Studies show when it comes to better health, you just can’t beat berries. As delicious as they are nutritious, fresh berries of all kinds are high in vitamin C, fiber, folic acid, and powerful phytochemicals that have been proven to reduce the risk for everything from heart disease to memory loss and cancer.
Berries are also terrific to include in a diabetes diet. While all fruit contains sugar in the form of fructose, at least two servings of healthful fruit should be included in your diabetes meal plan each day. The key to maintaining your blood sugar is to enjoy fruit (like all carbohydrate rich foods) in moderation and to use portion control. Berries are a great nutritional bargain because in addition to being low in fat and calories, when adjusting for fiber they are the lowest carbohydrate fruits you can eat. This puts them low on the glycemic index (the rate at which they raise your blood sugar) – not only compared to most other fruits – but to many other foods, making it easy to fit berries into a carb-conscious diet.
A Handful of Great Berries
Of all berries, strawberries have the least amount of calories and the lowest carbohydrate density with a slim 45 calories, 11 grams of carbohydrate, and 3 grams of fiber per cup. In fact, according to the diabetic exchange list you may enjoy an entire 1¼ cups of sliced strawberries per single fruit serving. What’s most impressive is that this serving delivers over 200% of your daily dose of vitamin C.
Luscious delicate raspberries are the high-fiber berry leader with a whopping 8 grams of fiber in every cup. With only 64 calories and 15 grams of carbohydrate per single cup serving it makes raspberries calorie per calorie one of the highest fiber foods you will find.
Blackberries are simply too good to resist. The diabetic exchange for blackberries is a ¾ cup serving, but with only 75 calories, 18 grams of carbohydrate and 8 grams of fiber per cup, I say splurge and enjoy the whole cup! Blackberries also deliver 50% of your daily dose of vitamin C and are high in potassium which helps control blood pressure.
Last, but not least, July is National Blueberry Month – and blueberries definitely deserve their own month! A ¾ cup serving of fresh or frozen blueberries contains only 60 calories, 15 grams of carbohydrate, and 3 grams of fiber, but far more impressive blueberries have more anti-oxidant power than any other fruit on the planet! Great for your eyes, memory and heart they are a true health bargain.
Six Sweet Ways to Enjoy Berries
- Make a sundae by layering light yogurt and berries in your favorite parfait glass.
- Sweeten cottage cheese with sugar substitute and cinnamon and top with fresh berries.
- Add sliced berries to spinach for a delicious and colorful salad.
- Blend together reduced calorie cranberry cocktail, frozen berries, and ice, for a terrific fruit freeze.
- Blend together fruit, 1% milk, sugar substitute, and ice for a great fruit “shake”.
- Enjoy my easy no-bake Blueberry Cheesecake Parfaits for a summer treat!
Marlene graduated Magna Cum Laude with a degree in nutrition from U.C.L.A. in 1986 and is one of a select group of dietitians to hold an advanced certificate in Child and Adolescent Weight Management from the American Dietetic Association. Combining her love of food with her educational foundation, she has held such positions as Hospital Foodservice Director, Nutrition Professor, Cooking Instructor for the Columbus State Culinary Academy and as a national nutrition educator to chefs for the American Culinary Federation. Her passion for teaching others how to make healthy food taste delicious also extend to her private nutrition practice specializing in weight loss, diabetes, and wellness.
Marlene loves to teach (and to eat!); her energetic and upbeat style has made her a popular food and nutrition speaker for organizations such as the American Diabetes and American Heart Associations and sought after for television and radio appearances which have included affiliates for ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX and Shaw TV (Vancouver) and radio stations nationwide.