Be sure to enjoy a ‘berry’ good life

Published 6:00 pm Saturday, April 19, 2014

Health starts with the grocery cart.

Take your grocery cart to the produce aisle and pick up some berries.  Last year, a study was released from the Harvard School of Public Health noting that a regular sustained intake of anthocyanins from berries reduced the risk of heart attack by 32 percent in young and middle-aged women.

The study showed heart health benefits from eating three servings of blueberries and strawberries each week. Although blueberries and strawberries were the most popular consumed berries, other foods have high levels of anthocyanins too, like blackberries, eggplants, cranberries, grapes, and even black beans.

These benefits were found even after the study was adjusted for other types of fruit and vegetable intake.  So the thought is that the benefit comes from eating these richly colored berries.

Adding berries to your weekly grocery list can be an essential part of improving our heart health. Further research continues with berries and their benefit to not only heart health but also diabetes, Parkinson’s and cognitive decline.

Blackberries: Did you know that blackberries are 80 percent water and all those little seeds mean healthy fiber to help with weight loss, lowering elevated cholesterol levels and managing type II diabetes.

Strawberries: One serving provides 160 percent of the recommended daily amount of Vitamin C for immune support, strawberries are also rich in folate, fiber and potassium (for healthy blood pressure).

Raspberries: A half a cup provides 4 grams of fiber (goal of 10 grams per meal) and are being researched with their benefit to cancer.

Blueberries: Small but mighty, these little blue dynamos are packed with phytonutrients being studied for their role in brain health, fiber, vitamin C for immunity and manganese for bone health.

Even more than the nutrition factor though, is the taste of fresh berries in the spring that can’t be replicated.  So many recipes benefit from the addition of fresh berries.

Here’s one of my favorites below.

Berry Salsa with Cinnamon Chips Serves 7

 All you need

•1  (6 oz.) package fresh raspberries, gently rinsed

•1 pint (2 cups) fresh strawberries, rinsed, stems removed, then quartered

•2 kiwi, washed, peeled and diced

•1 Golden Delicious apple, washed and diced (leave peel on)

•2 tablespoons strawberry preserves

•6 Multigrain Hy-Vee tortillas (fajita-style) with Omega-3

•Olive oil pan spray

•¼ cup cinnamon sugar (¼ cup sugar plus 1 tablespoon cinnamon)

 All You Do

1. In a large bowl, combine raspberries, strawberries, kiwi, apple and strawberry preserves. Cover and chill for 15-30 minutes.

2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray one side of each multigrain tortilla with olive oil spray to coat lightly.

3. Transfer sprayed tortilla to cutting board and cut into “chip-sized” wedges with a pizza cutter or scissors, then arrange in a single layer on baking sheet(s). Sprinkle wedges lightly with cinnamon sugar mixture. Spray lightly again to help the sugar stick.

4. Bake 8-12 minutes or until crispy but not overly brown. Remove baking sheet(s) from the oven and allow chips to cool, about 15 minutes.

5. Serve with chilled berry mixture. .

Source: Adapted from hy-vee.com

Nutrient Facts: Per serving:  220 calories, 45 g carbohydrates (7 g dietary fiber, 19g sugars)

4 g protein, 3 g fat, 260 mg sodium