Berry Good for You

Berry Good for You

 by Barbara Cox ,The Nutrichef

What is a Berry?

Look at your watch and give yourself 20 seconds to name as many berries as you can!

The biological definition of a berry is a fleshy fruit that usually has many seeds; it is made from a single ovary and its middle and inner layers are not distinct from each other.

No doubt you thought of blueberries and cranberries, and you may have thought of goji berries and elderberries, but I wonder if you came up with blackcurrants, cherries, grapes and tomatoes, or even dates and bananas, all of which technically are berries (cherries and dates are one-seeded berries). Perhaps even more surprisingly is that to be really strict you could remove blackberries, raspberries and strawberries from your list, as these are actually ’aggregate fruits’ that consist of a number of smaller fruits.


Berries for Health

Berries and aggregate fruits like blackberries, raspberries and strawberries are among the healthiest foods on the planet. The reason they are so amazing is that they are a great source of phytochemicals naturally occurring chemicals which help to neutralise harmful free radicals.

Free radicals are by-products of normal biochemical processes that take place in each and every one of us. They are actually utilised by the body to kill bacteria and fight inflammation, but, when they build up to excessive levels, they may begin to damage protein, DNA, cells and tissue through a process called oxidation.

Phytochemicals have an antioxidant effect that protects body cells from cancer and cardiovascular disease. The prefix phyto- actually means plant, but, given the nature of their role, these vital nutrients could just as easily be named ’fighto-chemicals’!

There are dozens of different phytochemicals, including the following ones that are particularly abundant in berries:


  • Anthocyanins found in blackcurrants, blueberries, cherries,      cranberries and red currants. Also found in red /     purplish vegetables like red cabbage and beetroot


  • Ellagic acid - found in grapes, pomegranates, raspberries and     strawberries. It is an antioxidant that reduces the     effects of estrogen and may help the liver break     down cancer-causing substances in the blood.


  • Lycopene -  found in tomatoes, it is a bright red carotene with     strong antioxidant properties. Studies show that it     may protect against a variety of cancers as well as     cardiovascular disease. Also found in water      melon and papaya.


  • Pterostilbene - found in blueberries and grapes. It is similar in      structure and function to resveratrol, an antioxidant     found in grapes and red wine.


  • Resveratrol - found in red grapes, blueberries and pomegranates.     It is believed to play a part in fighting a variety of     different cancers.


The ORAC League Table

Scientists have come up with a way of comparing the degree to which fruit and vegetables can protect against free radical damage in the body. It is the ORAC score, where ORAC stands for Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity.

The left-hand side of the table below shows the ORAC scores for a variety of berries. The scores for various vegetables on the right-hand side of the table show that berries are in general a more concentrated source of antioxidants than vegetables.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Berry


 

 

ORAC

 

Vegetable

 

ORAC

 

Goji Berries

 

25300

 

Kale

 

1770

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cranberries

 

1750

 

Broccoli

 

890

 

Strawberries

 

1540

 

Beetroot

 

841

 

Raspberries

 

1220

 

Red Pepper

 

713

 

Plums

 

949

 

Onion

 

450

 

Cherries

 

670

 

Cauliflower

 

377

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Acai Berry

 

18500

 

Spinach (raw)

 

1260

 

Prunes

 

5770

 

Brussels’ Sprouts

 

980

 

Blueberries

 

2400

 

Alfalfa Sprouts

 

930

 

Blackberries

 

2036

 

Spinach (steamed)

 

909

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Barbara’s Berry Recipes

Berries are perfect as a snack in their own right or for sprinkling onto a bowl of cereals. If you’re feeling more adventurous, why not try my smoothie, sauce or sorbet?


Mixed Berry Smoothie

 

 

Ingredients


  • cup raspberries

  • cup blueberries

  • cup strawberries

  • cup pitted cherries

  • 1 tbsp organic blackcurrant cordial

  • 2 cups filtered water

Directions

Blend all ingredients in a blender and serve chilled.


 

Lady in Red Cranberry Sauce

 

Ingredients


  • 200g cranberries (dried)

  • 1 orange (peel and juice)

  • 1 cup apple juice

Directions


  • Boil all ingredients together until soft (approx 10 minutes).


  • Cool and then blend until smooth.


  • You can add more apple juice depending on the consistency of sauce required.

This sauce is a great compliment for fish, meat and vegetables.


 

The Big Chill Berry Sorbet

 

Ingredients


  • 1 punnet raspberries

  • 1 punnet strawberries

  • 1 punnet blueberries

  • cup of cherry juice

  • 2 cups filtered water

Directions

Blend all ingredients and freeze in ice lolly holders or in a big container. Serve in a bowl with sprigs of fresh garden mint.


 

Berry-Based Supplements

 

It is essential to eat a wide variety of fruit and vegetables in order to provide the wide range of nutrients we need for the numerous biochemical processes that are happening inside us each and every day. Unfortunately, due to impoverished soil as a result of over-farming, as well as the length of time it takes for produce to travel from field to supermarket shelf, fruit and vegetables do not always provide us with the quality of nutrients that they once did. It is, therefore, wise to take a supplement that will provide us a range of nutrients, especially phytochemical antioxidants.

The following 5 supplements are all berry-based and very good:


  1. Cherry Active (liquid) contains 100% Montmorency Cherry Juice


  2. Monavie (liquid) contains acai berry, apple, grape, pear, pineapple, cranberry, passionfruit, elderberry, prune, kiwi, blueberry, blackberry, wolfberry, plus many more


  3. Source of Life Red Lightening (powder) contains pomegranate, wolfberry, noni, mangosteen, acai, cranberry, red and black raspberry plus many more


  4. Zambroza (liquid) contains mangosteen, raspberry, wolfberry, blueberry, green tea extract, apple and grape


  5. Zamu (liquid) contains camu camu berry, acai, cacoa, mango, pineapple and sagredo do drago.

 

Barbara Cox became passionate about the importance of eating healthily during an eight-year stay in Japan, a country renowned for its low levels of obesity, cancer and heart disease. On her return to the UK, Barbara founded Nutrichef, a company that produces high quality healthy meals and delivers them to customers’ homes. Through her consultations with Nutrichef customers across the UK, Barbara advises people with a range of different needs, including people fighting illness or wishing to lose weight, athletes training for sports events, or people who just want the convenience of having healthy meals delivered to their door. For more information, visit www.nutrichef.co.uk

 

 

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