Thursday, 3 July 2014

Strawberries and Blueberries - Colourful and Very Nutritious

In the United States, strawberries and blueberries are often part of a traditional July 4th dessert. Strawberries are a very healthy choice to represent the red component of the U.S. flag, while blueberries are a great representation of the blue part. When the berries are combined with a topping such as low fat plain or vanilla yogurt, a dessert that is both patriotic and nutritious is created.

Photo by Daniele Pellati, public domain
Strawberries and blueberries are very healthy at any time of year. Fresh berries are best, but when these aren't available frozen berries are a great substitute. Neither fruit needs to be sweetened, since they both contain natural sugars. If you're accustomed to adding sugar to your berries, it's an excellent idea to get your palate used to the delicious but milder sweetness of the natural berries. Your body will thank you.

Berries are healthiest when raw. Heating and cooking destroys some of their nutrients, including their vitamin C. Raw strawberries are loaded with vitamin C and are a great source of fibre. Other nutrients present in significant amounts are manganese, potassium and folate. Strawberries are low in fat, sodium and calories. Like all food from plants, they contain no cholesterol.

Vitamin C is an antioxidant. Antioxidants are chemicals that may prevent some types of cell damage. Another antioxidant in strawberries is ellagic acid, which is an interesting chemical. In lab equipment and laboratory animals, ellagic acid has killed cancer cells and inhibited the growth of tumours. This doesn't necessarily mean that it has the same effect in humans, but the possibility is there.

Photo by PublicDomainPictures
Like strawberries, blueberries are rich in nutrients and are low in fat, calories and sodium. They are a very good source of vitamin K, vitamin C and manganese and are a good source of fibre. Blueberries are also known for their beneficial effects on memory. Researchers have shown that eating blueberries can boost both memory and reasoning skills.

Strawberries and blueberries are too healthy to be restricted to Independence Day celebrations.  The sweetest fruits are surprisingly high in sugars, even though the sugars are natural. These fruits should probably be limited in the diet. Berries contain less sugar and should be eaten frequently. Their nutritional benefits are too good to miss.