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Heather's Health Habits, LLC

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  • Heather L. Donahue, CHN

Why Berries Are The Best Fruit To Eat For A Happy Gut

Berries are one of my favorite fruits! They are full of antioxidant activity that provides protection for our entire body, including the digestive system. Plus, you can buy frozen berries whenever they are not in season. My favorite berries are strawberries and blueberries.

Berries are really versatile and help support a happy gut. Here are some reasons why:


HIGH IN SOLUBLE FIBER


When eating foods that are high in soluble fiber, our digestive system is able to use the fiber to bulk up waste in our body for elimination. This helps prevent constipation and increase regularity. Soluble fiber also feeds the good bacteria in the colon, helping it to thrive and keep the colon healthy.


POWERFUL ANTIOXIDANT ACTIVITY


Berries are high in antioxidants which reduces the amount of oxidative stress in the body. Eating foods high in antioxidants helps keep the gut defenses high. It has even been demonstrated in studies that having lower levels of Vitamin A and E in the blood may determine the severity of Irritable Bowel Disease (IBD) in those who suffer with that disease. (Source: NIH)


How do we know that blueberries and strawberries are high in antioxidant activity? Because of the Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity measurement, or ORAC. ORAC is a measurement of how potent a food is in antioxidant content. The measurement is used for a variety of foods such as fruits, nuts, seeds and spices, are all found on the chart. ORAC was developed by the National Institute of Aging and the National Institute of Health. The ORAC database is always growing and it is open to the public. Click here to go to the searchable database.


REDUCES INFLAMMATORY RESPONSE


What is inflammatory response? It is not always bad but it can develop into health problems when following a sedentary lifestyle, eating a diet high in chemically laden foods and very few fruits and vegetables. By definition: The inflammatory response is a defense mechanism that evolved in higher organisms to protect them from infection and injury. Its purpose is to localize and eliminate the injurious agent and to remove damaged tissue components so that the body can begin to heal. (Source: Britannica)


An inflammatory response that we can all relate to is a sore throat. The sore throat is usually temporary and when it disappears, that means the inflammatory response has completed the job. When the inflammatory response is not able to do its job, that is when inflammation becomes a concern. Constant inflammation damages tissues and leads to the inability to function.


Strawberries were studied for their anti-inflammatory properties. The study showed strawberries reduced IBD symptoms, such as bloody diarrhea, and inflammation was much lower in the colon. (Source: Medical News Today) With such great health benefits, it is easy to see why berries should be part of a regular health eating routine.


Eating foods like berries supports a healthy gut, but that is only one piece of the very complex puzzle when it comes to gut health. If you are struggling with the very embarrassing symptoms of an unhealthy gut, such as bloating, gas, lack of energy, diarrhea, constipation, memory problems, brain fog, anxiety, skin rashes and moodiness, it takes over your life.


How would eliminating your symptoms improve your life? You could:


✅Be more present with your children

✅Thrive in your career

✅Improve your communication and your relationships

✅Have more fun!

✅Move your body and improve your fitness

✅Lose weight and feel better about yourself

✅Be able to cook healthy meals for you and your family

✅Take an active vacation

✅Reclaim your life!


I am a Certified Holistic Nutritionist teaching people just like you how to stop suffering from the embarrassing effects of an unhealthy gut so you can get back to living. The TAKE YOUR LIFE BACK coaching call is a FREE 30 minute call where we will talk about your specific symptoms and start creating a plan on how to heal your gut using the Simply Great Gut Health program.


Simply Great Gut Health is a customized 5 Step plan that heals your gut and fits your busy lifestyle.


Book your call directly here.

It’s very simple. No jumping through hoops and NO PRESSURE.

If we determine it’s not a fit, we’ll go our separate ways for now.

If it is a fit, we can take the next step and get you started on the path to healing your gut.


You can also join our email list by clicking here. You'll receive healthy living tips and gut friendly recipes for free. As a thank you for signing up, I'll send you the 5 Tips To Fight Bloating e-book for free!


Berries of all kinds are a great way to take a step towards healing an unhealthy gut. To inspire you to add more berries in your routine, below are some of my favorite recipes. You may be surprised to see how many ways berries can be used in cooking.


One final comment before we get to the recipes, when buying berries, always buy organic berries to avoid chemicals, pesticides and gain the maximum health benefits. Organic fruits and vegetables have higher nutrient content compare to those grown conventionally. Frozen berries make it easier to go organic since you can buy a large bag and store them until you are ready to eat. Enjoy!



