Scientists have found that berries as a whole pack more disease-fighting antioxidants than almost any other fruit. So why do many of us stick to the same ol’ blueberries and strawberries when there are a bunch of other under-the-radar options with big health benefits? Here are five to try this summer.
If you’ve ever been to Ikea, you’ve seen these tart Scandinavian berries in jam and alongside meatballs. A 2014 study from Lund University found that their high polyphenol content may offset the effects of a high-fat diet. Try them in Icelandic Provisions Strawberry & Lingonberry Skyr, technically a fresh cheese with a Greek yogurt-like consistency.
This sweet-tart cross between two types of blackberries is too fragile to be shipped fresh outside of Oregon, where they’re grown. But you can buy them frozen from Northwest Wild Foods, and for each 2/3 of a cup you add to your smoothie, you’ll pump up the fiber by 8 grams. For a treat, try a small scoop of McConnell’s Eureka Lemon & Marionberries ice cream, made with cream, milk, and organic egg yolks.
A 3-tablespoon serving of dried goji berries from Navitas Naturals has 4 grams apiece of fiber and protein, plus 140 percent of the vision-critical vitamin A you need in a day. According to a small study from 2008, people who drank juice made from the cranberry-esque berries for two weeks reported that it improved their digestion and “general feelings of well-being.” Use the dried berries in place of raisins to cut about 16 grams of sugar per cup, or sprinkle goji berry powder from Carrington Farms into your yogurt or smoothies.
They may look like under-ripe red raspberries, but golden raspberries are actually a recessive mutation of their ruby-colored cousins. Though they have a slightly more delicate flavor and texture, they still pack a powerful punch: One cup contains 8 grams of fiber and fulfills half your daily vitamin C requirements. Look for them in the farmers’ market or the produce section of your grocery store.
While the Cape kind are more like tomatillos, European gooseberries — which have nearly as much vitamin C per cup as a small orange — are actual berries. Somewhat similar in size and flavor to grapes, they come in green, white, yellow, and shades of red. You may find them canned in light syrup, dried or frozen.
Juno DeMelo is a freelance writer based in Portland, Oregon.