Pick Your Own Health

You can start by picking your own berries. Berries are loaded with health benefits. These little powerhouses are full of antioxidants, just second to herbs and spices, the most antioxidant rich food category. The bright attractive color of berries is what gives them their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, flavonoids. One of which is called anthocyanins which give the natural blue-purple pigment of blueberries. These phytonutrients are unique in that they can cross the blood brain barrier which allows them to have a positive effect on learning and memory.(1) Antioxidants fight oxidation and free radical damage in the body by reducing inflammation and increasing blood flow. 

Recent studies have demonstrated what animal studies have already been showing for years: regularly consumption of blueberries can improve memory and reduce cognitive decline.(2,3) In one study participants who consumed 1 serving of blueberries for 12 weeks showed significantly fewer errors in learning tests.(4) Adding in one cup of berries into your diet can improve your health and memory and they taste good!

Blueberries have other positive health benefits too. Studies found that regular, moderate intake of blueberries can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.(5) Other studies have found that blueberries can reduce the effects of arterial damage caused by smoking cigarettes.(1) 

So now that it’s berry season, why not stock up on these delicious little powerhouses? I personally can’t keep fresh berries around for long. I’ll go pick a bunch thinking they’ll last and before I even get home handfuls are gone. Freezing fresh berries is what works for me. I add frozen berries to so many things. Even my dog loves frozen berries!

Here are a few simple ways to add more berries into your diet. 

  • Add them to your oatmeal. If Starbucks can do it, why can’t we?
  • Everyone loves blueberry muffins, pancakes or scones. Just add fresh or thawed berries into baked goods.
  • Sprinkle a few fresh berries into your salad. One of my favorite summer salads is spinach, walnuts, goat cheese, and fresh berries. 
  • Top off plain greek yogurt with frozen berries and a dash of chia seed, and let it sit in the fridge until later. It makes the perfect afternoon snack.
  • Blueberry Lemonade. Toss in a handful of fresh or frozen berries and mix up a refreshing drink. 
  • Create a healthy evening snack with a handful of fresh berries, a few nuts and a square (or two) of dark chocolate. 


  1.  Shibu M Poulose, Amanda N Carey & Barbra Shukitt-Hale. Improving brain signaling in aging: could berries be the answer? Expert Review of Neuotherapeutics. 2012; 12:8, 887-889
  2. Devore EE, Kang JH, Breteler MM, et al. Dietary intake of berries and flavonoids in relation to cognitive decline. Ann Neurol. 2012 July; 72(1): 135-43
  3. Nikolaj Travica, Nathan M. D’Cunha, et al.  The effect of blueberry interventions on cognitive performance and mood: A systematic review of randomized controlled trials,Brain, Behavior, and Immunity,Volume 85, 2020, 96-105
  4. Miller MG, Hamilton DA, et al . Dietary blueberry improves cognition amount older adults in randomized, double-blind, placebo controlled trial. Our J Nutr. 2018 Apr;57(3):1169-1180
  5. Kalt W, Cassidy A, et al. Recent Research on Health Benefits of Blueberries and Their Anthocyanins. Adv Nutr. 2020 March 1;11(2):224-236.

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