We all know that berries are good for us. But did you know that dark berries can have as much as 50% more antioxidants compared to their lighter colored cousins?
Antioxidants, which includes vitamin C, help protect against free radicals (scavenger molecules that damage healthy cells in your body). Eating berries can: inhibit growth of several different types of cancer cells, help fight against bacterial infections, especially in the urinary tract, significantly improve glucose metabolism, and protect against oxidative damage.
Blueberry & Cranberry, both the berries and their juices, help reduce inflammation and are beneficial for preventing and treating recurrent bladder and urinary tract infections.
They contain a powerful antioxidant (proanthocyanidin, or PAC) and D-mannose which can prevent bacteria from sticking to the walls of the urinary tract. Blueberry is easier to prepare and digest compared to cranberry. For people who don’t like or can’t digest cranberries, a PAC or D-mannose supplement may be a better option.
Blueberries are also high in antioxidant plant pigments known as anthocyanins, which may protect from a variety of cancers. Research has shown specifically that foods with anthocyanins are associated with a significant reduction in colorectal cancer risk. A study of almost two thousand colorectal cancer cases found that of all the flavonoids, food with anthocyanins are associated with the greatest reduction (43 percent) in colorectal cancer risk.
Blueberry extract has also been shown to inhibit the growth of prostate, breast, and oral tumor cells.
Boysenberry is a hybrid of blackberry, loganberry and raspberry. It’s juicy and sweet with a bit of tang and also high in anthocyanins. Additionally, boysenberries contain vitamins C and K, folate, and manganese, which can help protect against infectious agents, boost bone strength, provide neurological benefits, and support respiratory health, respectively.
Elderberry, an immunity-boosting berry, is packed with vitamins C, A, B6 and iron and potassium. It’s on the tart side, but can be sweetened with organic honey and is commonly used to make teas and jam. The flavonoids in elderberry compare to Tamiflu, an anti-influenza medication.
Try a variety of the dark berries; from bitter to tart to sweet, there’s a berry for everybody! I enjoy them as the topper to my Warm and Nutty Cinnamon Quinoa, the recipe for which you can find here.
You can also try this recipe for Berry-Fennel-Ginger Herbal Tea, which is infused with dark berries and provides an abundance of antioxidants. A spicy hint of ginger, along with tummy-taming fennel, supports digestion.
1 oz dried blueberries
1 oz dried bilberries
1 oz dried elderberry
1 oz dried blackberries
1 oz fennel seed
1 tbsp dried ginger root
Optional sweeteners: raw honey, stevia leaf
* Dried berries can be purchased from Nuts.com
- Combine Ingredients
- Mix all ingredients together. To prepare a cup of tea, use 1 Tbsp of mix to 10 oz boiling water. Cover and let steep 10 min. Strain, add optional sweetener and drink. Can be enjoyed warm or as an iced beverage.
- Remaining mix can be stored up to six months in a dry, airtight container.