looked "berry" good for berries in 2004 when United States Department
of Agriculture (USDA) researchers released a list of the top 20 antioxidant-rich
foods in a study of over 100 commonly consumed foods tested (Journal
of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, June 9, 2004).
cultivated blueberries, cranberries, blackberries, raspberries and strawberries
took six of the top 11 spots. Here's the complete top 20 list--from highest
to lowest in antioxidant activity--based on serving size:
red beans, (dry, cooked), 1/2 cup
2. WILD BLUEBERRIES, 1 cup
3. Red kidney beans, (dry, cooked), 1/2 cup
4. Pinto beans, (dry, cooked), 1/2 cup
5. BLUEBERRIES (CULTIVATED), 1 cup
6. CRANBERRIES, 1 cup whole
7. Artichokes (cooked), 1 cup hearts
8. BLACKBERRIES, 1 cup
9. Prunes, 1/2 cup
10. RASPBERRIES, 1 cup
11. STRAWBERRIES, 1 cup
12. Red delicious apples, 1
13. Granny Smith apples, 1
14. Pecans, 1 ounce
15. Sweet cherries, 1 cup
16. Black plums, 1
17. Russet potato, (cooked), 1
18. Black beans (dry, cooked), 1/2 cup
19. Plums, 1
20. Gala apples, 1
like rust on a car, oxidation can cause damage to cells and may contribute
to aging," states the American Dietetic Association. Antioxidants
may help increase our immune function and protect against cancer and heart
disease. They function by neutralizing the damaging effects of "free
radicals" that form during cell metabolism as oxygen is burned.
these foods, researchers cautioned their antioxidant activity in the laboratory
may differ from their antioxidant activity in the body. Absorption capacity
may vary, and cooking processes may affect antioxidant levels. For example,
cooking increased the antioxidant content of tomatoes but decreased levels
in carrots. While a food didn't make the top 20 for antioxidant activity,
it may still be a source of other health benefits.
advantages over supplements in supplying antioxidants. They may provide
compounds that offer benefits of which we're presently unaware. Foods
also may contain additional substances that work with antioxidants to
make them effective.
Heart Association (AHA) states, "At this time, the scientific
evidence supports a diet high in food sources of antioxidants and other
heart-protecting nutrients, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains and
nuts instead of antioxidant supplements to reduce risk of CVD (coronary
vascular disease). AHA further advises, "Some studies even suggest
that antioxidant supplement use could have harmful effects."
wait for more to be known about antioxidants, we already have a good reason
to eat berries. They taste good! Here are some recipes to get you started.
Apple Crisp .......
recipe may be enjoyed with a variety of berries.
Cranberry Apple Crisp, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
5 to 9 a Day for Better Health Program)
pared, sliced tart apples, about 6 medium apples (See
Alice's tip 1)
1-1/2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries (See
Alice's tip 2)
1/3 cup sugar
all-purpose flour (See Alice's tip 3)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup chilled butter, cut into small pieces
oven rack so crisp will bake in the middle of the oven. Preheat oven
to 375 F. Lightly grease a 9-inch square baking pan. (See
Alice's tip 4)
a large bowl, mix the apples and cranberries with the sugar until
coated. Transfer to baking pan.
Mix flour, brown sugar and cinnamon. Work in butter until light and
crumbly. (See Alice's tip 5)
topping evenly over apples and cranberries.
45 minutes or until apples are tender. Cool on a wire rack about 15
minutes before serving. If desired, serve with a small scoop of a
light ice cream or frozen yogurt (See
Alice's tips 6 & 7)
Granny Smith apples work well as a tart apple in this recipe.
Leave the skins on if desired.
1-1/2 cups of fresh or frozen blueberries, blackberries or raspberries
may be substituted for the cranberries; 1-1/2 cups of sliced
fresh strawberries is another substitution possibility.
half cup of whole wheat flour may be substituted for the white
flour if you like. If desired, instead of using all flour, use
1/3 cup flour and 1/4 cup quick or old-fashioned oats.
Instead of greasing the pan, spray it with a no-stick cooking
butter can be shredded with a cheese grater for easier mixing.
Combine butter with the dry ingredients by working it into the
flour mixture with a pastry blender or two knives until the
mixture looks like coarse crumbs and there are no large chunks
of butter visible.
As a quicker method of mixing the topping: Place the flour,
brown sugar and cinnamon in a food processor and pulse until
combined. Add butter and pulse 10 times or until mixture is
for apple tenderness by inserting the tip of a paring knife
into the apples. This leaves smaller cuts in the apples and
topping than using a fork.
warm. Limit the TOTAL time the crisp is left at room temperature
to two hours. Refrigerate and eat remaining crisp within 3 days.
