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Eating Well with Whole Foods

by Suzann Pileggi Pawelski

Now is the perfect time to enjoy the delicious and refreshing blackberry. What better way to naturally quench your thirst and satisfy your sweet tooth at the same time?! The delectable blackberry is at its peak now. Botanically, blackberries are not true berries but rather aggregate fruits forming a single flower. There are thousands of varieties of blackberries including an albino "white blackberry," the dewberry, and a dark red type that resembles the raspberry. The blackberry is often confused with the raspberry but unlike the raspberry that is hollow inside, the blackberry has a soft white core. Blackberries have been harvested since prehistoric times and are native to every continent but Antarctica. Most commercial cultivation takes place in the United States.

Blackberries are an excellent source of dietary fiber, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin K and manganese. Full of phytonutrients and ellagic acid, a blackberry rich diet helps prevent cell damage, a leading cause of many conditions and diseases ranging from cataracts to cancer. Its high level of antioxidant compounds help support the body’s immune system. And, its anthocyanins, which give blackberries their dark color, help maintain healthy cholesterol levels that could result in better blood circulation and a healthier heart. A nutrient powerhouse, blackberries are a low-calorie, low-fat sweet treat with a minimal impact on blood sugar. A diet rich in blackberries may assist in weight control due to the high fiber count, which helps you feel full quicker than many other foods. And, indulging in blackberries regularly may even improve your complexion due to its rich amount of Vitamin C, a necessary building block of collagen for healthy skin.

When picking blackberries select ones that are uniformly dark in color, signifying their ripeness. They should be soft and yield to a gentle tug. Blackberries are highly perishable so to prevent premature spoiling only wash them immediately before eating. Stored in a shallow, closed container, they will last in the refrigerator for about three to four days and up to one year when frozen. They are a delicious summer treat straight from the freezer popped right into your mouth or added to your favorite breakfast shake. Use them to make a delicious jam or cobbler. Try them topped on your favorite breakfast cereal or oatmeal, mixed with yogurt and granola, or eat them fresh off the cane!

Blackberry-Banana Breakfast Smoothie


½ cup unsweetened almond milk

¼ cup drained silken tofu

½ small frozen banana

½ cup fresh or frozen blackberries

1 TSP flaxseeds,

ground ice (optional)

Mix all of the ingredients together in a blender until smooth. Pour into a glass and enjoy!

Suzann Pileggi Pawelski is a freelance wellness writer who specializes in the science of happiness and how it affects our health and relationships. She is also a certified health coach who works with clients on nourishing their bodies and souls by helping them make better food and lifestyle choices. She uses food to naturally increase energy, control cravings and create a balanced lifestyle. Suzann holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communications and a Master of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) from the University of Pennsylvania. She is also a graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. Visit her website at www.suzannpileggi.com , or email her at suzannpileggi@aol.com  for a discounted phone consultation.

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