By Janis Jibrin, M.S., R.D., Best Life lead nutritionist
My phytonutrient intake is pretty good year-round, but it skyrockets in the summer thanks to strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries. That’s the time these antioxidant-packed berries are in season, and, finally, affordable!
Here’s why I love each of these berries.
Blueberries. One of nature’s most potent antioxidants—anthocyanins—give these berries their purple-blue color. They’ve been shown to help fight age-related declines in memory and cognition, plus they help keep arteries clear. They’re also delicious—plain, in a crisp, or in these ultra-healthy waffles. This recipe calls for frozen berries, but now that blueberries are in season, you can sub in fresh berries, which will be sweeter and more tender.
Blackberries. A cup of blackberries covers half your manganese needs, a mineral that is critical for healthy bones, acts as an antioxidant, and has a hand in producing brain chemicals. Like blueberries, they also contain anthocyanins, as well as a number of other phytonutrients. Try them in this recipe, which proves that yes, dessert can be healthy.
Raspberries. With 8 grams of fiber and just 65 calories per cup, you’d be hard-pressed to find another fruit offering quite the fiber bang for the calories. They’re also rich in ellagic acid, which has been shown to protect against a variety of cancers. Pair them with soymilk for a high-calcium, power drink.
Strawberries. Not only do these berries douse you with 120 percent of the daily value for vitamin C per cup, but they also contain many of the same phytonutrients as the berries above. Combine strawberries with other vitamin-C- and phytonutrient-rich foods, like these Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Stuffed Strawberries, and you can skip your vitamin tablet for the day!
What’s your favorite way to enjoy berries?