Monday, January 24, 2011

Benefits of Berries

Healthy Monday!  Taking a break from fashion and interiors to check in to see, how the   New Years eating habits  are going?   Thought I help out  by showing the positive side of eating healthy berries.   Toss the berries on your yogurt, or cereal and  top with light whip cream!  Believe me, it is difficult for me to change my sugar charged eating habits If I write about the benefits maybe it  helps stay on track to feel great for Spring


Not only are blueberries yummy, they have some fantastic health benefits which include: 
 Blueberries
The highest antioxidant capacity of all fresh fruit: Blue Berries, being very rich in anti oxidants like Anthocyanin, vitamin C, B complex, vitamin E, vitamin A, copper (a very effective immune builder and anti-bacterial), selenium, zinc, iron (promotes immunity by raising haemoglobin and oxygen concentration in blood) etc. boost up your immune system and prevent infections. Once your immunity is strong, you won’t catch colds, fever, pox and all such nasty viral and bacterial communicable diseases. 

Neutralizes free radicals which can affect disease and aging in the body: Blue Berries bring you the brightest ray of hope, for they are laden with anti oxidants and rank number 1 in the world of anti oxidants. This is mainly due to presence of Anthocyanin, a pigment responsible for the blue color of the blue berries. The abundance of vitamin-C is also a big factor for this as well.
  
Aid in reducing Belly Fat: A new University of Michigan 
Cardiovascular Center study suggests that blueberries may help reduce belly fat and risk factors for cardiovascular disease and metabolic syndrome. So far, we know that the fruit works on rats, which were the test subjects. A blueberry-enriched powder was mixed into the rats' diet, which was either low-fat or high-fat rat chow. After 90 days, the rats with the blueberry-enriched diet had less abdominal fat, lower triglycerides, lower cholesterol and improved fasting glucose and insulin sensitivity. And their health was even better when combined with the low-fat diet. That group had lower body weight, lower total fat mass and reduced liver mass than the rats on the high-fat diet. An enlarged liver is linked to obesity and insulin resistance, a hallmark of diabetes. Although more research is needed to confirm these results in humans, a related study presented at the same conference showed that men with risk factors for heart disease who drank wild blueberry juice for three weeks seemed to experience slight improvements in glucose and insulin control.

The Blackberry



The blackberry is actually an ancient fruit, prescribed by the Ancient Greeks for gout, mentioned in the Bible, and commonly written about in British folklore.

Wild blackberries are relatives of the rose and the soft, juicy fruit grows on thorny bushes or trailing vines. Just like a raspberry, the blackberry is called an "aggregate fruit" because each berry is really a cluster of tiny fruits, or druplets. Each druplet has a seed, and, unlike raspberries, blackberry druplets remain centered around the core even after the berry is picked.

Blackberries are considered to be an astringent because of their high tannin content. Studies show that tannins tighten tissue, lesson minor bleeding, and may help to alleviate diarrhea and intestinal inflammation. German health authorities recommend blackberries for mild infections including sore throats and mouth irritations. Traditionally, blackberries have been used to alleviate hemorrhoids because of their rich tannin content. Scientists have also reported anti tumor properties associated with tannins found in some varieties of blackberries. Overindulgence of tannin-rich blackberries may lead to constipation.

Blackberries abound in antioxidants, such as anthocyanin pigments, responsible for the purplish-black colour of blackberries and may impart health benefits because of their antioxidant properties. Additional antioxidants in blackberries are vitamins C and E, and ellagic acid; all may provide protection against cancer and chronic disease. Cooking does not seem to destroy ellagic acid, so even blackberry jams and desserts retain ellagic acid health benefits. Interestingly, blackberries are a natural source of salicylic, an active substance found in aspirin. Potential benefits have yet to be explored and some experts advise caution to particularly aspirin-sensitive individuals. Because of their many tiny seeds, blackberries are a source of soluble fibre, such as pectin.

Blackberries are consumed fresh, frozen, and canned, and are commonly made into jams, juices, syrups, desserts, and even wine.
                                                                        
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                                                            Low Calorie Berry Dessert




                    Granola, Yogurt, Berry Parfait

                            Courtesy Bob Blumer, Surreal Gourmet  Ingredients
  • 2 cups plain yogurt
  • 2 cups your favorite granola
  • 2 cups fresh berries (raspberries, blueberries, strawberries (hulled and sliced), and/or other fruit such as bananas, peaches or mangos, peeled and sliced
  • 4 tablespoons honey

Directions

Line up 4 parfait, white wine, or other tall glasses.
Spoon 2 tablespoons of yogurt into each glass and smooth surface.
Spoon 2 tablespoons of granola over top and smooth surface.
Spoon 2 tablespoons of fruit over top and smooth surface.
Repeat the process, adding a bit of honey here and there, to taste.