Berries are not only sweet and delicious treats, they are loaded with health benefits. Berries are packed with antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and fiber. One of the health benefits of including antioxidants in the diet is the reduction of oxidation on a cellular level. This helps give the body protection against the formation of cancer cells and protection from age related health issues.
Berries are a health food that is easy to include in the diet. They can be eaten as a fresh snack, mixed with yogurt, added to cereal, baked goods and fruit salad. Fresh berries may be the most delicious, but frozen berries are still a good way to get the health benefits. Frozen berries have the added benefit of convenience. Fresh berries can also be bought while they’re in season and frozen for later use.
Blackberries are high in ellagic acid which has cancer and disease fighting properties. They also have vitamins C and E, fiber, potassium and antioxidants. Antioxidants are the well known and much discussed substances that slow the aging process and reduce cell damage that can lead to cancer.
Fresh blackberries won’t last long and this is true of most fresh berries. It’s best to not handle berries very much and wash them just before using them. They can be frozen and will last for months in the freezer. Pies and cobblers made with blackberries are one of my favorites and they are also delicious mixed with other berries and for making jams.
Blueberries are one of the leading berries when it comes to health benefits. They are often thought of as one of the healthiest of all fruits because of their high level of antioxidants. Blueberries are high in fiber, vitamin C, vitamin E, and manganese. Blueberries also have the health benefits of phenolic compounds known as anthocyanosides. These are being researched and thought to be a part of the strongest antioxidants discovered so far.
Buying blueberries fresh is a real treat and they can be purchased frozen to use in a variety of recipes all year long. They are one of the sweetest of all berries and one of the reasons they are so popular to eat fresh. Blueberries do not need added sweeteners. They are among the most popular of all berries to add to baked goods, including the popular blueberry muffins.
The cranberry is also high in antioxidants and contains proanthocyanidins (PACs) which inhibit the growth of bacteria. This is the reason cranberries are used to treat urinary tract infections. They also may help prevent peptic ulcers and the prevention of cancer and heart disease as well. These berries are so tart that they are usually not eaten raw. They are commonly consumed as a juice or used for baking and the popular cranberry sauce.
Elderberries are loaded with antioxidants and have anti-viral compounds as well as compounds that help lower bad (LDL) cholesterol. They also contain anthocyanins to help enhance the immune system. In ancient times the elderberry was used for medicinal purposes such as arthritis, colds and flu. It has popular health uses in Germany, Austria and England.
Elderberries must be cooked before eating. They have a mild toxicity level that will cause illness if eaten raw, but that toxicity is destroyed when cooked. This is the reason elderberries are used to make jams and jellies and wine. They can also be used to put in baked goods. These sour berries are small and range from dark purple to almost black.
Goji Berry (Wolf Berry):
Goji Berry is the Chinese name for this berry that is popular in health food stores due to its many health benefits. The goji berries are a powerhouse of nutrients. They contain 18 amino acids and 11 essential and 22 trace dietary minerals. Some of the many benefits of goji berries are liver protection and the potential to fight cancer.
These berries have the essential fatty acids including linoleic acid and alpha-linolenic acid. The health benefits also include 5 carotenoids which include beta-carotene, lutein and lycopene. This incredible little berry has many other healthy ingredients including vitamins B1, B2, B6 and E. The goji berry is traditionally thought to give strength, long life and sexual virility.
The goji berry is usually always sold in dried form. They are dark red and about the same size as raisins. The taste is a combination of a dried cherry and cranberry. The berries are sometimes used in Chinese soups and to make wine. The goji berry is also sometimes used in juice form.
The raspberry is another popular berry packed with antioxidant health benefits. They give protection against carcinogens with ellagic acid. Raspberries also have vitamin C, riboflavin, folate, niacin, potassium, magnesium, copper, and manganese. They also add dietary fiber and help keep our eyes healthy.
Raspberries have a unique sweet and tangy flavor. They can be eaten in most of same ways as strawberries. They are good fresh for snacking, salads and desserts. Raspberries are also excellent in baked goods and sauces. This berry also makes an excellent jam and is one of my favorites.
Strawberries are one of the most popular of all berries and they also include health benefits as well. These well-loved berries contain phytonutrients called phenols. The list of the health benefits of the strawberry is impressive. They are high in a phytochemical called ellagic acid. In laboratory studies, ellagic acid is showing the ability to prevent skin, lung, bladder, esophagus and breast cancers.
Strawberries have vitamins C, K, B5 and B6, fiber, iodine, manganese, potassium, copper, magnesium folate, riboflavin, and omega-3 fatty acids. The phenols in strawberries give them the added health benefits of heart protection, as well as being an anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory berry. As if all of this isn’t enough for these berries, they also help fight macular degeneration of the eyes and help protect the brain from oxidative stress.
There are literally hundreds of varieties of strawberries available, so choose what you like and eat them often. They are available frozen any time of the year. When buying fresh strawberries, purchase them already ripe because they will not ripen more after they’re picked. They will need to be eaten within a few days or they will begin to rot. Strawberries can be easily frozen for later use.