Berries… a true treasure!

Geneviève Nadeau July, 2013

 

Strawberries, raspberries and blueberries have everything to be favorites. They are crispy and juicy; we can eat them with our fingers, and they make great appetizers as well as desserts… The other fruits have every right to be jealous! Here are the wild berries’ hidden secrets.

Strawberries’ Excellency

Strawberries have been grown for thousands of years. Even Romans were enjoying them during Antiquity. Their nutritional values are known and proven. Did you know that a cup of sliced strawberries contains 25% more vitamin C than an orange? Plus, like bananas, strawberries contain a lot of potassium, which is an important mineral against sodium’s effects causing high blood pressure. Potassium also allows the nervous influx to flow while insuring muscle contraction in the body.

This little red fruit is also rich in antioxidants like anthocyanins and ellagic acid. Few reliable researches have studied the effect of fresh or frozen strawberries on the human body. Strawberry extract has been studied for its role in breast cancer treatment. The results are very promising, but other researches need to be completed to confirm the effect of strawberries on such cancer. Finally, we know that ellagic acid could be effective in the prevention of skin cell damage caused by UVA sun rays.

Raspberries’ Delight

Whetherit iswhite, red or black, raspberry is a delicious and very delicate fruit. As strawberries, raspberries contain many healthy components such as fibers and antioxidants. In fact, one cup of raspberries contains as much fibers as four slices of whole wheat commercial bread.

Many public figures have promoted the benefits of ketones from raspberriesin weight loss. Nevertheless, results from studies on this matter are based on a very small group of individuals who was also on a low-calorie diet. It is then inconclusive to say that ketones in raspberries are really effectives. That being said, nothings compares to enjoying real raspberries, fresh or frozen, to get the most benefits and to satisfy your taste buds.

Blueberries’ Value!

We have been talking about the positive effects of blueberries for a long time. Anti-cancer, anti-Alzheimer, anti-aging… Some studies are even trying to figure out how polyphenols from blueberries could protect central nervous system! Other scientists are trying to understand the mean of action of the components present in blueberry juice in relation with enhancing liver functions. What a great value!

But be careful: miracle doesn’t reside in one fruit alone. We should not think that eating blueberries everyday will make us grow old healthy! That being said, we can put the chances on our side and enjoy every bite of good nutrition by adding blueberries to our diet regularly. Knowing that blueberries contain many promising compounds, it is worth it to learn how to prepare them in a variety of ways: on cereals at breakfast, to crush them in a milk shake, as a sauce with maple syrup on a pork loin, with tender lettuce in a salad with honey dressing, etc. Or the best of it all: to include them in a fruit salad with strawberries and raspberries!

References:

Giacalone M, Di Sacco F, Traupe I, Topini R, Forfori F, GiuntaF.Antioxidant and neuroprotective properties of blueberry polyphenols: a critical review.NutrNeurosci. 2011 May;14(3):119-25

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Health Canada. Canadian Nutrient File (CNF) [online]. .

http://webprod3.hc-sc.gc.ca/cnf-fce/language-langage.do?url=t.search.recherche&lang=engaccessed on June 27th, 2013

Hseu YC, Chou CW, Senthil Kumar KJ, Fu KT, Wang HM, Hsu LS, Kuo YH, Wu CR, Chen SC, Yang HL.Ellagic acid protects human keratinocyte (HaCaT) cells against UVA-induced oxidative stress and apoptosis through the upregulation of the HO-1 and Nrf-2 antioxidant genes. Food ChemToxicol. 2012 May;50(5):1245-55.

Lopez HL, Ziegenfuss TN, Hofheins JE, Habowski SM, Arent SM, Weir JP, FerrandoAA.Eight weeks of supplementation with a multi-ingredient weight loss product enhances body composition, reduces hip and waist girth, and increases energy levels in overweight men and women. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2013 Apr 19;10(1):22.

Somasagara RR, Hegde M, Chiruvella KK, Musini A, Choudhary B, Raghavan SC.Extracts of strawberry fruits induce intrinsic pathway of apoptosis in breast cancer cells and inhibits tumor progression in mice. PLoS One. 2012;7(10):e47021.

Wang Y, Cheng M, Zhang B, Nie F, Jiang H.Dietary supplementation of blueberry juice enhances hepatic expression of metallothionein and attenuates liver fibrosis in rats.PLoS One. 2013;8(3):e58659

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Categories : Food

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