RECIPES

Grilled Chicken with Strawberry Basil Sauce by Running to the Kitchen. The grilling in this recipe isn't outdoor grilling - it uses a grill pan on the stove - which is perfect if you live in an area where winter can be cold or you don't have access to a grill. I wanted to find a dinner recipe that incorporates a savory sauce using strawberries. This fits the bill! Click here for the recipe.

Super Fruit and Walnut Quinoa Salad by This Gal Cooks. This salad not only incorporates the strawberries on the salad but it has a strawberry vinaigrette. Since it is February, you'll need to substitute the peaches for another fruit. The salad incorporates pears already (which are in season in February). I would recommend adding an apple or a mango. Click here for the recipe.

Strawberry Fields Salmon Wraps with Feta Vinaigrette by Peas and Crayons. This sandwich makes a perfect lunch or dinner. Pairing the strawberries with Salmon incorporates healthy fats with fruits and vegetables. You can easily use canned salmon instead of cooking the salmon if you don't have the time. Click here for the recipe.

Strawberry Breakfast Cake by Feasting at Home. This cake combines strawberry preserves with fresh strawberries. It is a great recipe for a brunch or to simply slice and take pieces of it for breakfast throughout the week. Click here for the recipe.

Salmon with Berry Salsa by The View From Great Island. This recipe shows how versatile berries are. If salmon is not for you, this salsa would be great on chicken, pork or even turkey cutlets. Both fresh and frozen berries can be used to make the salsa since cilantro and jalapenos are added to spice it up. Click here for the recipe.

Sweet Potato Quinoa Cakes with Blackberry Salsa by How Sweet Eats. Blackberries tend to be a bit sour so pairing them with sweet potatoes is a great idea. This recipe calls for an egg and whole wheat breadcrumbs. It can be made with a flax egg and gluten-free breadcrumbs if that is better for your specific needs. Click here for the recipe.

Vegan Strawberry Muffins by My Darling Vegan. I wanted to make sure to include a vegan baked recipe in this post to demonstrate the flexibility of strawberries. The muffin recipe uses soy milk but any favorite nut milk could be used as well. Click here for the recipe.

Mixed Berry Dutch Baby (Gluten Free) by Savory Lotus. A Dutch Baby is almost like a giant pancake that is cooked in the oven in a preheated cast iron pan. It only takes about 18 minutes to cook so it is pretty fast. I would try this as a breakfast dish or serve as a light dinner with a spinach salad. Click here to go to the recipe.

Blueberry Feta and Honey Caramelized Onion pizza Naan by Kitchen Confidante. I love flat bread recipes. They always look so pretty when they are done. Plus, they are a filling lunch, dinner or can be an appetizer at a dinner party. Combining the blueberries with onion and feta gives you a great sweet and salty combination. Click here for the recipe.

Breakfast Butter Rolls with Whipped Blueberry Butter by Sweet and Savory Meals. What a great idea! Whipped Blueberry Butter. I am going to try this using the vegan butter from Earth Balance. I recently switched from dairy butter to vegan butter since dairy can be troublesome for my tummy. I can envision making blueberry butter for a ton of recipes. From the basics like the rolls in this recipe to something more exotic such as a spread on a spinach, asparagus wrap. Click here for the recipe.

Savory Breakfast Salad by the Minimalist Baker. I am always trying to find new ways to get more vegetables into breakfast. This salad is truly a salad that is served for breakfast. What a healthy way to start the day! It contains sweet potatoes, greens, blueberries, avocado and hummus. The dressing is a light lemon juice and olive oil combination. If you just can't bring yourself to eat this for breakfast, it would also make a great lunch! Click here for the recipe.

Blueberry Baked Oatmeal by Savory Nothings. I love this idea because you get the feeling of a blueberry crumble but have all the healthy benefits of oatmeal. This recipe takes some time to make because it has to be refrigerated overnight. But to me, it is worth it! Plus, if you feel you need more than oatmeal for breakfast, you can top this with yogurt. Click here for the recipe.

Blackberry Oat Crumb Bars by Baked Ambrosia. I am always looking for a new breakfast recipe to keep things interesting. These blackberry oat crumb bars are gluten-free and vegan! The recipe calls for blackberries to be pureed in a food processor with tapioca starch. Making the puree means you can monitor sugar content (recipe doesn't add any) and use frozen berries. Plus, this technique works for any berry, fresh or frozen. So if blackberries aren't your jam, make this recipe with raspberries or even a mixed berry blend. Click here for the recipe.

I hope this post both informed and inspired you to eat more berries. Berries are great to support a healthy gut since they are full of fiber, antioxidants and help reduce inflammation.


Do you think you will try any of the recipes? Let me know by leaving me a comment below. It would also be great if you shared a helpful tip about berries or a favorite recipe.


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