Are berries the ultimate energy superfood?!

Delicious, beautiful, sweet, and simple-berries are also very healthy food. As a snack, in a fruit salad, or for dessert, simply pick, wash, and eat them to reap the nutritional benefits they have to offer. Recent research has focused on how and why berries fall under the superfoods category.

From high-vitamin concentrations to anticancer-fighting activity, here is the bottom line on the benefits from eating berries:

Cherries have a short season, but are a great choice dried. They are rich in fiber, vitamin C, and anthocyanidins, and are associated with promoting heart health and reducing cancer risk.

Strawberries are rich in folate, which is one of several B vitamins found in superfoods. Folate is responsible for making healthy new cells and preventing anemia and neural tube defects in developing fetuses.

Blueberries neutralize free-radical damage to the collagen matrix of cells and tissues, which can lead to cataracts, glaucoma, varicose veins, hemorrhoids, peptic ulcers, heart disease, and cancer. The properties that help them do this are phytonutrients, called anthocyanidins.

Cranberries are best known for their ability to prevent bacteria from adhering to bladder cells. Recent studies suggest that they also may promote gastrointestinal and oral health; prevent the formation of kidney stones; lower low-density lipoprotein (LDL); raise high-density lipoprotein (HDL), the good cholesterol; aid in recovery from stroke; and even help prevent cancer.

Raspberries are best known for their role in neutralizing free radicals and for their antioxidant benefits. They are also high in manganese, vitamin C, riboflavin, folate, and niacin. In addition, raspberries are a good source of dietary fiber.

These tips may help when shopping for superfoods such as berries:

~Try to consume berries when they are at their peak, remembering that berry seasons are short

~Look for farmers’ markets that sell berries picked that morning, because berries begin to lose their nutrition as soon as they are picked

~Purchase berry containers that contain brightly colored, plump, and unbroken fruit

~Avoid buying berry containers that hold broken, stained, leaky, or moldy berries

~Choose frozen berries if fresh berries are not available-frozen berries tend to lose water and are best used in smoothies and berry sauces, or for cooking or baking