The berry best pickings, round two

This is Part Two of a primer on my best berry picks. Part One (last week) included blueberries, cranberries and açaí berries. This one finishes the list and ends with a berry quiz for your amusement.

Raspberries: edible ruby roses

Raspberries, a member of the rose family, are the most ubiquitously grown berries globally. The typical raspberry is reddish-pink with cultivators growing designer hybrid shades of black, white, purple, orange and yellow.

High in vitamins A, B6, C and E along with antioxidants, and a host of trace minerals and other phytochemicals including potassium, copper, manganese, niacin and folic acid, the raspberry has been lauded as a diabetic-friendly miracle berry. It endows health benefits ranging from reducing risk of neurological diseases to slowing down the aging process. Whip up raspberry lemonade, crepes and tarts or toss them in your oatmeal or smoothies.

Strawberry fields forever

The most popular berry in the world, the strawberry, comes in 600 varieties, both wild and cultivated — the larger store-bought varieties are a hybrid species. Packed with vitamins C and K and several B vitamins, trace minerals, fiber and antioxidants, strawberries are not only recommended for decreasing systolic blood pressure, combating the flu, rheumatism and the gout, but also for slowing age-related brain and motor loss and removing tartar from the teeth.

Eat them solo or jazz up a tossed salad, chilled soups, an ice cream sundae, dip in bittersweet chocolate or use them to decorate tropical drinks.

The great goji

The goji berry has been given a lot of media hype lately — but can it live up to its praises? This oblong little orange-reddish berry known by the moniker “happy berry” due to the euphoria it supposedly evokes is native to China, and grows in Mongolia and sheltered regions of the Himalayas. It has been celebrated in festivals and eaten for generations, revered for its powers of procuring longevity and supposedly curing an assortment of aliments.

Studies have shown that the goji, like blueberries, cranberries, açaí and other super berries, is packed with antioxidants; vitamins A, C, B and E; amino acids; and valuable trace minerals associated with boosting the immune system, sharpening eyesight, enhancing circulation and enriching yin. So munch on some dried raw gojis; brew them in tea; toss them in salads, soups or sauces. One word of caution: If you are on blood thinners or meds for diabetes or high blood pressure, there might be an interaction, so gojis are not the berry for you.

Test Your Berry IQ

  1. Strawberries are the only fruit with seeds on the outside, with approximately _ decorating its rosy exterior.

a) 75
b) 125

c) 200

d) 350

  1. This berry prevents bacteria from “sticking” to the interior of the bladder and the gastrointestinal tract, reducing both urinary tract infections and food-borne illnesses.

a) Strawberries
b) Cranberries

c) Loganberries

d) Açaí berries

  1. Açai berries have been revered for their properties of all but

a) to stave off age-related deterioration
b) to put the skids on hearing loss

c) to promote cardiovascular and digestive health

d) to regulate cholesterol levels

e) to decrease degenerative eyesight

  1. A low-calorie sugar substitute extracted from raspberries is

a) Agave
b) Xylitol

c) Sucrose

d) Honey

  1. This super berry contains a substance called “anthocyanin,” which has natural antibiotic properties to combat intestinal bacteria and the dreaded “runs”

a) Raspberry
b) Strawberry

c) Cranberry

d) Blueberry

  1. When a blueberry is frozen or canned, it loses a lot of its

a) Vitamin C
b) Vitamin A

c) Fiber

d) Antioxidant properties

  1. Ancient Romans believed that strawberries were a miracle cure for everything except

a) Bad breath
b) Rashes

c) Depression

d) Fever

e) Blood diseases

  1. Dr. Perricone’s No. 1 super food is

a) Goji berries
b) Kefir yogurt

c) Blueberries

d) Açai berries

e) Pomegranate seeds

Answers: 1-c, 2-b, 3-b, 4-b, 5-d, 6-a, 7-b, 8-d

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