SUPERFOOD SPOTLIGHT: BLUEBERRIES & BLACKBERRIES
COMMON FRUIT – EXTRAORDINARY HEALTH
By Stefanie Cassetto
You don’t have to look too far to find these superfoods. In fact, you may already purchase them on a regular basis or have them in your fridge. The term “superfood” refers to natural foods regarded as especially beneficial because of its nutrient profile or its health-protecting qualities.
Blueberries and blackberries may be common, but they boast extraordinary health benefits. The first reason is they are antioxidant powerhouses.
Antioxidants are molecules that fight against “free radicals” in our body that speed up aging and tear down our immune system. Both blackberries and blueberries, like all other berries, contain the antioxidant called ellagic acid. This antioxidant may have anti-cancer properties and protects the skin from ultraviolet damage.
Blueberries are also low in calories, high in water, vitamin C, potassium and fiber helping you to feel full longer and can lower your risk of heart disease and cancer. They are also anti-inflammatory, making this berry very valuable for those facing chronic diseases. Research has also shown that blueberries have the potential to slow and possibly reverse diseases that are associated with the aging of the brain. This is good news with Alzheimer’s and dementia on the rise.
Blackberries contain vitamin K, fiber, phytoestrogens, and lots of vitamin C along with many other incredible nutrients. Benefits of these nutrients include healthy digestion, brain and heart health, and normal clotting of the blood.
EASY TO EAT…NATURALLY
Blueberries have only 80 calories per cup and almost no fat. While blackberries have around 62 calories and also very little fat. In their natural state both make a great breakfast or snack and are easy to sprinkle in a salad. If you are unable to find fresh blueberries or blackberries, frozen berries are a great alternative and still retain the benefits of the raw berry. To kick the health benefits up a notch, these berries can be mixed into yogurt, pancakes, muffins, or smoothies.
Next time you walk by these “superberries” in the store, don’t hesitate to add them to your weekly menu line-up. You can’t beat the sweetness of these fruits or their benefits to your health.