Berry-Licious Tips and Recipes
What's not to love about delicious and nutritious raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries?
By Elaine Magee, MPH, RD
Reviewed By Louise Chang, MD
I love almost all types of fruit, but can I tell you what my absolute favorites are? Strawberries and raspberries and blackberries! My favorite jam? Triple-berry jam (featuring the aforementioned berries). Favorite pie? You guessed it --berry! One of the things that gets me through winter is frozen berries. And to me, summer hasn't truly begun until I've gone to the farmers' market in my town and made a batch of triple-berry jam.
Berries are tops to me not only because they have such a uniquely sweet taste and come in such beautiful shades of red, blue, and purple. They are also absolutely and utterly good for you. A serving of berries comes with a nice dose of fiber and vitamin C (along with assorted other vitamins and minerals). Here's the nutritional profile of the four most common berries:
* also 8% DV of B3
Berries also deliver an impressive lineup of phytochemicals. The phytochemicals found in blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, and blueberries have powerful antioxidant duties in the body and help protect us against cancer in several different ways.
According to a Dutch study lead by Jules Beekwilder, PhD, raspberries may have almost 50% more antioxidant activity than strawberries, three times the antioxidant activity of kiwis, and 10 times the antioxidant activity of tomatoes. To what do they owe this to? The study suggests that while vitamin C accounts for about 20% of raspberries' total antioxidant capacity, the red-colored anthocyanins (phytochemicals) account for 25%. But the biggest contribution (more than 50%) comes from phytochemicals called ellagitannins, Beekwilder says.
"These special tannins usually occur in leaves and bark, but in the raspberry they also end up in the edible parts -- the fruit," says Beekwilder. "Besides being antioxidants, these compounds also work against intestinal infections like salmonella."
At the Market
Ready to head to the market? Here are four basic tips on buying and storing berries: