Today’s guest post by Jennifer Neily, MS, RD, CSSD, LD
Red, white and blue – our nation’s colors….AND two of these happen to be the colors of my favorite fruits! What’s better than strawberries and blueberries? Not much in my book. That’s why I take every opportunity to use them in one of my fave guilt-free desserts:
Strawberry – Blueberry Shortcake with Whipped Topping
The ingredients could not be simpler:
- Slice of angel food cake
- Whipped topping
Surely you’ve heard how good berries are — but do you know why? Like most plant-based foods they’re terrific sources of the disease fighting plant compounds called phytochemicals. Strawberries contain flavonoids that have health protective benefits as well as folate, vitamin C, potassium, and fiber. My colleague, registered dietitian and “Guy-a-titian” Dave Grotto, author of 101 Foods That Can Save Your Life states that, “the plant nutrients found in strawberries, particularly polyphenols, have antioxidant capabilities that can reduce inflammation and oxidative stress. These two harmful processes have been linked to major challenges to our health. Polyphenols help to protect and repair cells.”
And then there are blueberries. I remember as a kid going blueberry picking in the Midwest. One beautiful summer afternoon my mom, brother Mark and I brought home a whopping 45 pounds of blueberries! And that’s just what we paid for—we picked a whole lot more. I can only imagine how many ended up in my belly. I’m surprised I still love blueberries as much as I do I ate so many that day! We’d wash them, dry them and pack them in the freezer. So year-round we would have wonderful blueberry treats. They were great to munch on straight from the freezer since they froze like marbles.
Little did I know those succulent little blue things were going to end up being such a super great food. They contain phytochemicals that are different from those in strawberries — called anthocyanins — which give them their beautiful rich blue color. They’re also good sources of resveratrol — a chemical found in grapes and red wine. Like the polyphenols in strawberries, these phytochemicals are powerful disease-fighting antioxidants.
So this Memorial Day weekend, add some red, white, and blue to your festivities!! You’ll be doing a great thing for your health and your taste buds!