Thursday, July 30, 2009

Bountiful Berries

Berries are ubiquitous in Seattle during the summertime. Blackberry bushes explode out onto the Burke Gilman trail. Large plastic buckets accompany the masses as they head into Magnuson Park. Red, blue and purple hues are ever-present at the farmers' markets.

Picture of mixed berries
Berries

Beyond the fact that berries taste so good, there are several other reasons why we should capitalize on this abundance. Berries have the highest antioxidant capacity among all fruits and vegetables. This is due to bioactive compounds called anthocyanins, which are also responsible for the color in berries.

The health benefits of antioxidants are substantial. Antioxidants neutralize "free radicals" in the body. Free radicals are destructive molecules that can damage cells and other structures in the body. Damaged cells make us more susceptible to inflammation and chronic diseases such as heart disease and cancer.

Cooking berries may also increase their antioxidant potential so there's no need to hesitate on the baked berry cobbler. In addition to antioxidant capacity, berries are also collectively high in several other nutrients, such as vitamin C, folate, potassium and beta carotene, that are critical for proper immune function, heart health and vision.

Berries are sweet and portable and can be added to your average breakfast cereals and desserts. They also make a delicious, low calorie snack. If you're more ambitious and want to enjoy the benefits of these nutrient powerhouses in the fall and winter, you might transform them into jam.

Below is a recipe for a simple summertime berry-rich beverage:

Berrylicious Smoothie

3/4 cup milk (rice, soy, nut or cow)
3/4 cup fresh blueberries, blackberries or strawberries, chilled or frozen
2 medium bananas, chilled
2 tablespoons orange juice
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon vanilla bean extract
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon

Combine all ingredients in a blender and pulse until thick. Serve in your favorite glass.

Serves: 1
Prep time: 5 minutes

- Genevieve Sherrow, Candidate, Master of Science in Nutrition, and Elizabeth Kirk, PhD, Core Faculty, Department of Nutrition and Exercise Science, Bastyr University

FALL 2014
Have questions about a program?
Request information »

More Health Tips

Eat local. Eat seasonal. Eat organic. These messages can easily become confusing. Which one is best? Fortunately, they go hand in hand

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control reports that skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States and that its deadliest form, melanoma, is on the rise.

Your body will thank you for exercising no matter what your stage of life.

Nearly 90 percent of corn, soy, sugar beets, canola, and cotton in the United States are grown from genetically engineered seeds.

If you suffer from hormonally mediated migraines, make an appointment with a naturopathic doctor (ND) to create a plan to treat your specific symptoms.

We now know that if the cord is allowed to stop pulsating before being clamped and cut, the baby establishes normal breathing more quickly.

Subscribe to Newsletters

CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Image CAPTCHA
Enter the characters shown in the image.