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