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Berry Blast

By CATHY BREITENBUCHER

June 2013

Itís fresh berry season ó time for raspberries in your morning smoothie, a handful of blueberries or blackberries with lunch, and chin-dripping strawberries as an afternoon snack.

Eat up, because berries are packed with vitamins and fiber for cardiovascular health and reduced risk of diabetes. Their antioxidants gobble up free radicals ó damaged cells that can lead to a host of chronic diseases including cancer and Parkinsonís disease, according to WebMD.

Need more convincing? Several university studies now say eating wild blueberries may improve eye health and brain function, and even slow cognitive decline and improve memory in the elderly.

"Berries are definitely an all-star in the fruit category, and blueberries are grand slam all-stars," says Tammy Gallow, preventative cardiology dietitian for ProHealth Care.

Dark berries are part of an overall plan for healthy eating for athletes and couch potatoes alike, Gallow says. "If we are eating real (nonprocessed) foods, mainly plants, and getting our proper serving, we are going to get the gazillions of antioxidants that are present," she adds.

Come winter, frozen berries may be more convenient and economical than fresh, and thatís just fine, Gallow notes. Do be aware that frozen berriesí antioxidant power fades after about six months. One hint: "If the berries are clumping together in the bag, they probably have been thawed and refrozen in transit," Gallow warns.





 

This story ran in the June 2013 issue of: