Super Foods: Berries

The only way I’ve been surviving this heat wave is fresh fruit and unsweetened iced tea (green tea + mint).

It’s been rough waking up to this view all week:

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Since I’m studying for my RD exam, I’ve been staying at my family’s camp on a lake for a peaceful, calm environment. I study in a hammock looking at the lake and take breaks to do yoga or go for walks with my dog to check out some cows.

One (of the many) reasons I love Vermont is all the fresh, local produce. There’s quite a few farm stands around here that run on the honor system. I picked up a pint of fresh-picked, local raspberries the other day and just left the $4 in a bucket at the stand. That’s trust.

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Photos courtesy of my lovely mother

Those raspberries – and the blueberries in my fridge – didn’t last too long after nibbling away and throwing some in a smoothie after a hike. Store-bought, out-of-season berries do not even compare to fresh, in-season berries. I don’t even bother buying strawberries in the winter because nothing can replace the smaller, sweet, juicy berries.

Berries are true super foods packed with antioxidants, Vitamin C, and fiber. They are great for blood-sugar regulation, as they are lower sugar fruits. They are hugely popular in the US – strawberries rank as the most popular fruit with blueberries coming in as second. Berries are on the dirty dozen list, so try to get organic if possible. I chose my top 3 favorite berries, but all berries will be delicious and offer health benefits.

Blueberries (my personal favorite) are fantastic for:

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  • Brain health – One study found daily blueberry consumption for 12 weeks in older adults improved cognitive function on tests.
  • Heart health – Blueberries have been found to improve lipid markers (HDL, triglycerides) and blood pressure to promote a healthy heart.
  • Cancer protection – In animal studies, anti-cancer benefits have been shown, especially for breast, colon, esophageal, and small intestinal cancers.

Strawberries:

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  • Blood sugar regulation – Several studies have found a decreased risk of type 2 diabetes with strawberry consumption.
  • Vitamin C – Strawberries come out as one of the top fruits rich in Vitamin C.

Raspberries:

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  • Skip the raspberry ketones and choose this sweet berry instead for weight management. They are a nutrient-dense fruit that will give you tons of nutrients and fiber for a small amount of calories.
  • Fiber – One cup of raspberries provides about 8 grams of fiber! Fiber is great for weight management and digestive health.
  • Anti-inflammatory. One compound – ellagic acid – has been shown to have anti-inflammatory benefits.

Tips:

  • Check out farm stands or your local farmer’s market for fresh-picked, local berries.
  • Take a trip up to Maine for wild blueberries. Trader Joe’s also sells frozen wild blueberries.
  • Stock up on berries and freeze them to enjoy in smoothies all year round.
  • Save money on this pricey item at farmer’s market by picking your own at farms.
  • Try mindful eating with berries. They are bursting with flavor, beautiful colors, and unique textures, so take the time to fully enjoy them.

Recipes to Try

What’s your favorite berry or berry recipe? Share below!

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5 responses to “Super Foods: Berries

  1. Lauren, I love reading your posts! I always knew you were a special writer. I still have the poem about bells you wrote for me! I love the spinach/strawberry salad. I’ve also bought fresh blueberries at the local Farmer’s Market here at the beach. Keep up the good work and thank you for including me in your “friends”.

    Christine

  2. Lauren:

    Congratulations on passing your RD exam I enjoy reading your blogs. I started having a piece of cheese/ crackers with breakfast and now I do not get so hungry during the day. Great recommendation you gave me. Sometimes I get so busy on the farm I do not get back to the house for lunch so I have a big breakfast with my cheese and it keeps me going. Take care and hope the job at Dartmouth/ Hitchcock works out. A friend of ours is a dietician there, Emily Nicolai she was on the crew team at UVM and dated one of Seth’s fraternity brothers for years, they since gone their separate ways. Emily would be a good person to speak with about carpooling from the Montpelier area as he did that for several years. She now lives down that way since she and her boyfriend broke up.

    Take care and we will see you at camp.

    Bruce

    • Thank you Bruce! I will look for Emily at Dartmouth – I will be covering there at a maternity leave position for now. I’ll definitely be out at camp sometime this summer!

      Glad to hear the extra cheese (protein) is helping keep you full.

  3. Pingback: What Should I Eat on a Plant-Based Diet? | The Running Carrot·

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