Wellness News & Info

Berries: Very Nutritious and Very Berry Good

Mary

by Mary Howard, RN

Blueberries, Blackberries, Raspberries, and Strawberries are all very healthy. Besides containing Vitamin C they also contain Antioxidants. Antioxidants break down harmful molecules in the body that lead to age related illnesses. Among 40 other fruits and vegetables, blueberries are the highest in these Antioxidant properties.

Some of the major nutrients that berries contain, their function and the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) standard for your comparison are:

Protein: The RDA standard is 50 to 60 mg. a day, berries contain between 1 to 2 grams per cup as compared to a 3 oz. piece of beef has 23. That is not too impressive, but the rest of the nutrients are. Protein is the major building unit of the body and is made up of Amino Acids. It is important for the growth and maintenance of muscle and other body tissues.

Calcium: The RDA is 800 mg a day. Berries contain 22 to 46 mg per cup as compared to a piece of beef 10 mg. That is a pretty impressive comparison, there is more Calcium in the berries than in a 3oz. serving of beef. Calcium is important in bone formation, tooth formation, blood clotting, nerve transmission, muscle contraction and relaxation and enzyme activation.

Iron: The RDA is 10 to 15 mg per day. Berries contain 1.1 to 1.5 mg per cup as compared to a piece of beef is 2.9. Iron is an important part of hemoglobin formation. Hemoglobin is the part of your blood that transports oxygen. Iron is also very important during growth and pregnancy.

Vitamin A: The RDA is 800 to 1000 IU. Berries contain 90 to 290 IU per cup as compared to a piece of beef only has 30. Vitamin A is largely responsible for beta-carotene, and is the pigment in fruit and vegetables. Beta-carotene is a precursor of Vitamin A and supplies about 2/3 of the vitamin supply in human nutrition. Vitamin A has a role in vision, the adaptation to light and dark. It is important in skeletal and soft tissue growth and in the reproductive function.

Vitamin B: There are 8 B Vitamins but 3 of the major ones are Thiamin, Riboflavin and Niacin. Thiamin RDA is 1.1 to 1.5 mg per day. Berries contain 0.04 mg per cup. The same as a piece of beef. Riboflavin RDA is 1.5 mg per day. Berries contain 0.06 to 0.11 mg per cup, compared to a piece of beef which contains 0.18 mg. Niacin RDA is 15 to 19 mg per day. Berries contain 0.6 to 1.1 mg per cup. Compared to piece of beef which contains 3.6 mg.

B Vitamins are important in Coenzyme and Enzyme function for energy metabolism and tissue building. They help produce energy from Glucose. They also control the absorption of proteins by taking the nitrogen off certain amino acids.

Vitamin C: The RDA is 40 mg a day. Berries contain 20 to 88 mg per cup. Vitamin C is essential to build and maintain bones, cartilage and connective tissue. It is also important in the building and maintenance of blood vessels. It is easily depleted from the body stores during fever and infection.

Berries are delicious fresh or also freeze well. It is recommended not to wash the berries before freezing if they have not been treated with any kind of harmful sprays. Ask your grower what they have been sprayed with.

Berries are great in pancakes, deserts or just fresh. Adding berries to your diet is a healthy, refreshing treat. They are a great tasting snack and good for you all at the same time! If there is any need to eat them “In Moderation” nature will tell you so.

Much of my resources for this article were taken from Essentials of Nutrition and Diet Therapy by Sue Rodwell Williams, Ph.D., M.P.H., R.D.

Fifth edition, Copyright 1990, Printed in St. Louis, MO. 63146, by the Times Mirror/Mosby College Publishing.

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Mary Howard is a Registered Nurse, mother of two, and enjoys natural gardening. She hosts this Site: www.Powerlinehealth.com

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