Now that summer has arrived, berries are appearing in grocery stores and farmers’ markets in all their brilliant colors. While they might be a staple of summer meals, berries contain important nutrients we should be consuming year-round. With the improvements in freezing and freeze-drying technologies, we have the opportunity to consume delicious and healthy berries in all seasons. Here are 7 of the most nutritious berries of summer that you can eat all year.
1. Aronia berries
Aronia berries are truly the antioxidant super berries. 100 grams of Aronia berries score just over 16000 on the ORAC chart, and contain a variety of other important nutrients such as Vitamins A, B, C, and K. Like elderberries, they are indigenous to the United States and have been used as medicine by some Indigenous American people. Like cranberries, they are tart, so they are best when used in recipes or combined with other sweeter berries. Aroniaberries have been a berry of interest from scientists who are finding aroniaberries have many health and wellness benefits. Search pubmed.gov with terms aronia juice, chokeberry or aronia melanocarpa to review the research.
Strawberries are the iconic berry of summer with their delicate sweet taste and their beautiful bright red color. One cup of strawberries provides 94% of the daily recommended value (DV) of Vitamin C and 24% of the DV of manganese. Studies have linked strawberries with a reduction in risk for heart disease, a decrease in inflammation, and stabilization of blood sugar levels. On the ORAC chart which measures the antioxidant power of foods, strawberries measure at just over 4000 per 100 grams, which makes them a high ORAC food.
Raspberries are another delicately flavored berry that shine in the summer. In addition to having an ORAC score of nearly 5000, 100 grams of raspberries contain 23% DV of fiber, 3% DV of potassium, 4% DV of iron, and 29% DV of Vitamin C. Raspberries are linked to lower blood pressure, reduction in stroke and heart disease, regulated blood sugars, and healthy bones and skin.
Blueberries are one of the most ubiquitous berries throughout the year and are nutritious enough to eat every day. Cultivated blueberries have an ORAC score of about 4700, but that number is more than doubled for wild blueberries. 100 grams of these berries contain 9% of your daily fiber and 11% of your vitamin C. Like raspberries and strawberries, blueberries provide heart benefits. They are also linked to improved memory and the anthocyanins in blueberries have an anti-diabetes effect.
Cranberries are often associated with winter holidays, but they are an important source of nutrition that you can include in desserts, beverages, and entrees all year long. Fresh cranberries contain about 5% of your DV of Vitamin K, 10% DV of Vitamin E, and 17% DV of Vitamin C. They also score a 9584 on the ORAC chart, making them one of the highest antioxidant foods. Cranberries maintain most of their nutritional value in dried form, but some dried cranberries contain a lot of extra sugar, so be sure to read the labels. Most people know that cranberries help prevent urinary tract infections, but they also help prevent cavities, reduce inflammation, improve heart and digestive health, and help prevent cancer.
Elderberries are sometimes considered a fancy, European fruit, but, in addition to the varieties native to Europe, there are varieties indigenous to eastern North America. Some groups of Indigenous Americans used them for their medicinal properties. Elderberries score over 14,000 on the ORAC chart, making them one of the most healthful fruits available. They also contain 3% DV of calcium, 9% DV of iron, 6% DV of potassium, 3% DV of Vitamin A, and a whopping 40% DV of Vitamin C. Their antioxidants help boost our immune systems, reduce inflammation, and reduce stress. Elderberries also have a diuretic effect and they are sometimes recommended to reduce cold and flu symptoms.
7. Açaí Berries
Açaí berries have grown in popularity in health food circles for their strong antioxidant powers. 100 grams of frozen pulp has an ORAC score of 15,405. Because these delicate berries are indigenous to South America, it is almost impossible to find fresh berries in the United States. Frozen berries and freeze-dried Açaí powder retain most of their nutritional properties and are good options.
All of these berries pack a serious nutritional punch. Including them in your daily meal planning will add a burst of nutritional benefit as well as delicious taste to every dish. Superberries Aronia berries come in three delicious products, frozen Aronia berries, Aronia berry concentrate, and Aronia berry gummy chews. Having them on hand as a delicious quick snack or to include in smoothies or other recipes will ensure that you are giving your family some of what they need every day to stay healthy and happy.