Healthy benefits of berries (strawberries, blueberries, black berries, raspberries) & healthy recipes
In a world full of starches, sugars, and refined carbs it can be easy to forget about the sweet treats created by nature. Fruits are often forgotten when presented with all the hyperpalatable, over-processed sugary confections that can be easily baked-up or bought.
Don’t worry, you’re not to blame for craving uber-sweet treats! Our bodies were designed to run on glucose as their main fuel source and sugar breaks down into glucose. Not to mention any extra glucose gets stored as fat and our body like to store fat for survival.
At this point most people have access to food whenever they want it, but that wasn’t always the case. Our bodies are designed to crave sugar to help us survive periods of food insecurity (sugar addiction).
We’re all fairly well aware that, far from the days of our ancestors, our cravings for excess sweets are not entirely necessary. So how do we curb this sugar craving? One answer is to quit cold turkey, but if you have a bit of a sweet tooth focus on fruits and berries as a natural option.
Fruit is natures candy and a natural sugary treat, especially when you’ve been avoiding processed sugar for a few days. However, the cream of the crop options are BERRIES!
In this article we will be giving you 5 excellent berry focused recipes and showing what makes berries the nutritional powerhouse they are for our bodies.
WLD Strawberry Recipe: Frozen Strawberry Yogurt
- 1.5 lb frozen strawberries
- 1 cup plain yogurt
- 1/2 cup unsweetened organic coconut milk canned
- 1/4 tsp liquid stevia
- Place coconut milk and yogurt in blender / food processor
- Start to blend then add frozen strawberries and stevia
- Stop blender occasionally and push frozen strawberries to blend
- Place in container and into freezer
- Calories: 56kcal | Carbohydrates: 8g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 4mg | Sodium: 25mg | Potassium: 178mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 41IU | Vitamin C: 50mg | Calcium: 51mg | Iron: 1mg
Health benefits of Strawberries
Strawberries are an excellent alternative to the empty calories of today’s sweets. Packed with vitamin and minerals, strawberries contain vitamin c, folate, potassium, and manganese. They also have small amounts of copper, magnesium, iron, and vitamins B6, K, and E. Strawberries are also high in fiber while low in carbs.
Strawberries are also low in calories and low on the glycemic index. This means they won’t significantly spike blood sugar. They are also known to improve heart health and help lower the risk of cancer.
If you are interested in getting the most out of strawberries, you may want to add them to your diet when they are in season. All fruits and vegetable lose some of their nutritional value as they age. So, unless you picked them from the vine yourself your best chance to get fresh strawberries will be in June. If you live farther south strawberries tend to ripen around April or May instead.
WLD Blueberry Recipe: Blueberry Pudding
- 1/3 cup frozen blueberries
- 1/2 avocado
- 1/4 cup chopped cucumber
- 1 tbsp chia seeds
- 6 drops liquid Stevia
- Blend all ingredients in food processor until combined
- Top with toppings of choice, if desired
- Calories: 219kcal | Carbohydrates: 14g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Sodium: 9mg | Potassium: 536mg | Fiber: 11g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 145IU | Vitamin C: 10.1mg | Calcium: 88mg | Iron: 1.5mg
Health benefits of Blueberries
Blueberries are one of the more popular berries and for a good reason. Beyond their excellent flavor blueberries are low in calories, high in fiber, and packed with vitamin C and vitamin K. Blueberries also contain protein, carbs, and fiber.
Blueberries also contain the most antioxidants of all popular fruits and vegetables. Antioxidants protect our bodies from free radicals. Free radicals are unstable molecules that can damage cells in our bodies. Over time free radicals can contribute to disease such as cancer and even aging.
The antioxidants with the greatest benefits that can be found in blueberries are called Flavonoids.
Blueberries are also known to reduce DNA damage, prevent heart disease, and help protect brain functions and memory.
Like Strawberries, blueberries are best when in season. However, blueberries are in season almost all year long. In North America blueberries are harvested from April to September. In South America blue berries are in season from October to March.
