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Posts Tagged ‘Blueberries’

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As we work our way into the warmer summer months, I have one thing on my mind…fresh local berries! Local berries have a completely different flavor profile than the ones often found in the grocery store. They are ripe, juicy, and very sweet. Not only do these berries add some sweetness to your diet, they also pack a punch nutritionally. Some important components of berries include anthocyanins, antioxidants, dietary fiber, phytochemicals, and Vitamin C.

Anthocyanins are power antioxidants from the blue, purple, and red color pigments that are found in berries. They have been associated with:

  • reduced risk of cancer
  • improved urinary tract health
  • improved memory
  • helping with aging

Antioxidants neutralize free radicals in the body to keep our cells healthy.  Dietary fiber 1) helps to keep our GI system healthy 2) lowers our risk for heart disease 3) reduces our blood cholesterol levels and 4) may prevent some cancers. Phytochemicals are naturally occurring antioxidants that have a disease-fighting, cell-protecting antioxidant capacity. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant and a water soluble vitamin.

  • One cup of strawberries provides over 150% of your daily value for Vitamin C, contains folate, fiber, and antioxidants.
  • Blueberries contain about 85 calories per cup, and are loaded with antioxidants.berry
  • Blackberries contain less than 50 calories per cup, have a high antioxidant content, and contain anthocyanins.
  • Raspberries contain about 50 calories per cup, are rich in some flavonoids, and also play a role to keep cells healthy.

Did that convince you to add these nutritious little berries to your diet? The price of berries will go down as the season is approaching.

Another way to get your hands on some berries (besides the grocery store) is to pick them yourself! Pick-your-own is a great way to support local farmers and have fresh produce. Make it a family outing to maximize the amount you can pick! Look at http://www.pickyourown.org/OH.htm to find a pick-your-own farm near you. These berries are great eaten plain, added to a yogurt parfait, blended into a smoothie, baked into a fresh fruit pie, added into a refreshing drink, or can even be frozen to enjoy year round! What sounds delicious to you?

Author: Ashley Parsons, BGSU Dietetic Intern with Wood County Extension and Susan Zies, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences

Reviewer:  Cheryl Barber Spires, RD, LD, SNAP-Ed Program Assistant, Ohio State University Extension, spires.53@osu.edu

References:

Strawberry Nutrition.” Driscoll’s. Driscolls, n.d. Web. 03 May 2016.

http://www.driscolls.com/nutrition-health/berry-nutrition-facts/strawberry-nutrition

“Blueberry Nutrition Facts And Health Benefits.” Driscoll’s. Driscolls, n.d. Web. 03 May 2016.

http://www.driscolls.com/nutrition-health/berry-nutrition-facts/blueberry-nutrition

“Blackberry Nutrition.” Driscoll’s. Driscolls, n.d. Web. 03 May 2016.

http://www.driscolls.com/nutrition-health/berry-nutrition-facts/blackberry-nutrition

“Raspberry Nutrition.” Driscoll’s. Driscolls, n.d. Web. 03 May 2016.

http://www.driscolls.com/nutrition-health/berry-nutrition-facts/raspberry-nutrition

“Fact Sheets.” For Blackbe_wp_link_placeholderrries, Blueberries, Raspberries, and Strawberries ~ Connecting Berry Health Benefit Researchers. Oregon Raspberry & Blackberry Commission, n.d. Web. 03 May 2016.

http://berryhealth.fst.oregonstate.edu/health_healing/fact_sheets/

Photo Credit: Ashley Parsons, Photographs taken at Schooner Farms; Weston, Ohio and Red Wagon Farm, Columbia Station, Ohio

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Fresh Blueberries

Fresh Blueberries

As acknowledged by the North American Blueberry Council and the United States Department of Agriculture, July is Blueberry Month.  What a tasty celebration this will be!  In addition to the wonderful flavor that blueberries provide, there are also many health benefits related to consuming these juicy fruits.  Some recent research suggests the following:

  • Consuming blueberries on a regular basis may assist in lowering cholesterol levels.  A study in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry from 2010 looked at hamsters, which have cholesterol levels that are raised by high-fat foods similarly to humans.  These hamsters were fed high-fat foods and then provided blueberry juice and or skins total cholesterol in the hamsters given blueberry supplements had total blood cholesterol levels 22 to 27 percent less than hamsters that did not receive blueberries.  Very low density lipoprotein levels (VLDL) in the blood were also lower by a Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry about 44% for the hamsters consuming blueberries.
  • Blueberry consumption may improve heart health by lessening the build-up of plaque in the arteries.  Also in 2010 a Journal of Nutrition article stated that mice were used to look at plaque build-up in the aortas, and that mice that were given forms of blueberries had at least 39% less build-up than mice that did not eat blueberry powder.

Other studies are looking to see if there are correlations between blueberry ingestion and decreased risk of breast cancer and stronger bones, thus helping in the prevention of osteoporosis.

We know that blueberries are packed with vitamin C, fiber and potassium which help us build up immunity, maintain healthy blood sugar levels in persons with diabetes, and enhance nerve and muscle function.

Back to the part about blueberries tasting great!  The University of Maine has a factsheet with good info and tasty recipes that include blueberries.  Try one out for yourself as you celebrate National Blueberry Month.

Lemon, Blueberry Chicken Salad and Blueberry Scones

Sources:

Fishman, Lisa and Nellie Hedstrom. “Wild Blueberries.” 2008. The University of Maine Cooperative Extension Publications. 8 July 2013 <http://umaine.edu/publications/4263e/&gt;.

Wood, M. “Agricultual Research Service.” May/June 2011. United States Department of Agriculture. 8 July 2013 <http://www.ars.usda.gov/is/AR/archive/may11/fruit0511.htm&gt;.

Author:  Cheryl Barber Spires, R.D., L.D., West Region Program Specialist, SNAP-Ed, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension.

Reviewer:  Elizabeth Smith, R.D., L.D. Northeast Region Program Specialist, SNAP-Ed, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension.

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