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Posts Tagged ‘phytochemicals’

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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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power up your salad

Choose colorful vegetables and greens for a nutritious meal.  Lettuce and greens vary in levels of nutrients.  Although paler lettuces, such as iceberg, have some nutritional value, it’s best to choose the deeper, brighter ones – these contain the cancer-fighting antioxidants. Mix and match a variety of colors and textures, such as crunchy romaine tossed with soft, nutrient rich spinach leaves or peppery arugula leaves and add red leaf lettuce.   Spinach contains almost twice the amount of iron of most other greens and is an essential source of nitric oxide which helps dilate the arteries and deliver oxygen.  Arugula is rich in cancer fighting phytochemicals.

Add in tomatoes which are loaded with lycopene- great for your skin and bones.  Black beans, chickpeas or a hard-boiled egg all are good sources of lean protein.  Toss in carrots (great source of beta-carotene and Vitamin C) and artichokes, which aids in digestion.

Add fruits in season, mixed berries, oranges, apples or pears.  Toss with a healthy option salad dressing that is high in monounsaturated fats and low in saturated fat.  Olive oil and vinegar may be a simple tasteful choice.

Written by:  Beth Stefura, M Ed, RD, LD,  Extension Educator, Family & Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension,  stefura.2@osu.edu

Reviewed by:  Cheryl Barber Spires RD, LD, SNAP-Ed Program Specialist, Ohio State University Extension, West Region, spires.53@osu.edu

Sources:

http://www.choosemyplate.gov/food-groups/fruits-why.html

http://www.ars.usda.gov/News/docs.htm?docid=23199

 

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