I don’t know about everyone else, but I am thoroughly obsessed with berries. They are chock full of nutrients, low in sugar, calories and carbohydrates and are perfect additions to any breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert or snack!
Here is the low-down on my all-time favorite berries.
Blueberries are one of the few native fruits to North America. Native Americans combined dried blueberries and cranberries with dried lean meat to create a low-carb snack called pemmican. Blueberries are not only extremely versatile, they are also packed with antioxidants, phytochemicals, potassium and Vitamin C. They are anti-inflammatory and have been shown to defend against chronic diseases caused by inflammation in the body.
How to eat them: Blueberries are great in fruit salad, on top of cereal, yogurt, ice cream, in smoothies, on salads and also make great compotes and glazes to use on top of pancakes, meat and fish. They also make a great addition to baked goods such as muffins and scones.
Pro tip: Buy organic blueberries when they are in season (and much cheaper) and freeze to enjoy during the off-season months!
While the exact origin of blackberries is unknown, we do know that the Greeks and Romans used blackberries in medicine and Native Americans used them for food, medicine and even to dye animal skins. Blackberries are rich in bioflavonoids, Vitamin C and contain high levels of antioxidants as a result of their rich dark blue color. They also contain Vitamin K which regulates normal blood clotting, assists in transporting calcium throughout the body and has been shown to decrease the risk of bone loss and bone fractures.
How to eat them: I personally love to eat blackberries on their own as a snack or dessert but they are also fantastic in all sorts of salads or on top of oatmeal, granola and yogurt.
The garden strawberry that we know today was first grown in Brittany, France in the 1750s. Prior to this, wild strawberries have been documented going back as far as the 1300s in Italian, Flemish, German and English art. Referred to as the “queen of fruits” in Asian countries, strawberries are packed with Vitamin C, Potassium, folic acid and fiber. One cup of strawberries contains 160% of your daily recommend value of vitamin C. Strawberries, like all berries, also contain high amounts of antioxidants known for helping to combat inflammation.
How to eat them: Strawberries make a great addition to smoothies, salads and are irresistible on top of pancakes or to eat on their own!
Raspberries are believed to have originated in Eastern Asia. Archeological evidence shows that Paleolithic cave dwellers ate raspberries and used the leaves to make herbal teas and tisane to aid digestion. Raspberries are high in Vitamin C, Manganese and fiber. Raspberries contain high levels of antioxidants and Vitamin B-6, niacin, riboflavin and folic acid, which have been shown to help the body metabolize carbohydrates, protein and fats.
How to eat them: Raspberries are fantastic on top of chia pudding, frozen yogurt or in my favorite salad along with arugula, pecans, goat cheese, homemade balsamic vinaigrette and grilled chicken.
According to some sources, Goji berries have been used in Chinese Medicine for over 6,000 years to treat things like liver damage, poor circulation and infertility. Goji berries contain about 18 amino acids as well as Vitamin A, B1, B2, B6, Vitamin C and Vitamin E. Gojis are also an excellent source of trace minerals including high levels of iron. Most notably, Goji berries are esteemed due to their high antioxidant levels, which defend against free radicals and inflammation.
How to eat them: I love adding Goji berries to chia pudding, homemade trail mix or sprinkling on top of granola or yogurt.
Remember, its important to try and always buy organic berries! Organic berries have been shown to contain higher levels of nutrients and antioxidants and since we eat the outsides of berries, conventional varieties contain large amounts of residual pesticides.