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Power Foods or Super Foods have become the rage. These foods are packed with vitamins, nutrients and/or minerals that contain special properties for health, disease prevention and/or longevity. Basically, every calorie in these foods have a purpose and provide meaningful benefits to you and your health…hence the antithesis of foods with ‘empty calories.’
Berries, in particular are a fantastic power food. Although most fruits are great sources of nutrients; blueberries, blackberries, strawberries and raspberries pack a lot of punch in a rather small serving.
Berries are especially high in antioxidants and phytoflavinoids (compounds that protect our bodies from stress). Specifically, they contain the antioxidant anthocyanin, which is said to have triple the stress-fighting power of vitamin C and is known to block cancer-causing damage and the effects of many age-related diseases. These tasty little bites also are great sources of potassium, vitamin C and fiber.
- Lower risk of heart disease
- Lower risk of cancer
- Act as anti-inflammatory (helpful with all chronic diseases)
- Help boost memory as a result of enhanced brain function from antioxidants
- Fresh berries help with weight management as they are high in water and low in calories
Berries can be integrated into your diet easily: with yogurt, on cereal, blended in smoothies, and for an extra tasty indulgence, use them in pies.
Selection: The more color the berries have, the more antioxidants, vitamins and minerals they have. Berries not in season? You can still benefit greatly from dried berries and frozen berries. Note, however, that dried berries are higher in calories due to the loss of water. Frozen berries, on the other hand, have similar nutritional value as do fresh berries. You can either buy berries pre-packaged frozen or stock up on fresh berries in the summer, and freeze them in small plastic bags for use year round. Those that come pre-packaged are said to have even more nutritional value, because in the flash-freezing process, the berries are at their prime and retain their nutrients better than those that stand in a grocery for a couple of days.
Serving: 1/2 – 1 cup per day