A Berry Good Idea

They’re happy little do-gooders, with their health saving ways, and their bright and cheery image. Just seeing them in the morning can lift your spirits.

Blueberries and cranberries are pleasing fruits, whether you eat them plain, sprinkle them on your cereal or use them in a low-fat dessert. But tasty as they are, their real benefit is to your health. Loaded with antioxidants, which keep dangerous free radicals in check, the blueberry has been shown to be beneficial to health.

Researchers know that antioxidants help thwart some cancers and heart disease. And researchers at Tufts University found that feeding blueberry extract to animals helped improve their memory and mental agility.

It’s probably the anthocyanin and other natural plant compounds called phytochemicals that make blueberries so healthy. Wild Blueberries, like their European cousins, bilberries, have very high concentrations of anthocyanin. Bilberries have long been linked with reduced eyestrain and improved night vision.

Once the season is over for fresh blueberries, you can still find the frozen version at your grocer’s. Or you can use dried blueberries (we include dried blueberries from Michigan in our gourmet food baskets). And bilberries are available in an extract available in most health food stores.

Cranberries also are beneficial to health… known for their ability to help protect the urinary tract from infection. Compounds in the cranberry, called proanthocyanidins or condensed tannins, prevent certain bacteria from sticking to the urinary tract and causing those painful infections. We include dried cranberry fruit/nut mixes in our baskets, too. And seasonally, you will find chocolate covered blueberries and cranberries in some of our baskets.

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