By Carey Kingsbury
Berries have long been my secret weapon for natural health. These tart and juicy, yet slightly sweet fruits are fun to eat for snacks on the go and their vibrant colors make juices, smoothies, salads and baked goods enticing for the whole family.
In fact, the bright colors are what give berries their natural health properties. The reds, blues, and purple tones come from anthocyanin compounds, which are anitoxidants. Blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, blackberries, grapes, pomegranates, and even eggplant all contain anthocyanins. These antioxidants protect our cells from free radical damage, and are associated with improved memory function, cardiovascular health, lower risk of certain cancers, and anti-aging.
A recent study by the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston found that women who regularly ate berries (at least three servings per week) over a twenty year period were 32 percent less likely to suffer a heart attack. It is believed that the anthocyanins may help dilate arteries and counter the buildup of plaque and offer other cardiovascular benefits.
Do you really need to be concerned about heart health? Well, according to the Heart Foundation, “Heart disease is the number one cause of death for both men and women in the United States, claiming approximately 1 million lives annually.” As a mom I want to protect myself and my family especially when it comes to heart health.
It’s quite easy to get at least three servings of berries into your diet on a weekly basis. I like to purchase whatever berries are in season or on sale and I buy in bulk. After I clean the berries (dry them off so they don’t get mold) I divide them into one cup servings and bag them. Some of the bags go into the freezer for smoothies later and some of the bags stay in the refrigerator to make juices.
To make a delicious berry juice I use one cup grapes, one cup blueberries or raspberries, a few strawberries and either one cup pineapple or one apple. This will yield one serving of juice.
Try out some of Reboot’s delicious smoothies with berries:
Green Berry Bliss Smoothie