Press Release - May 11, 2006

Berries are now in season...

TMFHS registered dietitian Marci Wright has some suggestions for using nature's health offerings in tasty dishes!

Exploring the Nutritional Benefits of Berries

Berries, such as strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries, are a delicious addition to any meal and are power-packed with nutrients essential to good health. Native Amercians were the first to incorporate berries into their diet and lifestyle. Today, berries are enjoyed world-wide.

Most berries are suitable to eat raw, which makes them a quick snack option or an easy addition to a meal. Berries are in season (cost less and are more flavorful) during the summer months. When purchasing berries, they should be dry, firm, well-shaped without mold or excess juice. Berries should be eaten within one week of purchase or frozen. Nutrient-dense and low in calories, berries are a rich source of Vitamin C potassium, fiber,and are low in calories. The Table bleow summarizes some of the nutritional benefits of the most popular berries:

Strawberries: 8 medium berries provide 45 calories, 3 grams fiber, 10 grams of carbohydrate, and 140% of daily vitamin C requirements

Blueberries: 1 cup serving provides 80 calories, 20 grams carbohydrate, 4 grams fiber, and 30% of daily vitamin C requirements.

Raspberries: 1 cup provides 60 calories, 14 grams carbohydrate, 9 grams fiber, and 50% of dailyvitamin C requirements

Blackberries: 1 cup provides 70 calories, 18 grams carbohydrate, 8 grams fiber, and 50% of daily vitamin C requirements

There are many great ways to incorporate berries into a healthy eating plan. They are a great choice for a snack or dessert when washed and eaten raw. However, if you desire to be more creative, here are just a few ideas to try:

Add berries to your favorite hot or cold cereal
Top pancakes or waffles with berries instead of syrup (less sugar--could save you at least 100 calories)
Use as a topping on yogurt or sherbet
Add berries to your favorite fruit salads for variety and color
Add berries as an ingerdient in your muffin recipe
Using a blender, blend berries into plain or vanilla-flavored yogurt

Incorporating berries as part of a healthy eating plan can help you reap many nutrition benefits. Food high in fiber, low in fat, and rich in vitamin C and other antioxidants can help in preventing heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. Eating berries may help people with diabetes manage their blood glucose levels because they are low in calories, moderate in carbohydrate, and high in fiber. For those who are weight conscious, a cup of berries will help curb hunger pains while providing less than 100 calories! Even a 10 pound weight loss can help control high blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and blood glucose levels.


Raspberry Gelatin Salad
1 package (12 oz.) fresh or frozen raspberies, thawed
1 can (12 oz) frozen apple juice concentrate, thawed
2 packages (0.3 oz each) sugar-free raspberry gelatin
1 can (8 oz) crush pineapple, undrained
1 cup chopped celery
1 medium navel orange, peeled/sectioned/chopped
½ cup chopped walnuts (optional)

In a 3-quart microwave-safe dish, combine raspberries and apple juice concentrate. Cover with wax paper.

Mircowave on high for 8-10 minutes or until most of the berries have popped.

Immediately stir in gelatin powder until disssolved. Cool for 10-15 minutes.

Add remaining ingredients and mix well. Pour into 2-quart gelatin mold ring coated with cooking spray. Refrigerate until firm, about 3 hours.

Unmold onto a serving plate just before serving.

One serving (1/2 cup) - 115 calories, 3 grams, fat, 20 grams carbohydrate
(For individuals with diabetes, this recipe provides 1 carbohydrate choice or 1 fruit, ½ fat)

web site consulted for this summary:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Driscoll's Berries

Submitted by Marci Wright, MS, RD, LD, CDE
Registered Dietitian/Lead Clinical Dietitian -Mother Frances Hospital in Tyler, Texas