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Healthy Recipe Doctor

with Elaine Magee, MPH, RD

Elaine Magee's blog has now been retired. We appreciate all the wisdom and support she has brought to the WebMD community throughout the years.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Berry Best


Photo: Jupiterimages / © Getty Images

Why You Should be Eating Berries

Berries are brimming with nutrients and phytochemicals. Blackberries, raspberries, and strawberries, for example, contain several types of bioflavonoids and — along with blueberries — some phenolic acids. Both of those phytochemical families have powerful antioxidant duties in the body and help protect against disease in several different ways.

Berries contain ellagic acid (especially strawberries and raspberries) that lab studies suggest may help prevent several cancers. Ellagic acid seems to use several different anticancer methods at once — it acts as an antioxidant, it helps the body deactivate specific carcinogens, and it helps slow the reproduction of cancer cells. Blueberries contain a family of phenolic compounds called anthocyanosides, which seem to be among the most potent antioxidants yet discovered.

Five Easy and Creative Ways to Add Berries to Everyday Eating

  • Every time you enjoy hot or cold cereal, sprinkle some berries over the top.
  • Every time you enjoy yogurt or frozen yogurt, stir some berries in.
  • Berries also make a colorful and flavorful featured ingredient in green salads and fruit salads. My all time favorite salad is spinach greens topped with berries, walnuts or pecans, and blue cheese — dressed in a raspberry or balsamic vinaigrette.
  • Berries at breakfast! Berries can be a star ingredient in muffins and pancakes and the perfect topper for French toast and waffles.
  • Enjoy berries year round — use frozen berries when they aren’t in season.

The Frozen Berry Bonus

What about frozen berries — are they as beneficial? Frozen berries are usually flash frozen at the peak of harvest (when nutrient content is high). When food is frozen it likewise “freezes” the deterioration of the food and loss of nutrients. You can usually add frozen berries straight from the freezer into your recipes and dishes. I love that with frozen berries, you won’t ever need to throw any away due to mold.

What’s your favorite way to enjoy berries?

Posted by: Elaine Magee, RD at 8:05 am

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