A Berry Good Summer

A Berry Good Summer

Posted on Jul.01, 2013, under Educational, Guest Blogger, Living With Low Vision, Low Vision Info, Low Vision Tips

I love to spend time in our backyard this time of year. Not only do we have some beautiful hydrangeas blossoming, but we have raspberries, blueberries and for the first time, blackberries all ripening and ready to be picked. Even if you don’t grow your own berries, there are lots of good reasons to pick up some fresh berries the next time you head to the grocery store.

Low Carb, Low Calorie Treat

Unlike other fruit, berries are low in carbs, low in calories and low in the glycemic index. Which means you can snack away without spiking your insulin. One cup of fresh blueberries has about 80 calories, fresh blackberries has about 70 calories, while one cup of raspberries has the lowest count at about 65 calories.

High in Fiber

Dietary fiber helps to maintain a healthy gastrointestinal tract by preventing constipation, hemorrhoids, and diverticulitis. It also helps to lowers one’s risk of diabetes and high cholesterol. Most Americans do not get enough fiber in their daily diet. It is generally recommended that adults eat between 25 – 30 grams of fiber per day. Blueberries have nearly 4 grams per cup while blackberries have 7.6 grams per cup and raspberries have 8 grams. Foods that have both low glycemic index and high fiber content are foods that support healthy blood sugar levels.

High in Antioxidants

ORAC stands for Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity. It is a way of measuring antioxidant activity. More specifically, it measures the ability to inhibit oxidation. The retina, and especiallythe macula, is very susceptible to oxidative stress because it consumes high levels of oxygen. It is believed that as we age, the macular pigment becomes depleted because of increased oxidative stress. According to the US Department of Agriculture the ORAC Units per 100 grams or 3 ½ ounces are:

– Blueberries 2400

– Blackberries 2036

– Raspberries 1220

High In Anthocyanidins

Anthocyanidins are compounds that give pigment such as blue, purple and red colors to fruits and vegetables. Usually the darker the pigment the more anthocyanidins. It is a type of flavonoid known for its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and anti-cancer activities.

A Good Source of Vitamins and Minerals

Blueberries are an excellent source Vitamin C, Vitamin E and manganese. Blackberries are also rich in manganese, Vitamin C and E as well as Vitamin A and K. While raspberries are high in Vitamin C, K , and manganese.

Be sure to regularly include berries in your diet. Put them in smoothies, salads or just eat them alone as a snack or in place of dessert. To find out what other foods are high in antioxidants go to:

List of Foods High In Antioxidants

Leslie Degner, RN, BSN