Plump, succulent, fresh and so wonderfully healthy; it’s the smoothie that loves you back. Writes Charlene Florian.
My fondness for berries started when I was a child – in Sweden – in my grandmother’s garden. She grew everything – potatoes, herbs, several kinds of apples, goose berries, black and red currants, raspberries, the most gorgeous roses, and so much more.
My favourite were smultron, tiny wild strawberries, which my grandmother planted all over her garden. It was like an Easter egg hunt every morning, as I raced out to see which had ripened. Raspberries grew along a hedge at the back of the garden, and I remember, one year, taking my cereal bowl, feeling like I was in a sea of plump red juicy raspberries. They were everywhere.
It brought me such joy – picking the juicy berries and eating half of them, and later watching a tiny black bug crawl from the bowl. I didn’t care. I was one with it all.
My grandmother brought me into the forest from the time I was young to pick wild blueberries. We wore boots and brought buckets, and she would use our harvest to make everything blueberry – she was so talented that way. Kerstin, who inherited her valuable forest skills, makes it a point to pick enough lingonberries (and mushrooms) every fall to freeze or turn into jam.
As my interest in health and wellness grew, I discovered that my beloved berries comprised the number one category of antioxidants. Not only the luscious blue- and raspberries of my childhood, but also exotic berries, like Goji berries and Schizandra (a favorite of my Chinese herb teacher for its many benefits).
When I began traveling more, I made special trips, when in Hong Kong, to visit the herb market to find the quality of Goji berries I couldn’t easily find at home.
The health benefits of berries are plentiful. High in antioxidants, anthocyanins and vitamin C, berries help to improve our minds, bodies and skin. Specifically, berries help to:
Improve Memory and Sharpen the Mind: A recent study, published in the Annals of Neurology found that women, over age 70, who ate one serving of blueberries or two servings of strawberries per week experienced less mental decline. The reason: anthocyanins working together with quercetin to help slow age-related memory loss.
Help Manage Weight: Comprised mostly of water (more than 85 percent water), berries provide a sense of fullness, while the natural fiber contained in them aids in weight loss and even helps lower cholesterol and blood pressure.
Make Skin Glow: High in Vitamin C, the antioxidant responsible for healthy collagen levels, berries are a natural booster, contributing to radiant skin and healthy hair. When formulating one of our most recent products, Clarifying BerryPlus Repair Serum, we looked naturally to raspberries (to rehydrate, soothe and promote cell regeneration), Goji berries and Australian wild berry extracts (to support the skin’s cellular matrix and protect from free radicals and sun damage).
We went a step further by utilising the plant cell culture of the raspberry – the most vital, purest and effective part of the plant – to be sure it maximises the benefits to the skin.
The result: a light, nourishing serum that repairs from the outside in, perfect to use every day before moisturiser. Keep the goodness going by eating a bowl of fresh, unsweetened berries or a yummy, nutrient-rich smoothie.
One of my personal favorites is the BerryPlus Quench Smoothie. Just put the following organic ingredients in blender, and drink in the goodness!
2 Tablespoons dried Goji Berries
1/4 cup Frozen Pineapple
1/4 cup Frozen Raspberries
1/4 cup Frozen Blueberries
1 Tablespoon fresh Lime juice (about 1/2 of a medium Lime)
1 teaspoon Camu Camu Powder
1 Tablespoon Raw Honey
1 small fresh Mint Leaf
1 1/2 cups of Coconut Water (enough to cover all ingredients in blender)
Blend until smooth
Recipe courtesy of Charlene Florian, Chief Creative Officer for Kerstin Florian International (KFI)