They may be tiny, but bramble berries—raspberries, blackberries, boysenberries, youngberries, olallieberries, and the like—offer a serious dose of nutrients that can help protect against disease. First and foremost is ellagic acid, which is largely exclusive to these berries. Combined with the anthocyanins also found in berries, ellagic acid is a formidable fighter against the formation of cancer cells. These nutrients also have antimicrobial properties, which can help ward off maladies such as yeast infections and irritable bowel syndrome.
And it doesn’t stop there. A remarkably high fiber content due to the aggregate structure of the fruit, combined with a massive dose of vitamin C and plenty of manganese and B-vitamins, contributes to placing these berries at the top of the fruit-heap for antioxidant strength. And remember that old adage, “The darker the berry, the sweeter the juice”? Well, it’s “the healthier” too—those deep dark colors indicate the presence of an abundance of anthocyanins in every delectable mouthful.
Picking & Storing
When shopping for berries, always try to go organic. Berries are fragile, and washing them can be problematic, so it’s especially important that they be free of pesticides. Berries should be dark-hued, firm, and plump-looking. Keep an eye out for mold, and make sure no berries are crushed, especially if you're buying a container—crushed fruit will deteriorate rapidly. If you see juice or wetness along the sides or bottom of a container, put it back and grab another one.
Use your berries quickly as possible, as they will keep in the fridge for only a day or two. If you wish to keep them longer, they can be frozen without loss of nutrients.
Chicken Cutlets with Port & berry Sauce
This light and easy dish can be paired with brown rice and grilled asparagus for a hearty, healthy dinner.
2 Tbs. organic canola oil
4 6-oz. organic chicken breast cutlets, pounded thin
½ cup port wine
¼ cup chicken broth
½ pint olallieberries or blackberries
1 Tbs. cold unsalted organic butter
½ tsp. minced fresh tarragon
PER SERVING: 275 CAL; 35 G PROT; 11 G TOTAL FAT (3 G SAT FAT); 8 G CARB; 102 MG CHOL; 112 MG SOD; 2 G FIBER; 6 G SUGARS