One of my favorite things to do in the Summer, wherever I am, is to wake early and hit the local farmers market. This past week my healthy haul consisted mainly of fresh berries; blueberries, strawberries, raspberries….my favorite summer snack! As I looked down into my basket full of all my fresh finds, I was inspired to share with all of you why I love berries so much and why I think you should start eating them too. There’s no better time to start incorporating fresh berries into your diet than summertime!

Before I share the details on why berries are so good for you and why I love them so much I wanted to bring up a comment I got from a client a few weeks ago. She said that she was afraid to eat fruit because it’s full of sugar. What I told her first was that I have never in my life heard of anyone getting fat off fruit! Yes, fruit has sugar in it but it’s not the same as the refined sugar we urge you to have in moderation. Fruit is clean and natural and fruit will not make you fat.

I’m a lover of all fresh fruit really but my absolute favorite fruit is berries and here’s why:

Berries are full of fiber! You all know how much I believe in the power of poop (if you haven’t read my blog post on that yet, you can find it here) and berries are an excellent source of natural fiber. Fiber helps you flush your system of toxins while helping you beat the bloat!

Berries are the champions of disease prevention. Because they are full of antioxidants (they average nearly 10 times more antioxidants than any other fruits) and anti-inflammatory properties, studies show that berries offer the potential protection against cancer and as a guard for the liver and the brain. Their anticancer properties come from their ability to counteract, reduce, and repair damage resulting from oxidative stress and inflammation. They’ve also been found to boost our levels of natural killer cells, a type of white blood cell that’s a vital member of the immune systems raid response team against virus-infected and cancerous cells.

Berries are full of nutrients. In addition to antioxidants berries contain great amounts of vitamins and minerals. Berries, strawberries in particular are so high in vitamin C that 1 cup of strawberries provides 150% of your recommended daily intake! Berries are also a great source of manganese, Vitamin K, and folate. Berries are nature’s immune system booster!

Berries are brain food! More than any other fruits and vegetables, studies have shown that consuming just a handful of berries a day can slow the brains aging process by more than two years. Additionally, studies have found recently that blueberries can improve cognitive performance within hours of consumption. A note I need to remember when preparing breakfast for my youngest during testing week at school!

Berries are low in calories (and carbs if you’re counting them)! The calorie count for 3.5 ounces (100 grams) of berries ranges from 32 for strawberries to 57 for blueberries, making berries some of the lowest-calorie fruits around. This makes them an excellent addition to any meal.

In the summer I love to add fresh berries to my salads; there’s something about fresh strawberries on a salad in the summertime that is so refreshing. I top my yogurt with all kinds of berries in the morning for breakfast and I pack them for an easy snack at the beach in the afternoon.

In the winter I even buy frozen berries from Trader Joe’s (you can buy at any local supermarket). I include them in my smoothies or I defrost them in the fridge and pretend its summer all over again! Enjoy xx Janine