I tell everyone to eat blueberries every day, all year long. They are a Superfood by any definition, and in the summer, they burst with sweetness and come in a variety of different sizes. If you have access to a farmers market, take advantage!
The health benefits of all berries are numerous. They are among the most delicious and healthful foods you can eat, and an important part of a balanced diet for health, longevity and a better biome
Try adding a variety of berries to your diet. Be brave. Go out and add something new that maybe you currently aren’t eating. Consuming a variety of different foods, especially colorful plant foods, is best for you and your microbiome. With berries in particular, each type contains unique vitamins, minerals, and protective phytonutrients that support various functions in the body and long-term health, and promote diversity in our microbiome. For example, blueberries and blackberries are particularly high in anthocyanins, which is responsible for their deep blue and purple hues and help to fight oxidative stress, slow the progression of aging and age-related diseases. Strawberries are high in Vitamin C, an antioxidant that also plays a key role in supporting our immune function.
All berries are high in dietary fiber, which promotes fullness, healthy digestion
HOW I EAT THEM FOR A BETTER BIOME
I enjoy berries daily throughout the season in a variety of meals, snacks and sweet treats. I love them on top of lactose-free cottage cheese or alongside eggs at breakfast or dressed up with fresh mint for a low-fuss summer dessert. For something a little more festive, I’ll serve mixed berries with the delicious cashew cream. You can also use frozen berries as they have the same nutritional content.
When it comes to purchasing berries, try to purchase organic when possible, especially with strawberries, which are on the EWG’s dirty dozen list (an annual list featuring fruits and vegetables that ranked highest in pesticide contamination). I understand that buying organic is not always possible. If you can’t buy organic due to cost or availability, I still recommend you include berries in your daily food intake this summer to reap all of their nutritional benefits, but it’s important to make sure you wash them well, ideally with warm water over a strainer.
When washing berries, some berries can and should be washed after purchasing and prior being stored in the refrigerator, whereas some should be washed immediately before consumption to avoid spoilage:
- Wash immediately: strawberries, blackberries, mulberries
- Wash when you’re ready to eat: raspberries, blueberries
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Robin Berlin is a registered dietitian and member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics as well as the American Dietetic Association. Robin holds a BA in Mass Media Communications and a BS in Dietetics and Nutrition. In addition, she earned a “Certification in Adult Weight Management” from the American Dietetic Association.