Some foods are so nutritious that they have been labeled as superfoods. Berries are one of them. It is like a miracle pill, which can help you combat the deadliest of diseases. We are all aware of the benefits of anti-oxidants and berries are an absolute powerhouse of it. So, what makes berries enjoy such a fabulous reputation, among a plethora of superfoods jostling for our attention? The list is pretty steep and one that makes us rethink our current dietary fads. Healthy living is not about following any diet; healthy living is in fact about a healthy lifestyle, which one should stick to forever and ever.
The Multitude Benefits of Berries
What makes berries tick? More than a couple of things. To be more precise, blueberries are chock-a-block with antioxidants, called anthocyanins which keep your memory razor-sharp as you age and the delicious raspberries contain ellagic acid, which is a cancer-fighting compound. All berries are rich sources of fiber, a nutrient which keeps your digestive system super healthy. If that was not enough, those tiny berries are great for keeping your heart and bones in perfect health. That seems to be a tiny arsenal of sorts, doesn’t it? Name the disease, and berries have a suitable firearm to slay it with. Check out the other benefits of berries, you will be amazed at the sheer versatility of this tiny in size but giant in nutrition food.
- Controls diabetes- We already know about benefits of eating anti-oxidants, and why we should literally stuff ourselves with them, owing to our exposure to pollution and ingesting harmful substances every day. So, if you have diabetes, should you consume berries? They can give sugar a run for its money with their sweetness, which is good news for diabetics. They can chomp on berries if fresh and whole, as it is better that way, since juicing it would mean stripping it off fiber. Also, a blueberry muffin or a raspberry truffle cake do not qualify as nutrient dense, since, you’ve guessed it right, these mouthwatering desserts are laden with sugar.
- It prevents Parkinson’s disease- Modern medicine has still not been able to come up with a cure for Parkinson’s disease. When it comes to this degenerative condition, prevention is still better than cure. Since berries are high in antioxidants, eating them for prevention makes sense. There is some fantastic evidence which substantiates that berries absolutely make the cut when it comes to diminishing your risk of suffering from Parkinson’s. Having as little as two servings of berries can do the trick for you. You can add them to a number of dishes, besides of course consuming them raw.
- Control your weight with berries- Berries are full of fiber and liquid content and hence you can feel satiated even if you eat small quantities of them. You will feel full faster, and hence abstain from overeating. This will indirectly help you drop the excess pounds. Adding a few nuts and seeds to the berries can add the extra punch of nutrition.
- Lower your blood pressure- Though following a berry-rich diet has not been directly linked with lowering your blood pressure, a diet rich in fiber and antioxidants is the best way to cure any disease. Thus, berries should indeed be a part of your regular diet.
- Fight cancer with berries- Berries are packed with flavonoids, which are potent antioxidants to fight cancer. Doctors and nutritionists always endorse a diet full of fruits and vegetables to fight cancer. Having a berry-full diet is your first step to preventing cancer. But you have to remember that merely adding berries is not enough to combat cancer, make your diet varied and rich so that you get all the nutrients required to keep chronic diseases at bay.
- Prevent urinary tract infection- Berries like cranberries are your best bet to your urinary health in order. In fact, doctors recommend sipping on cranberry juice to get relief from urinary tract infection symptoms.
- Eat berries to fight Alzheimers- Cognitive decline with advancing age is a much abhorred but an undeniable fact. To keep your mental faculties sharp and focused and also for preventing Alzheimer’s, you must add antioxidant-rich foods to your diet. Berries must be part of your antioxidant repository to keep your health in rip-rod shape.
Stock up on These Berries
There are a number of berries you can choose, but which ones are the best? They are each potent in their own ways. Take goji berries for instance, they are deep red in color, and are composed of 18 essential amino acids, 21 trace minerals, vitamins B1, B2, B6, and E, linoleic acid, selenium, germanium, and are full of beta carotene, even more than carrots. Similarly, blueberries are an antioxidant armory. The deep blue color is as a result of phytonutrients called anthocyanidins.
Acai berry is a great energy boosting fruit. They are rich in anthocyanins; a substance which is good for heart health and lowers cholesterol levels. Those who love their desserts love slurping on strawberry and cream. Strawberries are nutrient dense too; they help in reducing macular degeneration of the eyes and are full of potassium, fiber, many B vitamins, vitamin C, vitamin K, manganese, iodine, folate, omega-3 fatty acids, magnesium, and copper. Blackberries have one of the most potent forms of chronic disease and cancer-fighting compounds: vitamins C, E, and ellagic acid, all the more reason for you to add some blackberry recipes to your daily diet.
Top 5 Tasty and Healthy Berry Recipes
You can eat berries raw, popping them in and feeling the melt in the mouth sweetness, which is just one way of enjoying them. However, to get the benefits of eating berries high in antioxidants you need to add them to a wide number of dishes as well. They are wonderful options to have when the hunger pangs strike.
1. Berry Blast
This can be a great replacement for all those carbs filled breakfast options you have been having of late. This antioxidant rich drink is what you should have to lose those extra pounds, which keep you at loggerheads with your weighing scale.
