Why you should try these eight home-grown berries instead of the strawberry

It is strawberry season alright but what many do not know is that there are many Indian berries which are just as effective. Given their variety, they should be incorporated in the diet of Indians who are prone to a greater risk of diabetes and cardio-vascular issues. Berries are a rich source of micro-nutrients like vitamins and minerals, and are liberally loaded with fiber and antioxidants. In fact, unknown to us, they make quite the superfood. And are affordable, too.

Rasbhari: The tarty rasbhari (also called cape goose berry and raspberry) is richest in vitamin C. It is packed with antioxidants and cancer-fighting phytochemicals like anthocyanins, pelargonidins, gallic acid, cyanidins, coumaric, catechins, kaempferols, ellagic acid, ferulic acid and salicylic acid. In fact it has an ORAC (depicts the total antioxidant capacity of a food) of 4,900 units per 100 g, which is exceptionally high. It helps in weight loss thanks to its high fiber content, and has high levels of manganese that boost the basal metabolic rate (the amount of energy we burn while at rest). Besides, it is a storehouse of a natural chemical called capsaicin that can rev up your metabolism.

JamunIt is a known anti-aging food as it comes loaded with a rich haul of antioxidants. The oxygen radical absorption capacity (ORAC) of jamun (also called blackberry and Java plums) is 2,036 units. It is low-calorie and fat free. It is hypoglycemic — eating it helps keep blood sugar stable and this makes it popular diabetes preventive food. Its high iron content makes it a must-eat food for those prone to anaemia. It strengthens the liver and prevents excessive lipid accumulation that causes fatty liver.

Phalsa: This tiny dark purple berry, with sweet and sour flavours, is extremely rich in calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus and vitamin C. It further contains anthocyanin flavonoids which are protective against cancer. It is high in potassium, low in sodium and is a good friend of our hearts. Besides protecting our hearts, it purifies blood, regulates blood pressure and cholesterol levels. It is a cooling food that makes it perfect for summers. It helps purify the blood and deliver a detoxed body and glowing skin.

Jambul (rose apple): They say that a 100 gm of this pretty-looking fruit yields just 25 calories. So, it is a very diet-friendly fruit. This modest, often ignored fruit, is also a powerhouse of vitamin C (37 per cent of daily requirement), a great immune booster and has a good amount of heart-friendly potassium (and nil sodium). So, it is great for keeping the blood pressure down. It has a positive effect on our pancreas (acts as a block against the conversion of starch into sugar) too, so is absolutely great for diabetics. It is extremely gut-friendly — Jambul juice with rock salt helps cure stomach disorders like indigestion, diarrhea, and keeps constipation away too. It is very popular in Orissa and is a good fruit for sherbet, syrups and squash.

Shahtoot (Red Mulberry): Not many people know that it contains many antioxidants, one of which is resveratrol, which has made wine and chocolate famous because it is believed to prevent cancer. Mulberries contain alkaloids that activate macrophages, the white blood cells that stimulate the immune system and protect us from seasonal viruses.

It has a high content of Vitamin A, which strengthens our eyesight and relieves eye strain. Spend hours staring at the computer screen? Mulberry is great for you!

KarondaThese tiny, pink berries with tiny seeds at their core are sour but taste delicious when eaten with a sprinkling of rock salt. Eat more of these as they are a great source of natural fiber called pectin that helps combat high cholesterol, triglycerides and prevents colon and prostate cancer. Good for diabetics as this fruit is a blood sugar stabilizer and prevents liver damage. It helps prevent anemia as it is a good source of iron.

Kokum: This is great for our digestion and cools the body during summers. It contains hydroxycitric acid (HCA) that acts as an appetite suppressant. Rich in magnesium, potassium and manganese, it protects against heart disease and controls blood pressure. Garcinol, an active constituent present in kokum, is anti-carcinogenic.

BerAlso called Indian Jujube, its high concentration of Vitamin C makes it a great antioxidant, which also helps boost the immune system. Rich in calcium, it helps strengthen the bones, muscles and teeth. It can help fight Alzheimer’s by helping fight cell degeneration and helping cognitive functioning.

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