Food of the Month: Dark Berries

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Dark Berries: Raspberries, Blueberries, Cherries, Blackberries

This month’s theme it about how to help your brain recover more quickly from stress. One of my favorite foods to add to a client’s diet is dark berries. I am not going to get all geeky about the names of the chemicals that help your brain. You can look those up if you need them. What I am going to highlight is some of the great things they do for you when you consume them consistently.

Clinically, clients report better memories and a clearer ability to see in their minds. For example, the color of your car is ______? You can see your car even if the car is not actually in the room that you’re in, right? Eating berries helps the brain visualize concepts colors, and thoughts. Additionally, studies show that dark berries also:

  • improve memory and the connections of nerves in the brain
  • help prevent some cancers and cardiovascular disease
  • are high in fiber, without a lot of carbs
  • are high in antioxidants, which help reduce inflammation and protect cells from oxidative stress damage.

I’m often asked if it’s important to eat only organic berries. Organic assures that they have not been sprayed with pesticides, but some farms are not certified organic but don’t spray. It’s the residual pesticides that you want to avoid, so ask your grocers and if you can’t get non-sprayed berries, be sure to rinse them well before eating.

How much to eat? Fresh or frozen, 1 cup a day is not too much. Dried berries and juices are denser so limiting these forms to ¼ to ½ cup per day is a good rule of thumb. These serving sizes are about 15 to 20 grams of carbs. If you are trying to stabilize your glucose and prevent hypoglycemia, pairing the berries with 1/4 cup of nuts or ½ cup of Greek-style yogurt is a good idea. This will give you a carb to protein ration of 2-3 to 1.