- 1 1/4 cups fresh berries
- 3/4 cup low-fat plain yogurt
- 1/2 cup orange juice
- Simply Orange Juice Calcium, Pulp Free
- 2 tablespoons nonfat dry milk
- 1 tablespoon toasted wheat germ
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Place berries, yogurt, orange juice, dry milk, wheat germ, honey and vanilla in a blender and blend until smooth. Drink your way to health and wellness.
2. Barley Granola
Barley is a great source of a fiber and combined with berries and nuts and seeds, this dish packs quite a nutritional punch. This is a delicious way to break your fast early in the morning.
- 1/4 cup unsalted pumpkinseed kernels
- 1/4 cup unsalted sunflower seed kernels
- 1/3 cup maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 2 cups rolled barley flakes
- 1/4 cup toasted wheat germ
- 1/3 cup dried blueberries
- 1/3 cup sweetened dried cranberries
- Preheat oven to 325°.
- Place pumpkinseed kernels and sunflower seed kernels on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake at 325° for 5 minutes. Cool, seeds in a pan on a wire rack.
- Blend syrup and next 6 ingredients (through cardamom) in a medium bowl. Stir in toasted kernels, barley, and wheat germ.
- Spread barley mixture evenly in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake at 325° for 25 minutes or until lightly browned, stirring every 10 minutes.
- Remove from the oven; cool granola in pan on a wire rack. Blend in dried blueberries and dried cranberries. Store in an airtight container.
3. Strawberry Salad
We always have this misconception that we can add berries only to desserts. But this recipe makes for a great salad. Use it as a side dish along with bread and meat.
- Easy herb vinaigrette:
- 9 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 1 1/2 tablespoons wildflower honey
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 cup canola oil
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
- 3 tablespoons minced fresh chives
- 1 1/2 cups quartered strawberries
- 1/4 cup Easy Herb Vinaigrette
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh mint
- 1 package fresh baby spinach
- 2 tablespoons sliced almonds, toasted
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Combine the first 3 ingredients in a medium bowl; slowly whisk in oil until combined. Stir in basil and chives.
- Combine strawberries, ¼ cup vinaigrette, mint, and spinach in a large bowl; toss gently to coat. Sprinkle with almonds and pepper; serve immediately. Store remaining vinaigrette, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
4. Chicken and Strawberry Salad
This recipe should be an intrinsic part of your berry recipes list. It’s one for all those non-vegetarian foodies who are wondering whether berries can complement meat dishes as well. This recipe is just right for them.
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon water
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 4 cups torn romaine lettuce
- 4 cups arugula
- 2 cups quartered strawberries
- 1/3 cup vertically sliced red onion
- 12 ounces skinless, boneless rotisserie chicken breast, sliced
- 2 tablespoons unsalted cashews, halved
- 1/2 cup (2 ounces) crumbled blue cheese
- To prepare to dress, combine first 5 ingredients in a small bowl. Gradually drizzle in oil, stirring constantly with a whisk.
- To prepare the salad, combine romaine and next 4 ingredients (through chicken) in a bowl; toss gently. Place about 2 cups chicken mixture on each of 4 plates. Top each serving with 1 1/2 teaspoons cashews and 2 tablespoons cheese. Drizzle about 4 teaspoons dressing over each serving.
5. Raspberry Almond Muffins
Looking for raspberry recipes? Your search ends right here, because the list will not be complete if we don’t include a dessert. We have substituted the refined flour with oat flour, so it is healthy and tastes divine.
- 1 cup oat flour
- ¼ cup plus 1 TB ground almonds
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 2 TB honey*
- 1/3 cup buttermilk**
- 2 TB unsweetened applesauce
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 large egg
- ½ cup frozen raspberries, chopped
Preheat oven to 400 F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Do not forget to do this. Make your buttermilk right now and keep it aside. In a mixing bowl, sift together the oat flour, ground almonds, and baking powder.
In a separate mixing bowl, blend the honey, buttermilk, applesauce, vanilla, and egg. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, stirring lightly to combine. The consistency of the batter will be thick.
Chop up the raspberries and fold them into the batter. Drop onto the pan at least 2 inches apart and bake 10-12 min. You know the drift, insert a toothpick, and find out if it has been baked right, see if the toothpick comes out clean. Let cool on the pan for 5 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack. Once it is cooled, store in an airtight container for up to a week or freeze for up to a month.
Eating healthy food is difficult! If that’s what you think then you haven’t explored the world of berries. Berries’ antioxidant benefits not with standing, they are pretty delicious to eat as well. Also, when you are avoiding sugar, berries can add the right dose of sweetness to your desserts; and believe you me you won’t miss sugar at all. You can add it to your morning oatmeal, have it with your banana ice cream, make your granola interesting by sprinkling a few berries on the top. There are ideas galore, you just have to try them out. The idea is to have loads of berries every day, one food which even your doctor and nutritionist will approve of heartily. So here is to a berry-rich diet! We are not complaining at all, are you?