To reheat leftover crisp, warm in a preheated 350 F for 20 - 30
minutes. Heat single servings in the microwave on higher power
for 60 - 90 seconds.
Fruit Snack Mix .......
Adapted from Sports Mix, National Cancer Institute 5 to 9 a Day
for Better Health Program at www.5aday.gov)
- 1 tablespoon
- 1 tablespoon
- 1 tablespoon
dried tart cherries (See Alice's tip 1)
- 1 tablespoon
- 1 tablespoon
coarsely chopped nuts
- 3 tablespoons
of a whole grain cereal, such as bite-size shredded wheat or round toasted
fruits, nuts and cereal. Carry individual servings in small zip-top snack
If your store doesn't carry all these types of dried fruit, use
more of one of the other dried fruits or substitute a different
Good Pancakes .......
a whole grain pancake mix or your favorite "from scratch" recipe,
and fresh or pourable individually frozen blueberries.
pancake batter according to package directions.
into batter 1/2 to 1 cup blueberries per each cup of flour or baking
mix in your recipe.
pancakes according to package or recipe directions. For added fruity
flavor, top with fruit sauce or berry jam instead of syrup and butter.
(See Alice's tip 1)
pancakes taste best fresh from the griddle, they can be held briefly
as you make others by placing them in a single layer on a baking
sheet in a 200 F oven.
with other dried berries or combinations of berries in this recipe!
Adapted from Chunky Cranberry Spread, American Institute for Cancer Research
package low-fat cream cheese
1-2 tablespoons low-fat milk
1/2 cup chopped dried cranberries (See Alice's
1/4 cup chopped blanched almonds or other nut (See
Alice's tip 2)
1/2 teaspoon orange zest, preferably fresh
(See Alice's tip 3)
cream cheese in a medium bowl and allow to soften at room temperature.
Mash and work with a fork until texture is light enough to combine
easily with other ingredients. (See Alice's
add just enough milk so cheese becomes soft and easy to spread.
in remaining ingredients. Cover and refrigerate up to 2 days ahead.
Flavors will blend and mellow if this recipe is made ahead of time
and allowed to refrigerate at least a few hours before serving .
on slices of a whole-grain bread.
Information: Makes about 1 1/2 cups, or 1 tablespoon per average slice
of bread. Per serving: 36 calories, 2g. total fat (1 g. saturated fat),
3 g. carbohydrate, 1 g. protein, less than 1 g. dietary fiber, 29 mg.
chopped, dried berries--such as blueberries--or combinations
of berries may be substituted for the cranberries in this recipe.
purchasing "blanched" almonds, this means almonds
that have the skin removed. For added fiber, substitute almonds
with their skins.
make orange zest for this recipe, first thoroughly wash the
outside of the orange under running tap water and dry with a
paper towel. Be careful to just remove the orange portion and
leave the more bitter white pith behind. Measure the zest lightly
into the measuring spoon; do not pack. For grated zest, a rasplike
zester, such as a Microplane® zester, yields a fluffier
zest than does the small holes of a regular grater.
Avoid letting cream cheese sit at room temperature over 2 hours
TOTAL time. This includes during food preparation and while
you're serving the food. To quickly soften 8 oz. of cream cheese,
transfer it to a microwave-safe bowl and microwave on high for
10 to 15 seconds.
Adapted from Peach Raspberry Smoothie, National Cancer Institute 5 to
9 a Day for Better Health Program at www.5aday.gov)
unsweetened, frozen raspberries (See Alice's
tips 1 & 2)
3/4 cup 100% orange juice (See Alice's tip
1/2 cup fruit-flavored, low-fat yogurt (See
Alice's tip 4)
ingredients well in blender, and drink!
frozen strawberries, blackberries or blueberries for the raspberries.
Using frozen fruits helps thicken the smoothie. To freeze fresh
berries, wash them thoroughly under running tap water, pat dry
with clean paper towels and freeze in a single layer on a rimmed
cookie sheet. Transfer to a freezer bag when frozen. Pour out
different juices, such as pineapple, apple, orange-tangerine
and other 100 percent juice blends. For quickly making a variety
of flavors of smoothies, keep little 6-ounce cans of juice in
choice of yogurt is limited only by your imagination. If you
use plain yogurt, you may need to add 1 to 2 teaspoons of sugar,
honey or an equivalent amount of a no-calorie sweetener.