Gooseberries—the berries that resemble green grapes—help you to feel happier. In recent research in the journal Experimental Neurobiology, scientists found that gooseberries contain a flavonoid called kaempferol that prevents the breakdown of brain hormones serotonin and dopamine. These brain chemicals naturally help us fight stress and keep our spirits up.
A cross between blackberries and raspberries, these berries strengthen blood vessels, making them an excellent addition to help fight heart disease or varicose veins. They contain rutin, which research shows strengthen capillaries and improve circulation.
My grandparents grew a huge fruit and vegetable garden. Whenever I visited them in the summer, I quickly disappeared into the rows of raspberry bushes to see if they were ripe yet. Not only are raspberries my favorite fruit, they are potent medicine too. In Chinese Medicine they are used to improve liver and kidney function as well as to cleanse the blood of toxins. They also contains compounds that are ten times more effective at alleviating inflammation than aspirin. Thanks to the phytonutrient ellagic acid that they contain, raspberries can help protect against pollutants found in cigarette smoke (first- or second-hand), processed foods, and may neutralize some cancer-causing substances before they can damage healthy cells.
These orange- to reddish-berries look similar to raspberries and are found growing wild in the forests along the Pacific coast. I spent a year-and-a-half in Tofino, Canada where these berries lined the trails of the town. These berries formed part of the traditional diet of the native peoples of the coastal regions. They are a good source of the vitamins A, C, K and the mineral manganese.
When it comes to superfoods, Saskatoon berries are perhaps the most overlooked. These small purple berries are even higher than wild blueberries and many other fruits in their antioxidant content (based on their ORAC—oxygen radical absorbence capacity measurement). They have anti-cancer, anti-aging, and heart-protective compounds that justify their place in the ranks of superfoods. They are named after the Canadian city Saskatoon, in the prairies where these berries originate; however, they were originally a traditional food of the native peoples in the area.
Every summer when strawberries burst into gardens and markets across the continent, I am reminded of my strawberry-picking expeditions as a child with my dad and sister. My mom agreed to make dozens of pies or fresh jam if we’d pick the strawberries needed. That was all the incentive I needed to pick dozens of baskets of these delicious fruits. These babies also pack a serious punch. Not only do 8 strawberries contain more vitamin C than an orange, they are antioxidant powerhouses that have been shown in research to help prevent and fight arthritis, cancer, heart disease, memory loss, and wrinkling, proving that food really is the best medicine.