Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Bite: Berry Good For You!

The four most commonly enjoyed berries -- blueberries, blackberries, strawberries and raspberries -- are all among the top 10 antioxidant-containing fruits, according to Tufts University Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging.

Blueberries are listed among the Mayo Clinic's top 10 healthiest foods, and the National Cancer Institute touts raspberries, particularly black raspberries, because of their high levels of cancer-fighting anthocyanins.

Blueberries

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National
Nutrient Database, a half-cup of raw blueberries has just 42 calories, but offers 2 grams of fiber, 12 percent of the vitamin C you need each day, and 18 percent of the daily dose of vitamin K. Blueberries are also a good source of manganese, offering about 12 percent of the daily recommendation.

Choose blueberries that are plump, firm, dark blue with a waxy, silvery bloom.

Strawberries

A half-cup of raw strawberries has just 25 calories, and you get about 1.5 grams of fiber, 75 percent of the vitamin C you need and 15 percent of the manganese you need in a day. Strawberries are also a good source of folate and potassium.

Ripe strawberries should be fully red with a bright luster, and the caps should be bright green. Smaller strawberries usually have more flavor than larger ones.

Raspberries

A half-cup of raw raspberries has 32 calories and offers 4 grams of fiber. It gives you 27 percent of the vitamin C you need in a day, and 20 percent of the manganese. Raspberries are also a good source of vitamin K and magnesium.

Ripe raspberries should be large, bright, firm, shiny, and uniform in color.

Blackberries

A half-cup of raw blackberries has 31 calories and four grams of fiber. Like the other berries, blackberries are a very good source of vitamin C
(25 percent of the daily recommendation), vitamin K (18 percent), and manganese (24 percent). In addition, blackberries are a good source of vitamin E, folate, magnesium, potassium and copper.

Upon ripening, blackberries become dull black and just begin to soften.

All berries are fragile; handle them carefully and refrigerate them immediately after purchase. Rinse gently just before consuming -- and enjoy!

Source; Ohio State University Extension and the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center

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