Northern Westchester Hospital Dietitian Shares the Benefits of Berries

Posted on: July 22, 2014

Benefits of Berries
By Stephanie Perruzza

 

Berries are delicious and nutritious, packing a tasty and powerful punch in every bite.  They contain large amounts of antioxidants important in protecting against chronic disease; they are also low in calories!  Enjoy them fresh or frozen in your favorite dishes.

Make berries a part of your everyday meal and snack routine.  These little powerhouses are so versatile they can fit into any meal from breakfast to dinner. Below is a chart of some common berries and their nutritional benefits:

Type Benefits Calories per cup
Strawberry An excellent source of Vitamin C with 141% of your recommended daily intake per cup. Vitamin C aids in immune function, skin and eye health. 49
Raspberry Also rich in Vitamin C with 44% of your recommended daily intake per cup. Raspberries are also rich in the antioxidants quercetin and gallic acid, which play a role in heart health and obesity. 65
Cranberry These little red beauties are the richest in a specific antioxidant class called flavonoids. These antioxidants prevent against oxidative damage and aid in cancer prevention. 46
Blackberry Blackberries contain high amounts of antioxidants, which help reduce inflammation. They’re also rich in fiber with 32% of your recommended daily intake aiding in gut health. 62
Blueberry Blueberries, like cranberries, are also rich in anthocyanins, a class of antioxidants responsible for giving fruits their rich color. They protect against certain chronic diseases and cancer. 84
Gooseberry Gooseberries come in green and red tart varieties and are about the size of a blueberry. They are rich in Vitamin C, and fiber and have a good source of manganese. 66

Fun Ways to Eat:
•    Puree some of your favorite berries, place in an ice cube tray and freeze.  Use some of the berry cubes in your plain water or seltzer for a sweet addition.
•    Berries are great for breakfast. Add them into pancake, muffin or biscuit mixes. My favorite is throwing berries into hot or cold cereal or in a morning smoothie.
•    Berries can serve as a flavorful base for any sauté or sauce for a quick and easy dinner dish. Blueberries pair nicely with pork while blackberries help enhance the flavor of chicken or fish dishes.
•    Toss berries onto salads or into a turkey, chicken or tuna fish lunch wrap for added fiber, vitamins and antioxidants.

Daily Recommendation:
According to the USDA Dietary Guidelines, men and women age 19 and older need between 1½ to 2 cups of fruit per day. Do yourself a berry big favor and meet your daily intake with some of the berries listed above! Try the recipes below or check out the recipes on the website to find those that include your favorite berries. Some of my favorites are breakfast smoothies!

Blueberry Salsa
Courtesy of My Recipes
The sweetness of blueberries pair perfectly with the savory and peppery hint of jalapeno and cilantro in this salsa dish.
Ingredients
2 cups coarsely chopped fresh blueberries
1 cup whole fresh blueberries
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
3 Tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced
1/3 cup diced red bell pepper
½ tsp Kosher salt
Method
1. Toss together all ingredients into a large bowl. Cover and chill or serve immediately.
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size: ¼ of recipe
Calories 71, Protein 1.2g, Fat 0.6g, Carbohydrates 17.1g, Fiber 3.2g, Sodium 479mg, Cholesterol 0mg

Grilled Dessert Pizza
Courtesy of My Recipes
Mix up your traditional pie with a sweet and fruity twist with this dessert pizza.
Ingredients  
2 ounces white chocolate, chopped
1 pound pizza dough, thawed if frozen
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup sliced strawberries
1 cup raspberries
1 cup drained canned mandarin orange segments
1/3 cup sliced almonds, toasted, optional
Method
1. Preheat grill to medium. Lightly mist a rimmed, round baking sheet with cooking spray and dust with flour. Place white chocolate in a bowl and set over a small pan of simmering water (do not let bottom of bowl touch water). Cook, stirring often, until white chocolate has melted.
2. Press and stretch dough to form a 14- to 15-inch round. Place dough on prepared sheet, place on grill, cover and cook for about 5 minutes, until crust is puffed and golden. Flip and cook for 3 more minutes.
3. Sprinkle dough with chocolate chips, leaving a ½-inch border. Cover grill and cook 2 minutes, until chocolate chips have melted. Spread melted chocolate chips evenly over dough. Transfer pizza to a large cutting board.
4. Scatter berries and orange segments over pizza. Sprinkle with almonds, if desired.  Drizzle white chocolate over pizza.
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size: 1/8 of recipe
Calories 344, Protein 8g, Fat 12g,   Sat Fat 6g, Carbohydrates 57g, Fiber 3g, Sodium 237mg, Cholesterol 1mg

Editor’s Note: Stephanie Perruzza MS, RD, CDN, Clinical Dietitian, Nutrition and Food Services is the Outpatient Nutrition Coordinator, Cancer and Wellness for Northern Westchester Hospital.

Find recipes recommended by NWH dietitians here: recipes.