Berry, Berry Good

De­li­cious to eat and high in nu­tri­ents, berries are the go- to fruits for to­day’s health con­scious woman.

India Today - - CONTENTS -

Su­per­foods are in huge de­mand as health con­scious but time strapped work­ing women are al­ways on the look­out for a diet that’s en­riched with ex­tra­or­di­nary health ben­e­fits. When th­ese women find them­selves rac­ing against the clock or un­able to stick to a fit­ness rou­tine, they try to com­pen­sate by at least eat­ing as healthy as pos­si­ble. En­ter berries— hum­ble look­ing fruits that are, in fact, quite de­cep­tive. De­spite be­ing tiny they are packed with loads of im­por­tant nu­tri­ents. Not to men­tion that they also taste de­li­cious. Chef Veena Arora, chef De Cui­sine at The Spice Route, The Im­pe­rial, New Delhi, rec­om­mends that while buy­ing berries of any kind one should con­sider “pri­mar­ily three pa­ram­e­ters — firm­ness, odour and vi­brancy of colour. Th­ese make for a per­fect choice.”

IN THE PINK OF HEALTH

Move away green leafy veg­eta­bles. Study af­ter study has shown that berries have some of the high­est lev­els of an­tiox­i­dants among fresh fruits which can give veg­eta­bles like spinach a run for their money. The rich colours and smell as­so­ci­ated with berries are due to the pres­ence of phy­to­chem­i­cals in them.

Th­ese are nat­u­rally oc­cur­ring an­tiox­i­dants that pro­tect cells from dam­age and thus have sig­nif­i­cant dis­ease fight­ing properties. “There are a lot of ben­e­fits to eat­ing berries. They help in detox­i­fy­ing the body and low­er­ing choles­terol and blood sugar lev­els,” ex­plains Dr Am­bika Sharma, nu­tri­tion­ist, Columbia Asia Hos­pi­tal, Ghazi­abad. An­other re­cent study re­vealed that eat­ing berries ev­ery other day cuts the risk of heart at­tacks by up to a third in women. Stud­ies have also shown that berries, es­pe­cially black­ber­ries, en­hance brain co­or­di­na­tion and pro­tect against age- re­lated mem­ory loss. Since berries are low in calo­ries and car­bo­hy­drates and have a high fi­bre con­tent, they are a pop­u­lar food choice for those look­ing to em­brace a healthy diet. In ad­di­tion, blue­ber­ries are also known to have fat burn­ing properties.

GO GOJI

Ac­cord­ing to a Ti­betan be­lief, munch­ing on goji berries in the morn­ing keeps one happy and healthy all day long. One can’t re­ally vouch for the happy part but the fact that goji berries are be­lieved to be one of the high­est rated an­tiox­i­dant foods in the world, pretty much cov­ers the healthy side of it. Th­ese bright or­ange- red berries have for gen­er­a­tions been used to try and treat sev­eral dis­eases like di­a­betes and high blood pres­sure. Its most claimed nu­tri­tional at­tribute is an ex­cep­tional level of Vi­ta­min C said to be among the high­est in nat­u­ral plants. In­ter­est­ingly, some also be­lieve th­ese fruits to be the ul­ti­mate foun­tain of youth. While goji berries are said to orig­i­nate in Ti­bet, to­day China is the main sup­plier of goji berry prod­ucts in the world, with to­tal ex­ports gen­er­at­ing $ 120 mil­lion in 2004. So whether it’s break­fast in bed or lunch on- the- go, berries can be in­cor­po­rated into your daily diet in a num­ber of ways. “Berries can even en­hance the flavour of savoury dishes by giv­ing them a sig­na­ture sweet and sour tang,” says chef Arora. Rea­son enough for berries to be­come a sta­ple on your weekly gro­cery list from now on.

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