What do blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, and plums have in common? In a study recently published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, these four fruits were found to have the highest “total antioxidant capacity” of any food. [source]
So what’s so cool about antioxidants? Antioxidants help repair the damage done to our skin and bodies by free radicals (good-bye, sun damage!)
According to proponents of the primal diet, berries are about the only fruit that primal man had access to, and it’s the only fruit they promote because of the low sugar content and the health benefits. Lately I’ve been trying to move towards a more primal diet for our family.
The theory is that primitive societies did not have the health problems that plague modern society, and their diets mostly consisted of saturated fats, protein and occasionally cruciferous vegetables and berries. They also didn’t have the abundance of food we now have, so they ate a lot less than we typically do.
I’ve been working lately to reduce the amount of grains and sugars in our family’s diet and to focus more on healthy fats and proteins and fruits and veggies. Granted, berries aren’t in season here in Pennsylvania, so we haven’t been eating as many lately, but in the summer when they are local and fresh and plentiful, we eat them like candy. My kids get more excited when I bring home a box of raspberries than they do when I bring home soda. Seriously, if you haven’t experienced fresh, locally grown berries, you haven’t lived.
Unfortunately, most of us have a few months to wait to experience that delight, but if you’re going to splurge on fruit shipped across the country, make it one of the Fab Four — blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, or plums. Even though they don’t retain all their nutrients or taste, they’re still a heckuvalot better for you than anything you can buy in a factory-sealed box.
Another great option is frozen berries. Generally frozen fruits and vegetables are bagged at the peak of ripeness, and freezing them seals in their nutrients. Use frozen berries in fruit smoothies or for desserts. Go ahead! Your skin will thank you.