Low Hanging Fruit
The Benefits of Berries
When the stomach is empty, the body doesn’t have a problem digesting high fiber fruit pulp. But, when eaten with heavier foods like pasta and burgers, the digestion process slows, causing the fruit to literally rot in the gut. Try to eat fruit alone, or with other fruits, an hour before a meal or two to three hours after one. First thing in the morning works best.
For anyone uncomfortable with pills, powders, shots and gels, Mother Nature offers an alternative way to stay healthy this winter. We’re talking berries, the tart little packets of juicy goodness found on the sides of backwoods trails, or, even more conveniently, the produce section of Trader Joe’s. But beware: not all berries are created equal, and some go together better than others. (Also, banana peels are slippery, so keep an eye out for those.) Our resident fruitarian breaks down some of the most popular options, along with their particular benefits and the vitamins they provide.
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Benefits of Blueberries: The phytonutrients that give blueberries their color also play a role in reducing inflammation and inhibiting tumor growth. In one study, feeding blueberries to rats reduced the brain damage associated with stroke. That’s rats, but, you know. Still good for you.
Vitamins: C, magnesium, folate
Benefits of Blackberries Like blueberries, blackberries get their color from phytonutrients. One of these, ellagic acid, is an antioxidant shown to promote skin health. Because of their high fiber content, blackberries also help regulate bowel movements (though this is true for most fruits).
Vitamins: K, manganese
Benefits of Grapes Grapes are a fleshy fruit produced from a single ovary…meaning that they’re a berry. Red grapes contain resveratrol, famous for warding off heart disease, but all grapes have quercetin, an anti-inflammatory that will soothe tired muscles after a workout and help with allergies come spring.
Vitamins: C, K
Benefits of Raspberries Like blackberries, raspberries contain ellagic acid as well as other phytonutrients that stimulate collagen production and B vitamins that combat Seasonal Affective Disorder. According to one recent study, they also enhance fertility.
Vitamins: C, B, magnesium, manganese
Benefits of Strawberries Eight strawberries or one orange? Your choice, but they contain the same amount of vitamin C. Unlike the other berries in the bunch, which fall into the category of sub-acid fruits, strawberries are acidic, meaning that they should be eaten by themselves, or along with other acid fruits like kiwi.
Vitamins: C, low calories