Quite simply berries are a wonder fruit. They are so small and yet so full of essential vitamins and minerals. And really don’t require that much preparation at all.
The main varieties found in Australia are:
• Blackberry – early summer to mid-autumn
• Blueberry – September to March
• Blackcurrant – Briefly in December
• Gooseberry – December to January
• Mulberry – October to February
• Raspberry – November to February and again in March to April
• Strawberry – Peak season is September to January but now available all year round
• Cranberry – October to December
Luckily for us although the berry seasons are quite short we now have access to most berries in either a frozen, dried or tinned option. While fresh is always best these other alternatives are great as all as you choose the varieties with no added sugar or syrup.
All of these types of berries are low in fat, carbohydrates and calories while being high in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fibre. They all contain flavonoids and phytonutrients (or phytochemicals) such as anthocyanins, quercetin and ellagic acid. Why are they important? Studies have shown that they produce an antioxidant effect which can prevent cancer and even heart disease. Cranberries and Blueberries have been credited with preventing bladder infections and the lutein in Blueberries and Raspberries is important for healthy vision. Berries are considered to have antibacterial and anticarcinogenic qualities. They are effective at combating E.coli bacteria, urinary infections, aid iron absorption, promote a healthy nervous system, protect against infection and prevent digestive complaints. Berries help your body to fight free radicals to prevent colds and viral infections, protect your white blood cells from unwanted pathogens and are essential for the production of antibodies. Again – amazing for something so compact and all natural.
Strawberry Vitamin C, Vitamin E Magnesium, Calcium Folate Potassium
Blueberry Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Vitamin E, Lutein, Manganese
Cranberry Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Manganese
Raspberry Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Potassium, Niacin, Lutein
Some berries can be quite tart if eaten raw but avoid adding sugar – try to team them up with another, natural product to add the required sweetness such as yoghurt and banana in the recipe below.
Quick Berry Smoothie:
1 ½ cups of your favourite berries, fresh or frozen
½ cup of yoghurt
½ cup of ice
Blend together until smooth. Enjoy!
Berries are easy way to add more fruit to your diet. Just pop some on your cereal, in pancakes or even muffins.