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Hy-Vee Dietitian: Benefits of Berries

Fresh and frozen, berries are nutritional powerhouses. Experts suggest eating a serving of berries two times per week to get the most benefit.

Blackberries are composed of about 80% water and healthful fiber. These berries can contribute to weight loss, lower elevated cholesterol levels or manage type II diabetes. The folate in blackberries may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. The rich blue-black color indicates exceptionally high levels of healthful antioxidants.

Strawberries provide 160% of the recommended daily amount of Vitamin C for immune support. Strawberries are also rich in folate, fiber and potassium (for healthy blood pressure). The red anthocyanins in strawberries help protect cells from damage by harmful molecules. Strawberries are also a source of essential vitamins B1 and B5 (pantothenic acid) for energy, as well as manganese for bone growth.

Raspberries are abundant in antioxidants, particularly ellagic acid, a potent cancer fighter. High in fiber (4 g per ½ cup), vitamin C, manganese and niacin, raspberries have a mild flavor but a powerful nutritional impact.

Blueberries have phytonutrients that protect cells from damage that may lead to cataracts, glaucoma, peptic ulcers, heart disease and even cancer. Also a good source of vitamin C, blueberries are an excellent source of manganese for cell production. Eating blueberries may protect the brain from oxidative stress and help guard against age-related dementia.

Here are a few recipes to help get more berries in your diet!

Berry Tiramisu

All you need:
• 1 package (3 to 4 1/2 oz) sponge-type ladyfingers
• 2 cups vanilla low-fat yogurt (or fat-free)
• 1/4 cup seedless raspberry jam
• 1/2 pint fresh raspberries

All you do:
Place half of ladyfingers in bottom of glass pan or bowl. Top with 1 cup yogurt and half of jam. Do another layer of ladyfingers, yogurt and jam. Top with raspberries.

Blushing Salad

Serves: 4.
All you need:
• 2 tablespoons raspberry vinegar
• 2 tablespoons raspberry jam
• 1/3 cup canola oil
• 8 cups spinach
• ¾ cup toasted sliced almonds
• 1 cup fresh raspberries
• 3 strawberries, sliced

All you do:
Dressing: combine vinegar and jam in a small bowl. Add oil in thin stream, whisking well.
Toss spinach with almonds, fruit and dressing. Enjoy?

Fruit Salsa with Cinnamon Pita Chips

Serves: 8.
All you need:
• 2 kiwis, peeled and diced
• 1 apple, peeled and diced
• 1 (8 oz.) pkg. fresh blackberries
• 1 pint fresh strawberries, hulled and quartered
• 3 tablespoons raspberry preserves
• Stacy's Cinnamon Sugar Pita Chips, for serving

All you do:
In a large bowl, combine kiwi, apple, raspberries, strawberries and raspberry preserves. Serve with Stacy's brand Cinnamon Sugar Pita Chips.

Berry Parfaits

Serves 1.
All you need:
• 1 (6-ounce) container vanilla yogurt
• ¼ cup granola
• ½ cup sliced fresh strawberries
• ½ banana, sliced

All you do:
Pour yogurt in a glass or bowl. Top with granola and cut-fruit.

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