Berries are a large family, from strawberries to raspberries, blackberries, goji berries, blueberries and so many more. Believe it or not, grapes are botanically classified as berries.
We will review the most easily found red berries as they are in season now.
They are delicious, nutritious and provide a number of impressive health benefits.
They contain fibers, very important for a healthy digestive system, different types of polyphenols. They are loaded with antioxidants, which help keep free radicals under control. They contain several vitamins and minerals in similar quantity except for vitamin C.
For example, strawberries are high in vitamin C, blackberries contain the most vitamin K, raspberries are the highest in vitamin C and contain 2.5 times the amount of fiber as blueberries.
Blueberry or North American Blueberry (Vaccinium Corymbosum)
It is the commercially cultivated variety. They are cultivated in bushes.
The blueberry is a round blue berry about 5–13 mm in diameter with a dark blue color on the outside with a pulp light green. They are easy to transport.
Blueberries are nutrient dense food, with little calories.
They are very high in antioxidants, which not only prevent cell damage but also protect against several types of chronic disease.
They contain a high number of phytonutrients called anthocyanins (due to the deep blue color)
Blueberries are great eaten fresh but also be can frozen.
Blueberries should not be confused with bilberries. In fact outside the US, the bilberry is often referred as a blueberry which brings confusion.
Bilberry or European Blueberry (Vaccinium Myrtillus)
They normally not cultivated but harvested wild. They grow on small shrubs in the northern part of the northern hemisphere. They are also known as European blueberries, whortleberries, huckleberries and blaeberries.
The bilberry is smaller than the blueberry, about 3–10 mm in diameter. It has a darker skin color than the blueberry and is less matte. The pulp is dark blue and stains easily.
The bilberry is known for its high level o anthocyanosides which is said to help prevent free radicals from damaging cells. They have a high concentration of tannins that act as an anti-inflammatory.
They have a higher amount of vitamin C, vitamin E than the cultivated blueberry.
They break easily so they rarely sold like fresh blueberries but are often sold frozen in retail. Bilberries are also found in jams.
There are over 600 varieties of strawberries.
Strawberries are high in the antioxidant, phenols responsible for protecting us from disease and promoting good health.
They help neutralize heavy metals in the body and also detoxes.
Studies show that strawberries may also help protect the brain with a powerful antioxidant capacity.
They are an excellent source of potassium, fibers, many B vitamins, vitamin C vitamin K, manganese, iodine, folate, omega-3 fatty acids, magnesium and copper.
Blackberries are part of the rosacea family. Blackberries are tasty and nutrient dense fruits, they contain a profuse amount of powerful antioxidants which protect the body.
They are an excellent source of vitamin C, vitamin K, manganese, a small serving of 15 berries contains 20 mg of vitamin C and almost 1 mg of manganese they contain polyphenols ( 3 to 5 times higher levels for the wild ones).
They are rich in bioflavonoids. They are low in sodium and are low in calories.
Blackberry can be added to fresh fruit salads, baked goods such as tarts, cakes, and pies or they can be used to prepare jellies or preserves
The plant belongs to the rose (rosacea) family. They are over 200 species of raspberries. The most common is the commercially cultivated Rubus idaeus or European red raspberry.
They are rich in vitamins (C, K), some vitamin E), manganese, dietary fibre.
Raspberries have not only a high concentration of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory phytonutrients but also a great variety of them. Raspberries contain a phonolic compound called ellagic acid but also some anthocyanins and many more.
The amount of these phytonutrients is significant in terms of protecting us against the dangers of oxidative stress and the dangers of excessive inflammation.
In the case of obesity some compounds are receiving special focus, the raspberry ketone (rheosmin) and a type of flavonoid called tiliroside. The rheosmin can increase metabolism in our fat cells.
Raspberries are very fragile, they should be kept in the fridge if not consumed right away, however, they freeze very well.
Berries are some of the healthiest foods on the planet. They can all be healthy dietary additions.
You should include them in your everyday diet, and take advantage of the unique health benefits provided by each.
You can find berries fresh, frozen, dried, or in packaged foods like jam.
Prepare yourself a nice cup of mixed berries everyday.
Berries can be consumed with minimal risk of side effects.
However, some people may be allergic. If you experience any food allergy symptoms such as itching, swelling or difficulty breathing after eating blueberries, discontinue use and talk to your doctor immediately.
All berries should be bought organic to ensure a lower risk of pesticide exposure, however, don’t worry if you can’t find organic, the nutritional benefits of berries outweigh the risks of not eating the produce at all.
Les 150 aliments santé - Marie-Laure André - Alexandra Moro Buronzo - Hachette