Berry good for you

Besides tasting delicious and being a quick and easy food to prepare, berries are also packed with nutrition, often referred to as super foods. Experts suggest eating a serving of berries two times per week to get the most benefit. We have berries almost on a daily basis at our house. I like to snack on them or put them on salads. My two-year-old loves them, especially in his yogurt.

BLACKBERRIES: composed of about 80 percent water and healthful fiber, these berries can contribute to weight loss, lower elevated cholesterol levels or manage type II diabetes. The folate in blackberries may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and helps maintain healthy hair. The rich blue-black color indicates exceptionally high levels of healthful antioxidants.

STRAWBERRIES: providing 160 percent of the recommended daily amount of Vitamin C for immune support, strawberries are also rich in folate, fiber and potassium (for healthy blood pressure). The red anthocyanins in strawberries help protect cells from damage by harmful molecules. Strawberries are also a source of essential vitamins B1 and B5 (pantothenic acid) for energy, as well as manganese for bone growth.

RASPBERRIES: abundant in antioxidants, raspberries are particularly noted for their content of ellagic acid, a potent cancer fighter. High in fiber (4 g per cup), vitamin C, manganese and niacin, raspberries have a mild flavor but a powerful nutritional impact.

BLUEBERRIES: phytonutrients in blueberries protect cells from damage that may lead to cataracts, glaucoma, peptic ulcers, heart disease and even cancer. Also a good source of vitamin C, blueberries are an excellent source of manganese for cell production. Eating blueberries may protect the brain from oxidative stress and help guard against age-related dementia.

Freezing berries can help you enjoy them all year long and is easy to do. Simply wash the berries and lay flat on a baking sheet line with wax paper. Once they are frozen, put into freezer bags and keep for up to six months. Frozen berries work well in making smoothies, jams or jellies, pies, muffins and fruit salads. Try blending frozen berries with a little sweetener and use to top ice cream, mix into Greek yogurt or even serve on pancakes and waffles.

July is National Berry Month, celebrate with this recipe:

The information is not intended as medical advice. Please consult a medical professional for individual advice.

Katie Wilhelmi is a registered dietitian at the New Ulm Hy-Vee.

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