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Try It Out Tuesday - Berries

Yesterday we talked about saving money by eating foods that are in season and locally grown in your area. Today, going hand in hand with that idea, we are going to talk about adding berries to your diet. Since many fruits and vegetables begin to lose some of their nutritional value after they are picked, eating locally picked (ie. most recently picked) fruit allows you to get the most bang for your buck, nutritionally speaking (and, more often than not, financially speaking as well!) Many berries, particularly strawberries, are in season in the mid spring to early summer (depending on where you live) so now is a great time to try and experiment and find ways to add them into your diet.


Berries have a variety of different health benefits (in addition to being delicious!) According to HeathCastle, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries and strawberries all have very high ORAC scores, which is an indication of the antioxidant content of these fruit.  Additionally, these are four of the top 20 most concentrated food sources of antioxidants. 

As we talked about in Try It Out Tuesdays - Alliums, fruits and veggies are often filled with chemicals called phytonutrients (or phytochemicals), which are naturally occurring beneficial compounds found in plants, and berries are no exception. Often times these phytonutrients are found in the skin of fruit and vegetables, so berries are a great concentrated source, since you always eat the skin! Some of the phytochemicals that are present in berries are polyphenols, which are the same phytochemicals that make both wine and chocolate beneficial to your health. However, unlike wine and chocolate, berries are not fattening or alcoholic, they contain very few calories, and they are full of natural fiber. Overall, they are a win-win food!

In addition, blueberries have the highest ORAC score of the berries. This means they are literally packed full of antioxidants, and have a great capacity to destroy free radicals in your body (a good thing!)  According to the World's Healthiest Foods, blueberries are bursting with the phytochemical anthocyanidins, which help to "neutralize free radical damage to the collagen matrix of cells and tissues that can lead to cataracts, glaucoma, varicose veins, hemorrhoids, ulcers, heart disease, and cancer." Additionally, these same phytochemicals help to reduce blood glucose levels after carbohydrate heavy meals, which can help to prevent the insulin spike the eventually causes your body to become insulin resistant, which results in diabetes. 

Finally, in a recent study by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, they found that eating around one cup of berries every day for eight weeks helped to increase levels of "good" HDL cholesterol while also lowering blood pressure, which are both good news when it comes to keeping a healthy heart.

Ways to Incorporate Them In Your Diet

All in all, berries are a great choice, and can be added to you diet in a multitude of ways. Here are some suggestions:

My only caveat about berries would be that since many berries fall in the dirty dozen produce list, it would be a good idea to try and get them organically grown if at all possible. 

How are you going to try and add berries to your diet this week? I'm going to a Memorial Day Celebration, and I plan on brining a berry trifle. I am also going to get some fresh, organic strawberries and snack on them!


  1. Ah, berries. I do love them, but have to avoid anything "mixed berry" as I'm allergic to blueberries. A berry trifle sounds good, though!

    Personally I love them in a smoothie for breakfast. Strawberries (frozen to add texture) with some milk and cocoa powder make a lovely treat. And if you limit the liquid, it's almost like ice cream!

  2. I love berries! And my kids go crazy for them. My best berry memory and story is from the time our family was vacationing in British Columbia, Canada, and we visited North Arm Farm in Pemberton, BC. There, is a beautiful valley in the shadow of snow covered peaks to the east and west, we picked (organic) strawberries, blueberries and raspberries.
    After stuffing our tummies with sweet, flavorful goodness, I bought canning jars and we made jam in our rental condo. What a great souvenir from our trip!

  3. Oh man! That sounds like a dream come true! I wish there were some pick your own berry farms around where I live. I have great memories of doing that as a kid - my siblings and my dad would go out and pick berries, and we'd bring them home and make cobblers and jams! It was so great, and really connects you with your food when you have the opportunity to pick it straight from the farm! Thanks for sharing your story!