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A Bounty Of Brain Power Can Be Found In This Little Berry

Posted Mar 03 2009 4:14pm
We’re heard it before ( even right here ) that it is vital for our kids to start their day with a healthy whole grain and protein-rich breakfast in order to kick-start their brains and bodies for better concentration and improved performance in school.

Here is a simple and easy way to further ensure that our kids are getting the most out of their school days by feeding their bodies brain-friendly berries anytime of the day or night. Oh, by the way, this is pretty good advise for the over 4-foot set too – I don’t know about you, but I feel brain cells slipping away by the minute now that I’m over 40!

According to recent research conducted in Britain, eating just a little more than a cup of blueberries daily can help to improve memory function. According to this research, participants who ate 10 oz. of blueberries every day for 12 weeks showed marked improvement on recall tests. It is believed that flavonoids, which are linked to brain cell growth, have something to do with this result. In addition to blueberries, cherries, blackberries and cranberries are also rich in flavonoids and it is believed they would have the same positive impact on the brain.

It doesn ’t take a “brain surgeon” to find simple and easy ways to incorporate berries into our family's diet each and every day. Here are just a few suggestions:

  • Mix berries into their morning yogurt or blend frozen berries into a fruit smoothie. Fresh berries in season are always great, but I also find it just as easy and affordable to use frozen berries. While I'm impatiently waiting for my morning coffee to brew I’ll use this time to pour a couple of cups of frozen berries into a microwave-safe bowl and defrost the berries for about one-minute before adding them to my and my kid's yogurt -- warmed berries with yogurt and a little low-fat granola is like having a healthy and delicious breakfast fruit crumble.

  • Sprinkle berries on top of their morning cereal or even into their oatmeal. Dried berries work great here too.

  • Whip up a patch of blueberry or cranberry muffins or even a simple quick bread. Dried cranberries and cherries make great cookie mix-ins. The next time you are baking a batch of cookies that call for raisins, try mixing in dried cranberries or cherries instead.

  • Replace maple syrup with berry syrup on top of pancakes, waffles or french toast. Not only will they get all of the added benefits of the berries, but it will also safe them a lot of unnecessary calories too. I also like to use berry sauce on top of yogurt. If you don’t have the interest or time to make homemade berry sauce you can either microwave all-fruit berry jam or fruit spread until you’ ve reached the proper consistency or I also like to use Trader Joe’s Maine Wild Blueberry Sauce. Not only is it great on pancakes and french toast, but also on yogurt and ice cream.

  • Dried cranberries and cherries are great additions to green salad, in fact, you might get your kids to eat a little more salad if you sweeten it up with some dried berries.

  • Instead of their usual dessert, give your kids mixed berries with a dollop of whipped cream and maybe even a little chocolate sauce for an extra special treat.
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