Berries, So Little, But So POWERFUL!

Women have two ovaries, whereas berries have only one.  From that ovary, comes the development of a bacciferous (berry or berry-like) fleshy fruit. To be a berry, it has to have both seeds and pulp. We are focusing today on the cranberry, grape and blueberry.

Then, there are the “berries”. These may look like a berry, but has separate sections that make up the fruit. These compartments are called drupelets. The entire fruit is named an aggregate grouping of drupelets. We are speaking today about the blackberry and the raspberry.

And we can’t leave out the popular strawberry. It is a member of the rose family. This fruit is not a berry. It is called an accessory fruit with a fleshy receptacle. Those “seeds” within the fruit are actually dried hardened pieces of strawberry. The pieces are called achenes. This fruit doesn’t have a set number of chromosomes (genetic material) like we do in our cells. They could have 14, 28, 42, 56 or 70 chromosomes. The size of the strawberry increases with the higher chromosomes.


Stick With The Juice, The Picking Ain’t Fun

Cranberry juice, as a bacterial bladder cleanser, has been popular for many decades. Cranberry does it’s job, by not allowing bacteria to set up shop.  The juice usually works best for a mild UTI (urinary tract infection. In a June 2002, JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association), reported that cranberry juice prevented not only susceptible, but also resistant bacteria from attaching to bladder cells.

Cranberry juice also prevents bacteria from adhering to tooth enamel. Certain bacteria, left on your teeth sets up a biofilm (biological film attaching bacteria to the tooth and each other). Within its own little Disneyworld, bacteria digest sugars in your mouth. Their waste product of digestion is acid. Acid destroys tooth enamel, ultimately resulting in a cavity.


Blue’s Dazzlingly Color And Incredible Taste Makes Hand Harvesting Worthwhile

Blueberries contain 2 compounds and possibly more, that may help improve insulin sensitivity. This would be of utmost importance to the diabetic patient. They are anthocyanin and pterostillbene. The deep blue color of the blueberry is from the antioxidant anthocyanin. Pterostibene, has been shown to lower blood glucose and raise effective insulin levels in mice. Blueberries have one of the highest antioxidant levels of any fruit. Blueberries can help protect you brain from the debilitating mental decline with aging. An important study highlighting the importance of the blueberry came from the Nurses’ Health Study of observing 121,000 women over a period of 17 years. The research conclude that women consuming strawberries and blueberries more than once per week, delayed aging by 2 ½ years. Researchers believe that both stress and inflammation contribute to mental decline. Increasing consumption of these fruits, will limit the neuron (brain nerve cells) damage, delaying brain aging.


Fruit Of The Vine, Fermentation Is Fine

Resveratrol, is an antioxidant in the skins of red grapes, red wine and red grape juice. This chemical has many different health benefits. It will help to lower cholesterol levels. It decreases LDL (bad cholesterol) and increases HDL (good cholesterol). The red grape also has antioxidants that have been shown to protect against age-related macular degeneration (vision loss).



With Yogurt Or Tart, Ultimate Berry Heaven

Blackberries and raspberries, like previous fruits discussed, have large quantities of antioxidants. They are high in fiber and slowly raise blood glucose levels. They inhibit breakdown of foods, especially carbohydrates.  Improvement in glucose control is seen for many diabetic patients.  So these “berries” may reduce the risk of senile dementia, diabetes, and heart/blood vessels disease.


Pick Your Own For The Sweetest, Most Succulent Ones

The strawberry, plays a major role in strawberry shortcake. The fruit has high amounts of manganese, magnesium, vitamin C, dietary fiber, potassium and vitamin K. It inhibits inflammatory chemicals and works the same way as naproxen, ibuprofen and aspirin. This fruit will help with any inflammatory condition like arthritis and asthma. Having high amounts of manganese, it protects against cancer and cardiovascular disease (heart/blood vessel abnormalities).

Some Tips

1. All these berries can be frozen and enjoyed all year-long.

2. Do not wash them before freezing. If you do, make sure they are completely dried off before putting them into cold hibernation. Put them in a zip-lock freezer bag in the back of the freezer.

3. Berries are amazing. If possible, eat them every day. This year, purchase them at their peak and freeze them for the colder months.

4. When strawberries are shipped from afar, their sugar content is less than half of local strawberries. That is why they don’t taste as good as they look.

5. Blueberries will not ripen, once picked.

The blueberries crawl
From a blueberry tree
Where the blueberries call
To a blueberry sea.

And the blueberry sun
Sticks its head through the sky
As the blueberries hum
And the birds skitter by.

And the blueberry waves
Tap their toes on the floor
As the blueberries laze
By the blueberry shore

And the blueberries crawl
From a blueberry tree
Where the blueberries call
To a blueberry sea.

© Deborah Gordon 2009


Berry Delicious Finale

Categories: Health

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