Local Berries – Bountiful Benefits

Local Berries – Bountiful Benefits

If you have ever had the pleasure of picking berries right from a garden, gathering wild berries in the woods, picking them at a local farm, or buying local berries from the farmer’s market, you already know how wonderful fresh berries are this time of year.

Most berries are naturally sweet and require little effort to prepare. Just rinse them under water and serve as a nutritious snack or dessert.  There is nothing better than a fresh, local strawberry that is red throughout and juicy and sweet inside.

Nutrition facts and health benefits:

  • Most berries are rich in vitamin C with 80-100 mg per cup, almost as much as a cup of orange juice and only 60 calories!
  • The pigments that give berries their beautiful blue and red hues are also good for your health.
  • Berries contain phytochemicals and flavonoids that may help to prevent some forms of cancer.
  • Cranberries and blueberries contain a substance that may prevent bladder infections.
  • Blueberries and raspberries contain lutein, which is important for healthy vision.
  • Eating a diet rich in berries may help to reduce your risk of several types of cancers.

Look for ripe, colorful and firm berries with no sign of mold or mushy spots. Berries can also be found in the frozen section. Buy them fresh and in season and freeze them yourself for a yummy treat to be enjoyed during cold, winter months. Frozen berries, once thawed, will not be as firm as freshly picked berries, but they are still delicious and good for you!

“Berry” good ways to eat berries:

Most berries, such as strawberries, blueberries and raspberries are sweet enough to be served just as they are; but here are some more ideas:

  • Top a bowl of berries with a dollop of light-whipped topping and a sprinkling of chopped pecans or walnuts.
  • Add strawberry slices to a bowl of whole grain cereal.
  • Sprinkle blueberries on a salad or in a bowl of oatmeal.
  • Combine frozen berries with bananas and low-fat milk to make a smoothie.

Most importantly… Enjoy!