You're probably super familiar with the Nutrition Month 2014 theme of Enjoy the Taste of Eating Right by now. How will you help your clients do that this March? If you're not sure where to start, or if you would like to round out your program with some fun recipes and activities, then keep an eye on this blog.
Because today we begin a 10-part series about boosting flavor, the healthful way! Each article will feature a selection of healthful and tasty foods that make it easy to enjoy the taste of eating right!
Today's Featured Food: Berries
Berries are packed with nutrients and flavor. They're relatively low in calories and are considered to be an excellent source of vitamin C and a good source of potassium. Since potassium is a nutrient of concern for most Americans (most people don't get enough of it), berries are even more attractive when it comes to good health. Plus, berries have lots of dietary fiber, which is another nutrient of concern for Americans.
Types of Berries:
Berries and Your Health:
According to the study Berries: Emerging Impact on Cardiovascular Health, "Berries are a good source of polyphenols, especially anthocyanins, micronutrients, and fiber. In epidemiological and clinical studies, these constituents have been associated with improved cardiovascular risk profiles." In other words, in some circumstances, berries can decrease your risk of heart disease. Now let's take a look at the health benefits of some of the most common berries...
Strawberries are excellent sources of vitamin C. In fact, a single serving of strawberries offers 80% of the vitamin C that you need in a day. Vitamin C helps protect your cells from the damage of oxidation, and since your body can't make vitamin C on its own, you need to eat a certain amount of it every day in order to stay healthy. So pick up some strawberries for a tasty health boost!
Raspberries are rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory elements. The phytonutrients in raspberries help reduce the risk for atherosclerosis, high blood pressure, obesity, and even type 2 diabetes. Make these flavorful berries a part of your diet, today!
According to the Survey of antioxidant capacity and phenolic composition of blueberry, blackberry, and strawberry in Nanjing, "Blackberries are notable for their health benefits based on high nutritional contents of dietary fiber, vitamin C, vitamin K, folic acid, and the essential mineral, manganese […]. Blackberries also rank highly among fruits for antioxidant strength, particularly due to their high contents of phenolic compounds." Those antioxidants are great for your health, protecting your cells from free radical damage.
Blueberries are some serious health rockstars. They're packed with phytochemicals that reduce inflammation, fight neurodegeneration, protect cells from oxidation, and even reduce cancer risk. Blueberries are also good sources of fiber.
Last, but not least, are cranberries. Cranberries contain compounds that can help prevent urinary tract infections. They also contain significant amounts of salicylic acid, which is a key ingredient in aspirin. Salicylic acid helps reduce swelling and prevent blood clots. So add cranberries to your diet now and start reaping the health benefits!
Berries as Flavor Boosters:
It's great that berries are so good for your health, because they're tons of fun to eat too! Berries serve as flavor boosters for all kinds of dishes. They're tart, sweet, and bright -- in other words, they're great at adding zings of flavor to a wide variety of dishes.
Berries can be featured with foods that are either savory or sweet. Toss a few raspberries with fresh greens, crumbled bleu cheese, and a bit of balsamic vinegar for a tasty and elegant salad, or dip strawberries in chocolate for an beautiful dessert. We have a blast using berries in our kitchens -- check out these free berry recipes for some inspiration!
Some of our favorite flavorful berry recipes include...
- Berry Tostada
- Spiced Berry Compote
- Peach Berry Crush
- Blueberry Shake
- Cranberry Apple Baked Yams
- Cranberry Bread Pudding
- Salmon with Berry Relish
- Strawberry Yogurt Bombe
If you're looking for more great resources for Nutrition Month (and healthful, flavorful cooking), then look no further. The Nutrition Education Store has you covered! There's even a special Nutrition Month section of the store, which highlights all the perfect resources to educate your clients while saving your time and energy. Of course, you can also check out these top-selling cooking resources below...
Stephanie Ronco has been editing for Food and Health Communications since 2011. She graduated from Colorado College magna cum laude with distinction in Comparative Literature. She was elected a member of Phi Beta Kappa in 2008.