In 1616, Canadian explorer Samuel de Champlain wrote, “Without them we might have starved to death.” He was talking about berries, especially blueberries and raspberries, that his team of explorers found growing along the shores of the Ottawa River and Lake Huron. Not only did they keep these early explorers from starving to death, they kept them healthy!
Today we continue to enjoy the health benefits of these two berries, native to Ontario.
In a study of 40 fruits and vegetables, the blueberry was rated as number 1 for health benefits! Blueberries are chock full of antioxidants, the group of substances responsible for their color and a good portion of their antioxidant power. Blueberries also contain ellagic acid, which has been shown to have anti-cancer properties. They also are high in soluble fibre that helps lower cholesterol levels.
Raspberries and blackberries are high in Vitamin C, which prevents scurvy, reduces risk of stroke, and helps prevent cancer initiation. Raspberries and blackberries have been shown to contain healthful substances which may slow down the aging process, boost immunity, and protect against chronic diseases like heart disease and cancer.
An increasing number of studies link various foods–especially berries and other intensely colored fruits and vegetables such as strawberries, blueberries, and carrots–with improved health and disease prevention.
The top 10 fruits (berries) and vegetables, with their antioxidant units per 100 grams:
Brussels Sprouts 980
Alfalfa Sprouts 930
Ways to Enjoy Berries
- Fresh on their own, wash just before serving.
- With a dollop of Greek yogurt and a bit of honey, sprinkle with granola for added crunch.
- Frozen, dropped in your favourite drink.
- On warm cake, with whipped cream or ice cream.
- Tossed into a salad.
- Add to your morning cereal.
- Serve with French toast and maple syrup.