WHY I CHOOSE BERRIES AS A STAPLE ON MY SHOPPING LIST
Those bold, bright colours, the juicy sweet and sour taste and that satisfaction you get when you eat a bowl of these little berries. Berries contain an abundance of minerals, vitamins and phytochemical (which as micronutrients found in most plant foods and which studies are showing to have a diverse range of benefits on the body), whether eaten frozen or fresh!
Berries are the premium fruit choice with minimal irritation on the gut or digestion. Being a long term suffer of Irritable Bowel Syndrome, these are my first choice of fruit.
So why should you add them to your shopping list?
Weight management & digestive health - One serving of berries (1 cup) contains less than 10g of sugar. Berries make the perfect snack and addition to your breakfast muesli, yogurt or smoothie. Like most fruits, berries contain fibre, but berries specifically are high in dietary fibre. One cup of raspberries contains 8 grams of fibre. Fibre is a necessary component of our diet as it helps maintain a healthy digestive and immune system, and increase satisfaction after consumption, which allows for weight control.
Reduce oxidative stress - Berries contain phytonutrients known as polyphenols such as anthocyanin. Oxidative stress occurs when there is an interruption in the production of free radicals and antioxidant defences. In a nutshell, these free radicals are highly reactive particles that want to find a mate. They are unstable and can cause extreme stress in the body. In the process of finding their mate they destroy cell membranes (which help protect our cells), important enzymes (which are necessary for biological processes to occur) and DNA in the body. To stop these free radicals floating around in our body and causing diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular disease and diabetes, we must ensure we consume foods that reduce oxidative stress. Berries contain large amounts of antioxidants which help combat oxidative stress in the body.
Helps cognitive function - In addition to reducing oxidative stress, the polyphenol, anthocyanin, also has benefits for the cognitive functioning of the brain. Studies have shown that these compounds enhance neuronal communication. Other studies have shown that moderate dietary intake of berries is capable of altering cognitive performance, improving memory function and enhancing overall cognition and depression.
Rich in Vitamin C - Vitamin C is a water soluble vitamin and a potent antioxidant. We all know that vitamin C is the best vitamin for flu and cold prevention and recovery, but it is one of the most readily available nutrients necessary for the rebuilding of tissue, bones and blood vessels, and boosting brain function. Berries are one of the top 10 foods which contain a large amount of vitamin C which can be absorbed by the body on consumption. More specifically, one serving of strawberries contains half our recommended daily intake of vitamin C (which is more than an orange!!).
Anti-inflammatory - Berries are useful for fighting inflammatory conditions and diseases such as arthritis. Anthocyanins has been found to contain anti-inflammatory properties. These phytonutrients are thought to switch off the enzyme that leads to the body’s inflammatory response and can assist with muscle repair after an intense workout, due to their ability to reduce oxidative stress and inflammation of the muscles.
With all those benefits, who wouldn't want to add them to their shopping list.
If you are looking for a way to incorporate them into your breakfast and daily meals why not try my three minute breakfast berry smoothie!
Three minute Breakfast Berry Smoothie (1 serving)
Add the following ingredients to your blender and BLEND:
- 1 cup of mixed berries (or a single berry of your choice)
- 1.5 cups almond milk (or any other milk of your choice - I like the nut taste with the berries)
- ½ banana
- 1 cup baby spinach
- 2 tablespoons of LSA
- 1 tablespoon chia seeds
- 1 teaspoon honey (optional)
- 1 tablespoon coconut desiccated (optional)