July 15, 2022
During the summer months, you most likely find yourself snacking on a handful of berries or adding them to a salad to sweeten things up. You might not have realized that these little fruit gems are packed with vitamins, minerals, and disease-fighting nutrients. And, while the price drops on fresh berries when they are in season, they are just as nutritious when you enjoy them frozen or dried.
The benefits of berries are abundant. Consider this:
- Fiber – As an excellent source of fiber, berries help us keep the weight off and promote gut health. Their fiber content makes them more filling, keeping us satisfied longer.
- Heart health – By helping us maintain a healthy weight, berries can reduce our risk of a heart attack, prevent diabetes, and lower blood pressure. A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2019 showed that obese and overweight adults who consumed one cup of blueberries every day for six months reported heart health improvements.
- Minerals and vitamins – Berries are an excellent source of potassium, magnesium, and vitamins K and C. Consuming them every day helps to boost immunity.
- Antioxidant properties – While we do not yet have enough evidence to say that a diet rich in antioxidants reduces cancer risk (see our recent blog), antioxidants offer several benefits:
- The antioxidants (anthocyanins) that give berries their vibrant color help fight inflammation caused by stress, unhealthy food choices, and lack of physical activity.
- Blueberries contain antioxidants (flavonoids) that benefit brain health by reducing cognitive decline and dementia risk while improving memory. Studies have also shown that blueberries can give us a mood boost.
- The antioxidant properties of berries coupled with the vitamin C they provide combat fatigue.
Incorporating more berries into your diet is simple because of their versatility. Take a handful in a bag with you as you’re out and about on errands or use them as a side dish to a meal. Add them as toppings to salads, yogurt, and oatmeal. Freeze them to use in smoothies or add them to your water to infuse it with sweet flavor.
To get you started, we share this California-inspired salad recipe from eatingwell.com:
Kale & Avocado Salad With Blueberries and Edamame
6 cups stemmed and coarsely chopped curly kale
1 avocado, diced
1 cup blueberries
1 cup halved yellow cherry tomatoes
1 cup cooked shelled edamame
¼ cup sliced almonds, toasted
½ cup (2 ounces) crumbled goat cheese
¼ cup olive oil
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon minced chives
1½ teaspoons honey
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon salt
Place kale in a large bowl and, using your hands, massage to soften the leaves. Add avocado, blueberries, tomatoes, edamame, almonds, and goat cheese. Combine oil, lemon juice, chives, honey, mustard, and salt in a small bowl or in a jar with a tight-fitting lid. Whisk or shake well. Drizzle the vinaigrette over the salad and toss to combine.
To make ahead: Wash, stem, and chop kale, cook edamame, toast almonds, and make vinaigrette up to one day ahead and refrigerate.
To toast sliced (or chopped) nuts: Place in a small dry skillet and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until fragrant, two-to-four minutes.
OHC’s leading cancer experts are committed to surrounding patients with all they need to beat cancer. Proper nutrition is critical to both cancer prevention and healing. For more information on patient resources offered by OHC or to request a second opinion, call 1-888-649-4800 or visit ohcare.com.Comments (0)