The berry is a very complicated topic to tackle because it falls under a lot of categories such as culinary arts, botany and nutritional science. Given that it has a lot of categories to fall into, we’ll tackle the easiest and most relatable to all. We’ll discuss the common edible berries and the 6 berries that you should include in your diet and why.
In layman’s term, a berry is a small pulpy and often edible fruit. It is usually round in shape, juicy, may be sweet or sour, and often brightly colored. It does not have a stone or pit and seeds may be present inside or outside.
While some varieties might be poisonous, most berries can be eaten. It is a type of food that is eaten worldwide. The most popular varieties that we widely produce and consume are the strawberry, blueberry, blackberry, cranberry, cherry and raspberry.
Aside from consuming it by itself, the most common culinary uses of berries are for making jams, jellies, preserves, baked goods, juices, flavorings, and as wines.
To clarify jams and preserves, jams are usually MASHED pieces of fruit cooked with sugar and pectin and it usually can’t hold itself.
Preserves on the other hand are LARGE PIECES of fruit which are cooked in their own juice along with a citrus (maybe lemon) and sugar.
Baked goods such as blueberry preserves and instant blueberry mixes are some of the baked goods we usually use. Fresh juice mixes and other berry flavored mixes, whether powdered or concentrated, are also commercially produced for the convenience of consumers. Berry wines such as Framboise (Raspberry liqueurs) are also made for making alcoholic and fancy beverages.
Anthocyanins and Flavonoids are the two essential ANTIOXIDANTS that are commonly found in berries. The blue, red, yellow and deep blue colored shades result in the pigments of the berries that contain anthocynanin and flavonoids. Berries also contain fiber which keeps that digestive system healthy.
6 Berries to Include in Your Diet
Vastly grown in mainland China, the Chinese wolfberry or wolfberry in other names, is deep red in color and contains the highest level of antioxidants among all berries. It is deep red in color and it is composed on 18 essential amino acids, 21 trace minerals, vitamins and has more beta carotene per portion than a carrot.
Blueberries are commonly grown in countries that enjoy 4 seasons in a year. Its blue color is related to high amounts of anthocyanins. It is an antioxidant powerhouse and its phytonutrients aids in neutralizing free radicals in our system which then prevents cancer causing cells.
Pronounced [a-sa-yi], this berry is a relatively new found health treasure. It was only known in the forest of the Amazon, this berry was traditionally used as a powerful healing and energy boosting fruit. Like the blueberry, it also has very dense amounts of anthocyanins. Moreover, it holds 10x the amount of antioxidants as grapes and twice the amount of blueberries. Today, the açaí berry is one of the most popular health foods targeted by health buffs and the demand for it continues to rise.
Probabyly the most popular type of berry due to its availability and over 600 varieties, the strawberry is high in antioxidants called phenols. Phenols can reduce macular degeneration of the eye and can reduce risk of cancer. It is an excellent source of potassium, fiber, omega-3, vitamins B, C and minerals. Most common color is red and a small variety of strawberries are colored green.
The blackberry holds the highest level of soluble fiber called pectin.Pectin helps lower cholesterol in our blood. Also containing powerful antioxidants such as flavonoids and anthocynanins, it is also extremely high in ellagic acid (antioxidant that inhibits the DNA binding of certain carcinogens from burnt food), Vitamin C and Vitamin E.
Mostly cultivated in parts of the Americas and Canada, the cranberry is also an essential berry that is high in antioxidant, vitamins, manganese and essential minerals. Often processed into dried fruit, jellies, preserves, jams, juice and sauces, the cranberry proves itself to be very flexible for consumption.
All of these berries can be found in different forms in the market and they are what we need to incorporate in our diet to make our body healthy, energized and fully-functional.