Summer is almost here! This means all sorts of berries will finally be in season and at their best.
Mixed berries make a great and healthy addition to oatmeal, granola, smoothies, and yogurt.
Learn more about their health benefits and check out our favorite berry recipes in this article.
Bushels of Berries
There is seemingly an endless variety of berries available for us to cook with and snack on.
While the most popular tend to be raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, and strawberries, there are dozens more out there including: gooseberries, goji berries, acai berries, boysenberries, huckleberries, and mulberries.
For the gardening types among us, several of these berries can even be grown at home or in a community garden, with plant nurseries and garden shops commonly offering strawberry seedlings in particular as summer approaches.
You can even go on berry picking excursions if you live within driving distance of berry farms; a fun summer alternative to fall’s apple picking and a way to ensure you’re getting the freshest berries possible outside of going to a local farmer’s market.
Health Benefits of Berries
While all berries have health benefits, such as high levels of antioxidants and vitamin C, there are some that are more particular to some than others.
For example, the best berries to eat for keeping a healthy fiber intake are raspberries, blackberries, and boysenberries with 8 grams of fiber per single cup serving.
This translates into 32% of the recommended daily fiber intake for women and 21% of the daily fiber intake for men. Second place is blueberries, with 14% of your daily fiber intake per single serving.
Mixed berries and strawberries can also help to improve your blood sugar and insulin levels.
Test-tube and human studies suggest that they may protect your cells from high blood sugar levels, help increase insulin sensitivity, and reduce blood sugar and insulin response to high-carb meals both in people with and without insulin resistance.
Additionally, in another study conducted with women, eating 5 ounces (150 grams) of puréed strawberries or mixed berries with bread led to a 24–26% reduction in insulin levels, compared to consuming the bread by itself.
Acai berries in particular have been found to be high in omega-9’s, a fatty acid and powerful anti-inflammatory, and have antioxidant levels higher than cranberries, raspberries, blackberries, strawberries or blueberries.
While mulberries are comparable to bananas in their potassium levels, with 29 grams per serving (10 berries).
How to Enjoy Mixed Berries
It’s super easy to add mixed berries into your diet as they can be enjoyed a variety of ways, including:
- As a salad ingredient
- In oatmeal or porridge
- In cold cereal
- Ice cream
- Blended into sauces or glazes
A Personal Favorite Recipe: Blueberry Mixed Fruit Smoothie
I’ve been making this smoothie for years. I usually eyeball and adjust to taste, but these are the basic measurements I start off with. It’s delicious, healthy, and has no added sugars whatsoever. Mixed berries keep things naturally sweet.
1 ½ cup blueberries
1 cup diced pineapple
½ cup chopped carrot
1 fresh sprig mint (I prefer and grow chocolate mint)
1 fresh sprig basil (I prefer and grow purple basil)
Filtered water, yogurt, or milk to preference
Thoroughly clean and chop all ingredients and place into the blender, making sure to remove any stems from the blueberries and herbs.
Add your preferred liquid to your preferred level of smoothie thickness.
Blend on liquify or extract for 70 seconds. Check consistency and blend again if needed.
Chill in the fridge and serve when cold. You can also serve it over ice if you thin it down further into a juice.
Let us know in the comments how you enjoy your favorite mixed berries and what you think the best berries to eat are for you!
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