52(12):4026-37.
FruitCeutical Handbook www.FruitCeutical.com