Berries are a staple of the spring season. Rich, colorful, and bursting with flavor, berries are a delicious treat and they come in many varieties. Each type has its own unique taste and texture.
One of the best things about berries is their versatility. They can stand on their own as a snack or side dish, but they can also be added as toppings on many different foods. You can eat them fresh, frozen, or freeze-dried. Pretty much everyone in the family is likely to enjoy at least one or two varieties of berries. In other words, they are PERFECT for celebrating spring and for adding a seasonal twist to your meals!
Health Benefits of Berries
Berries are a heart-healthy food. Studies show that blackberries, strawberries, and others can reduce bad cholesterol (LDL). They can also prevent LDL cholesterol from becoming oxidized or damaged – a major risk factor for heart disease.
Furthermore, berries are great for improving the function of your arteries. They help the cells that line your blood vessels control blood pressure, prevent clots, and perform other important tasks that may be inhibited by inflammation.
Keep your stomach from growling! Berries are an excellent source of soluble fiber. Fiber helps slow down the movement of food through your digestive tract and can also help you stay fuller for longer periods of time. High fiber also means lower carb counts.
If you’re not as hungry, you’ll probably eat less. Managing your hunger and appetite is a key component in weight management and calorie control.
Berries are high in antioxidants that keep free radicals under control. They protect your cells from oxidative stress and help reduce your disease risk, including some cancers. Consider them an all-around defender against unwanted stress.
In addition to their disease-fighting properties, antioxidants help control inflammation. Chronic inflammation is thought to contribute to conditions like diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. They’re also amazing for your skin, helping to reduce wrinkling and damage with age.
Vitamins and Minerals
Berries may be low in calories, but they’re extremely high in nutrients. Several vitamins and minerals can be found in any one berry, including calcium, vitamin C, manganese, folate, iron, and vitamin B6. All of these properties boost your health and keep you running strong.
Low-Calorie Count and Versatility
High-calorie foods tend to tip the scale, but the calorie counts of berries are extremely low. A typical serving of berries is about one cup, which equals about 125-150 calories depending on the type you choose. For a filling snack to curb you over midday, that’s not bad at all!
Even better – berries are extremely versatile. You can eat them on your own or use them in yogurt, breakfast foods, salads, smoothies, jams, and more.
Ways to Eat More Berries
- Pack them in your lunchbox in a Ziploc bag or sturdy container as a stand-alone snack. Make sure they don’t get soft and mushy while being stored.
- Mix them into your oatmeal for breakfast.
- Throw them on top of your salad with some nuts like almonds for protein.
- Create a colorful fruit salad for dessert.
- Make a smoothie with different types of berries and reduced-fat yogurt.
- Sprinkle them on top of low-sugar Greek yogurt for a burst of added flavor.
- Saute them in a pan to make a compote that you can pour over chicken, etc.
For additional tips on incorporating more berries into your diet, click here for suggestions from a registered dietitian who loves to cook with these super fruits!