Summertime, goes the song, and the livin’ is easy….I can certainly say that the eating is! The Farmers’ Markets are irresistible this time of year, full to bursting with the foods of the season…cucumbers, summer squash, tomatoes, green beans, lettuce, okra, new potatoes…and then those magical treats that are only available for a brief time each year, like garlic scapes –ah, bliss!
But the fruit displays are the ones that lure me most powerfully – the melons, avocados, peaches, apricots, kiwi, plums, and figs – juicy jewels bursting with the sweet essence of summer. Bite in and taste the explosion of flavor in your mouth…catch the juice before it dribbles down your chin… it’s pure sensual pleasure.
And then there are the berries – those juicy little superfood powerhouses that add mega-nutrients to their tart-sweet piquancy. So many varieties, so many benefits! Let’s just focus for right now on three of the most popular: blueberries, blackberries and raspberries. Thanks to Melissa Breyer’s article “Superfoods: 11 Berries to Improve Your Health” on Mother Nature News Network for the nutrient details here.
It seems blueberries are popping up everywhere…muffins, cereals, chocolate bars, you name it… but nothing, nothing compares with the real thing! These sugar-sweet little morsels are loaded with nutrients – vitamins C and K, manganese and fiber – and studies indicate that they may help to keep you young by reducing memory decline and heart attack risk, as well as helping to ease problems with arthritis, cataracts, and reduced eyesight.
Energetically, blueberries support the throat chakra, helping us On-the-Go Women to speak our truth and say No to the things that no longer serve us.
But while ready-made blueberry muffins, cereal, and chocolate may sound tempting, those “blueberries” more often than not are actually“blueberry crunchlets” that contain no actual berries. Who in their right mind would want these, compared to a dew-kissed pint of sweet blue goodness fresh from the farm?
Like blueberries, blackberries can help to keep you looking and feeling young, tightening skin tissue and supporting memory and clear thinking. Their high tannin count makes them a potent anti-inflammatory, as well as helping to reduce intestinal inflammation, diarrhea, and menstrual or labor pain. Their leaves can help bad breath and oral inflammation.
Both blackberries and blueberries support the third eye chakra, improving intuition, sensory input, and overall brain function.
Raspberries are another North American native, good for us On-The-Go Women in so many ways! Like blueberries they’re packed with nutrients – vitamin C, manganese, B vitamins 1–3, folic acid, magnesium, copper and iron, not to mention loads of antioxidants, including the pain-killing salicylic acid. For those of us watching our weight, they’re loaded with a compound called “raspberry ketone,” which some studies indicate is a powerful aid to weight loss.
Red raspberries nourish the root chakra, keeping us grounded and strong in our connection to the Earth. With up to 20% of each berry’s weight as fiber, they support regular elimination, and the salicylic acid in their leaves helps to relieve menstrual pain.
As with blueberries, stay away from “dried raspberry bits” in ready-made foods – that luscious-tasting artificial raspberry flavor actually comes from a substance called Castoreum, which is extracted from beavers’ anal glands. With these miraculous little superfoods supporting our health in so many ways, why compromise?
To Your Best Health!
With any produce, it’s important to look for organic suppliers – and it’s especially important with berries. With their high sugar level, they’re a magnet for bugs, and so they’re extra-heavily doused with pesticides in the field. The Environmental Working Group has identified up to 42 different pesticide residues found on conventionally-grown berries!
Treat yourself, mind, body, and spirit, to the magic of organic berries at your local farmers’ market. In a salad or smoothie, over sorbet or coconut yogurt, they’re the perfect cooling, healing food for midsummer.