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The Benefits of Berries

May 14, 2013

The Benefits of Berries

Alright everyone, it’s finally summertime which means it’s time to enjoy all the berries that are now ripe for the picking! We all know that berries are delicious, but what are the health benefits of eating these superfoods?

Berries contain antioxidants anthocyanins and polyphenols which help to:

  • Improve memory and cognitive function
  • Reduce inflammation and arthritic pain
  • Lower LDL (bad) cholesterol
  • Fight some types of cancer

According to recent research in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association,it was found that women who ate three or more servings of blueberries or strawberries each week had a 32 percent lower risk of heart attack than those who ate them once a month or less. If the sweet taste of berries alone doesn’t make you want to include them in your diet, then hopefully these findings do, especially considering heart disease is the number-one killer of women.

Berries are also a great swap when you need to satisfy that sweet tooth without adding inches to your waistline. Berries tend to be the lowest in natural sugar content within the fruit family and contain many nutrients. Research from the University of Florida also found that those with high antioxidant intakes have trimmer waists and lower body fat percentages versus those who ate fewer antioxidants.

Below is a recipe to try out so that you can begin reaping the benefits that berries have to offer right now!

KIWI STRAWBERRY SPINACH SALAD
Ready in 20 minutes • Makes 2 servings

Ingredients:
6 oz boneless, skinless chicken breast
Juice of 2 lemons (½ cup)
1 sprig fresh rosemary, chopped (or 2 tsp dried)
1½ tsp olive oil, divided
1½ cups fresh strawberries, sliced
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
1/8 tsp sea salt
1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper
4 cups fresh spinach
2 kiwis, peeled, cut into thin half-moons

Instructions:
1. Cut chicken crosswise into 1/8" thick slices. Combine lemon juice, chopped rosemary and ½ tablespoon of olive oil in a bowl. Pour mixture over chicken slices to marinate, coating evenly. Cover and refrigerate while you prepare the rest of the ingredients, or marinate overnight for best results.
2. In a blender, combine ½ cup sliced strawberries, remaining oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. Blend to incorporate flavors. Taste and adjust as needed.
3. Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Drizzle water onto skillet. When water sizzles, place chicken, along with the marinade, on the skillet, and cook 3 minutes on one side. Flip and cook 2 more minutes, or until the chicken is no longer pink.
4. Divide spinach between 2 big plates. Top each plate with cooked sliced chicken, remaining strawberries and sliced kiwis. Drizzle with dressing. Serve.

Recipe courtesy of oxygenmagazine.com by Elizabeth Brown MS, RD, CPT

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