WLD Raspberry Recipe: Raspberry Torte
- 1/2 cup coconut flour
- 6 eggs
- 1/2 cup coconut oil
- 2 tsp Stevia + water to fill up 1/2 cup measuring cup
- 1 dropperful Vanilla Stevia
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 3/4 cup frozen raspberries
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees
- In large bowl, mix coconut flour, eggs, coconut oil, stevia/water mixture), vanilla Stevia, salt and baking soda
- Blend with hand mixer till smooth don’t over beat or the coconut flour thickens too much
- Fold in raspberries
- Use a 9″ springform cake pan lined with parchment paper
- Bake 30-35 minutes and then let cool
- Calories: 202kcal | Carbohydrates: 6g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 14g | Cholesterol: 123mg | Sodium: 170mg | Potassium: 63mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 178IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 21mg | Iron: 1mg
Health benefits of Raspberries
Raspberries are another great option when looking for a sweet alternative to processed sugars. A good source of fiber and vitamin C, raspberries are packed with tons of nutrients. Some of these include manganese, Iron, magnesium, and vitamins K, E, and B
Like Blueberries, Raspberries are also high in antioxidant compounds such as vitamin C, ellagic acid, and quercetin.
Raspberries are also known to help improve your blood sugar due to their high fiber. Additionally, they can reduce the risk of disease and cancer, and they have even been shown to help improve arthritis through their anti-inflammatory properties. Raspberries can also help improve brain function.
If you are looking to find raspberries at their peak ripeness you should be looking around mid to late summer. The exact dates for raspberry picking vary from place to place depending on a variety of conditions.
WLD Blackberry Recipe: Blackberry Heaven Smoothie
- 4 oz. blackberries frozen
- 1/4 cup kefir
- Vanilla cream liquid stevia, to taste
- 1/4 cup unsweetened coconut milk or almond milk
- 2 inches banana or around 2 oz.
- Combine all ingredients in Magic Bullet, Ninja, NutriBullet, etc.
- Process until thick and creamy
- Calories: 132kcal | Carbohydrates: 17g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 8mg | Sodium: 74mg | Potassium: 184mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 366IU | Vitamin C: 24mg | Calcium: 108mg | Iron: 1mg
Health benefits of Blackberries
Blackberries are another berry that are loaded with benefits. High in vitamins K and C, blackberries are also known for being packed with manganese. One cup of blackberries has almost half of your daily recommended value of manganese. Manganese helps people manage their blood sugar levels and helps to reduce epileptic seizures for people who struggle with them. Manganese is also thought to help prevent osteoporosis.
Eating blackberries regularly has been linked to improved heart health. because they are high in fiber and antioxidants they can help fight against damaging forces like radiation and some pathogens. Blackberries are also known to improve brain health, and they are great for your bones.
There is also no know downsides to eating blackberries as long as you are not directly allergic to them. Because of this you might want to add blackberries to diet the moment you get the chance!
Blackberries are generally at their peak ripeness from July to August in the US.
WLD Acai Berry Recipe: Acai Berry Smoothie
- 1/2 cup acai berry juice (or adjust for acai powder)
- 1 banana small
- 1/2 cup blueberries
- 1/4 cup mango
- 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
- vanilla liquid stevia to taste
- Combine all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth
- Calories: 281kcal | Carbohydrates: 60g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 333mg | Potassium: 588mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 40g | Vitamin A: 719IU | Vitamin C: 35mg | Calcium: 346mg | Iron: 1mg
Health benefits of Acai Berry
Acai is yet another berry that is incredibly rich in antioxidants. With three times more antioxidants than your average blueberry, acai berries only lose to blueberries on the popularity front. Some people even call acai berries a super food because of their health benefits.
There have been many studies showing that acai berries lower bad cholesterol. Like many other berries’ acai is also known to boost brain function, help lower inflammation and arthritis, and can even lower the chances of developing cancer.
Acai is also known to aid weight loss, boost your energy levels, and even help your digestion.
Acai Berries have a short shelf life and are native to South and Central America so you will generally only see them as purees, powders, or juices. An acai puree is probably the best way to go if you want to enjoy their natural flavor but the powder and juice both deliver antioxidants and nutrients. Just remember that and store-bought juice can potentially be loaded with processed sugars.
When presented with condensed sugary options we can’t help but crave what’s in front of us. This reaction goes back our hunter gatherer days when food was scarce and natural sugars were our only option. By getting back to natural sweets like fruits and berries we can enjoy sugars without taking in empty calories.
Try to remember the next time your reach for something sugary that it’s a natural and biological reaction but it doesn’t have to lead to bad choices. Instead, try incorporating some healthier options and reap the benefits when you try these WLD berry recipes above!