Nutrition Articles

The Benefits of Berries

Red, Black & Blue are Berry Good for You!

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Blackberries
Plump, dark and juicy, blackberries are another delicious source of anthocyanin pigments and ellagic acids (both with healthy antioxidant properties), as well as vitamins C and E, fiber and the phytochemical lycopene, which protects eyesight. With anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties, a dose of blackberries may help fight minor infections too.

While the season for fresh blackberries runs from May to July, frozen blackberries can be found all year round. As with other types of berries, treat blackberries with care and wash just before eating. Add blackberries to fruit salad or bake with them as you would raspberries or other fruit. A fresh trifle of layered cake, custard and berries makes a delicious summer dessert. These recipes for blackberries offer more unique ideas.

Strawberries
It's easy to see why strawberries are one of the most popular berries. Fragrant, sweet and juicy, strawberries taste as good as they are for you! This rich source of vitamin C, folate, fiber and B-vitamins also packs phytonutrients and antioxidants, such as phenols, which give strawberries heart-protecting, anti-inflammatory, and anti-cancer properties.

Strawberries reach their peak between April through July when they become widely available and most delicious. They are extremely perishable, so purchase them just a few days prior to use. Look for berries that are mold-free, firm, plump, deep red in color, and shiny—with their green "caps" attached. Avoid those with green or yellow patches, which indicate sourness and poor quality. Make sure that they are not packed too tightly in their container, as this may crush them. Before refrigerating, remove all moldy or damaged strawberries. Strawberries will keep fresh in the refrigerator for one or two days.

Strawberries are often enjoyed with desserts like pies, ice cream, shortcakes, and chocolate. Try plain strawberries, or add them to your morning cereal or yogurt, as a side to your pancakes, or mixed into fruit salad or fresh green salads. Protein-rich smoothies are another great option for strawberries. Expand your palate with a new strawberry recipe.


No matter how you try 'em, berries are healthy foods that do wonders for your body.
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About The Author

Leanne Beattie Leanne Beattie
A freelance writer, marketing consultant and life coach, Leanne often writes about health and nutrition. See all of Leanne's articles.

Member Comments

  • FOXGLOVE999
    While blackberries and raspberries are easy to grow, they can be very invasive. It's best to plant them in an area surrounded by concrete. They spread by underground runners, and can be incredibly difficult to get rid of. - 9/6/2014 6:03:23 PM
  • JANETWARREN
    I'm very fortunate when it comes to blueberries. I live in a place with a short growing season so access to fresh local produce is limited to a few weeks of the year. But in the late summer when the wild blueberries ripen, I have only to drive a short distance and I can find plenty of places to pick as many wild blueberries as I want. We always pick way more than we can use right away. I immediately bake pies, make muffins and add fresh berries to my breakfast and the rest we freeze so we always have a few of the little gems on hand whenever we want to put them in pancakes, muffins or smoothies. Our wild berries are definitely a reason to be happy even as summer is winding down. - 8/25/2014 12:06:57 PM
  • AZURE-SKY
    I stock up on blueberries and strawberries when they're in season and on sale. I wash & slice the strawberries, then put them in a single layer on a cookie sheet that I've lined with parchment paper. I freeze them overnight, then break them apart & put them in freezer bags. For blueberries, I wash them & put them on the cookie sheet, freeze overnight & put them in a freezer bag. This way, I don't have to remember whether or not I washed them. I often put some frozen blueberries in a container of low-fat cottage cheese & pack it for lunch. By the time I'm ready to eat, the berries have thawed.

    I use the frozen strawberries in smoothies, or thaw them in the fridge with a little agave nectar to use in desserts. - 8/7/2011 10:41:51 PM
  • Tonight I made my favorite salad to take with dinner to a friend's house. A platter of cut romaine, red onion rings, sliced strawberries, fresh red raspberries, blueberries, Feta cheese, chopped pecans and raspberry vinaigrette over it. Everyone loved it!!! - 8/6/2011 10:33:58 PM
  • LENOREMM
    A tip about freezing berries - small berries like raspberries freeze best if you spread them out in a single layer and freeze them on a plate or a tray. You can bag them once they're frozen. - 8/6/2011 1:07:29 PM
  • LENOREMM
    Most of these berries are incredibly easy to grow, and taste best - and have the greatest health benefits - when absolutely fresh and in season, which is easiest to achieve when you're producing them yourself. It's also a much, much cheaper way to get fresh produce into your diet. I wish SP would encourage people to grow more of their vegetables and fruits. There are also lots of other berries which are not available commercially but which are just as healthy and taste great - and easy to grow (black currants, red currants, huckleberries....
    ). - 8/6/2011 1:05:06 PM
  • I love berries of all kinds, especially blackberries. There are some wild raspberry bushes down the street, and just yesterday I went and picked a whole container. They're smaller, firmer, brighter, and tastier than store-bought berries. And they were free! Score! - 8/6/2011 8:56:11 AM
  • DUCKYONTHERUN
    I tell all my friends and family who perhaps only have a small patio or a ledge, you can get a small berry plant and have fresh berries now and then. You can't beat the benefits and taste of fresh berries just picked. - 5/15/2011 6:11:04 PM
  • I had no idea that berries were an anti-inflamatory food! - 2/23/2011 10:36:22 AM
  • I bought some blueberries this weekend. The price was a little high, but I wanted a break from oranges, bananas and apples. The berries are rather sweet. I'm happy with my decision. JEC - 1/30/2011 11:48:27 PM
  • Sadly I can't eat berries because of allergies though I love the smell of strawberries - 11/18/2010 12:04:20 PM
  • K_RENEE
    Berries are quite expensive, like many people have said, but have you all tried the "pick and pay" places? There are a couple of small farms around where I live and you can pick your own berries (mainly black berries and strawberries, some raspberries) and the prices are substantially lower than supermarkets. And you know you get the freshest available! - 8/9/2010 5:22:58 PM
  • I agree, berries are crazy expensive. However, as I am lucky enough to be near a farmer's market, I stock up and freeze berries when they are in season. Blueberries have worked out the best for me (freeze in an airtight baggie, do not wash ahead of time. Take out what you need, rinse with warm water in a colander, dump into pancake or other batter. It does not need defrosting). Strawberries only seem to work in things like homemade ice cream or smoothies. I haven't tried freezing raspberries yet, as they get consumed too quickly to put any in the freezer! - 8/6/2010 12:22:54 PM
  • ZANNEKL
    I have a raspberry patch most people would kill for, I like to pick a cup fresh each morning for my yogurt. Sweet and tart are excellent, and vanilla yogurt makes me feel I am eating raspberries and cream enjoy! - 8/6/2010 9:56:48 AM
  • DEBBYPCHEF
    An easy way to add berries to your diet. Walmart sells frozen berries(cost effective) that I add to light yogurt with a sprinkle of high protein, high fiber cereal. It's breakfast everyday, easy & full of nutrients to start the day! - 8/6/2010 9:36:57 AM

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