Hello All and Happy Friday! Once again, our bins will be filled with local treats. This week, we’d like to focus on our local berries: blueberries and cherries! Berries are a summer staple. Perfect for snacking, freshening up desserts or drinks, or adding to salads, berries are fantastic and sweet.
A Little History (from WebMD): Long before Fats Domino was crooning about “Blueberry Hill,” Native Americans used the potent fruit to treat coughs. These tiny little gems do indeed pack a potent punch. They rank the highest of any fruit for antioxidants (those free-radical-fighting powerhouses), and one cup delivers 14% of the recommended daily dose of fiber and nearly a quarter of the recommended daily intake of vitamin C.
Blueberries are also low in calories — fewer than 100 for a full cup. They owe their distinct hue to their high anthocyanin content, which gives certain fruits and veggies their deep blues and reds. North America is still the leading producer of this beloved blue fruit, accounting for up to 90% of the world’s supply. The berry is celebrated throughout July — the peak of its harvest — during National Blueberry Month. And the fruit received an unofficial presidential seal of approval after Ronald Reagan insisted on having blue jelly beans at his inauguration, leading the Jelly Belly company to introduce its blueberry flavor.
Put these in muffins, pancakes or a juice for your morning boost! Add them to a salad for an afternoon pick me up. Eat them as a late night snack to curve your sweet tooth! However you eat them, enjoy them next week from right here in the Northwest.
Check out these benefits from HealthDiaries.com: Cherries have gained fame as one of nature’s most powerful anti-inflammatories, which means they’re beneficial for many different conditions. This is due to the anthocyanins in cherries that researchers have found prevent free radical damage and inhibit cyclooxygenase enzymes better than many anti-inflammatory drugs.
According to the Arthritis Foundation, drinking tart cherry juice mixed with water three times a day may be beneficial for people with arthritis. This is due to its anti-inflammatory properties.
A study at the University of Michigan found that a diet that includes a lot of cherries lowers all the overall risk factors for heart disease, including inflammation, body fat, and cholesterol.
Researchers have found sweet cherries to be cancer fighters thanks to their high level of an antioxidant called cyanidin. Cyanidin is an important free radical scavenger and may also promote cellular differentiation, an important process in the body’s fight against cancerous cells.
Anthocyanin is also good for the brain and has been shown to improve memory.
High in Beta Carotene
Cherries are high in beta carotene, containing 19 times more than blueberries or strawberries.
Cherries contain melatonin, a hormone that regulates the body’s sleep cycles.
Health Benefits of Sugar Snap Peas: They’re Heart Healthy
Sugar snap peas are a natural when it comes to heart health. Not only are they fat-free, but a whole cup has four grams of heart-healthy fiber to help lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease. Snap peas are also a good source of folate – a vitamin that’s important for heart health. Diets low in folate raise levels of homocysteine – an amino acid associated with a higher risk of heart disease. It’s not clear whether higher homocysteine levels actually increase the risk of heart disease or whether it’s simply a marker for people already at risk; but most experts agree that people should eat more folate rich foods for better heart health.
Health Benefits of Sugar Snap Peas: They’re Good for the Waistline
Sugar snap peas are so low in calories you can munch on them without a second’s guilt. A single cup of these green beauties has only sixty-seven calories and the fiber makes them quite filling and satisfying. For a low-calorie snack, enjoy them with low-fat French onion dip as a guilt-free substitute for potato chips while watching your favorite television show. It’s a healthier alternative to non-nutritional, high calorie snacks.
Health Benefits of Sugar Snap Peas: Better Immune Health
Did you know that a cup of sugar-snap peas has almost as much vitamin C has a medium-sized orange? Vitamin C is important for keeping the immune system primed to fight off infection and plays an important role in wound healing. It also keeps skin and joints in great shape. Peas contain carotenoids such as beta-carotene which may help to protect against certain types of cancer. Vitamin C and the carotenoids found in sugar snap peas are a powerful antioxidant combination.
Health Benefits of Sugar Snap Peas: Other Health Benefits
Sugar snap peas are an excellent source of vitamin K to maintain strong bones and ensure that the blood clots properly when the body is injured. It’s also a good source of iron to build healthy, red blood cells.
Enjoy sugar snap peas raw with your favorite dip or sautee them in olive oil and a little garlic for a tasty and nutritious side dish. Don’t forget to add them to salads and Chinese stir fries. Sugar snap peas – they’re what’s for dinner!
What are your favorite items from next week’s bins? Be sure to share them on our Facebook page! Also be sure to play in our weekly Thursday Night Trivia on our Facebook wall for your chance to win free NRO gear!