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Berry, berry good for you

Allie from Vancity

They’re small, sweet and easy to eat.  Just pick, rinse, and pop one in your mouth. Not only do berries taste good, they’re good for you as well.  Regardless of shape or size, blueberries, strawberries, raspberries -- any berries -- experts say they provide significant health benefits, which is why some people call them the new super fruit.

Click the "Read More" button to hear our interview with Joan Rogus.

On this week’s Take Care, Joan Rogus, a registered dietitian and self-proclaimed berry fiend, talks about these benefits. Rogus has been a member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics for over 25 years and maintains a private practice in Syracuse, NY.

Rogus explains what makes a “super food,” or in this case, fruit, super:

“Berries are one of the healthiest foods we can eat,” she said. “They’re full of vitamins, minerals, fiber, they’re low in calories, best of all they taste great and they have certain ingredients in them that are called antioxidants, which are super healthy for us.”

Antioxidants are substances that can help protect your cells from damage or death, and help the body to maintain the appropriate number of healthy cells.

“That helps defend us against cancer, heart disease, they actually protect and help keep our brain healthy, they increase circulation so this could help with arthritis or possibly macular degeneration and even diabetes. So it’s phenomenal the amount of heart healthy benefits and overall health benefits that berries have,” Rogus said.

Rogus explains that since we are already supposed to be eating two cups of fruit a day, if those servings are of berries, it’s even better.

However, fresh berries can be expensive and appetizing ones can be difficult to find off-season. But Rogus says they don’t have to be fresh. Frozen can be just as good for you.

“Some people are under the assumption that sometimes frozen isn’t as good as fresh and actually it may turn [out] to be just the opposite of that, because when your berries are frozen you avoid the transit time between packaging and getting them to the store so they’re really retaining all their vitamins and minerals,” she said.

The top two healthiest berries according to Rogus are blueberries and strawberries. She suggests if you are buying fresh berries, to eat them within one or two days of purchase and to not wash them until right before you eat them to avoid mold formation.