Summer is finally here! The season of cookouts, vacations and best of all farmers markets with all of our favorite fruits and vegetables. Berries, a popular choice for many of us, are currently abundant in grocery stores and farmers markets for a low price. These sweet, juicy and refreshing fruits are packed with nutrients and health benefits. Here are some reasons to add the variety of berries to your diet.
Blueberries: Blueberries get their deep blue color from a phytonutrient compound called anthocyanins. Anthocyanins contain antioxidants and other undefined chemical properties that have been shown to support good vision, mental health, brain development, prevent cancer and cardiovascular disease. Enjoy blueberries frozen as mini popsicles on a hot summer day, blend them in a smoothie or add them to a salad to pump up your antioxidant intake. Tip: chose firm, plump, and dry blueberries with a dusty blue color. Refrigerate for 1-2 weeks.
Raspberries: Did you know raspberries come in a variety of colors including black, purple, red and gold? Like blueberries, raspberries are packed with antioxidants and also fiber. 1 cup of raspberries has 7g of fiber, which is more fiber than a bran muffin. Fiber plays an important role in controlling blood sugars, keeping you full throughout the day and regulating bowel movements. Tip: choose raspberries that are dry, plump and firm. Wash when ready to eat. Refrigerate for 1-2 days.
Strawberries: Strawberries, the classic favorite, have 160% daily value of vitamin C which is more vitamin C than an orange! These immune-boosting fruits are also high in folate which helps the body make new cells. Tip: choose strawberries that are shiny, bright red and with intact green caps. Wash strawberries when ready to eat. Refrigerate for 1-3 days.
Blackberries: Blackberries are rich in antioxidants and like blueberries have anthocyanins, a powerful antioxidants that protect the body from oxidative stress. Blackberries are also excellent sources of fiber with 5g of fiber per 1 cup serving. Enjoy them fresh or frozen as a snack, over yogurt, or in smoothie. Tip: choose blackberries that are shiny, not bruised or leaking. Refrigerate for 3-6 days.
~Ivy Mumo, Registered Dietician, Georgetown University