February 02, 2009

Berry Good News

Remember how last week I was bummed because a new study said cooked broccoli delivers only one tenth the awesome antioxidant goodness that raw broccoli does? And I was all mopey because I hate raw broccoli?

Well, the Nutrition Gods must have heard my whining and felt sorry for me, because shortly thereafter they sent me new research saying: stuff I'm already eating is good for me in ways I didn't know about! Hooray! That's my very favorite kind of research.

So what was the good news about berries?

Whoops! Broccoli Digression

But wait--before I get to the berries, here's an update on the raw broccoli situation. As it happened, there was a happy ending.

Those of you who read the blog regularly know that I am Certified Crackpot when it comes to antioxidants and other micronutrients. I harbor the delusion that if I eat a large variety of these things I will never, ever die. So after hearing that the kind of broccoli I liked was lame and would not make me live forever, I was distraught.

But help arrived!

In the comment section to the raw broccoli post, DragonMama (who also goes by Naomi) suggested that I try "broccoli slaw." I hadn't even heard of it, but sure enough, I went to the "we're going to charge you up the wazoo 'cause it's already washed and chopped" section of the produce department, and there was a big 'ol bag of the stuff.

I confess I was skeptical. Broccoli slaw is presumably made from broccoli. How could it not taste vile?

But it doesn't!

Sure, it took a little dressing to make it tasty (which could have theoretically been a healthy home-made dressing with no sugar and only good fats; let's just pretend it was, shall we?) Anyway, I mixed a little dressing in and it worked! Now if I can remember to keep a package of this stuff handy, I can live to be 1,000 without having to choke down any nasty little raw broccoli florets. Thanks, Dragonmama!

All right, that's enough about the damn broccoli.

Berries Don't Have to Be Blue

So we already know berries are good for us in general sorts of ways, but it's always nice to hear the specifics. And the New York Times has great things to say recently about berries as cancer-fighters.

Now I always thought blueberries were supposed to be cancer-fighters, but it turns out while they may be awesome for your memory, other berries are more potent cancer-fighters. In particular, black raspberries seem to be where it's at. And the kinds of cancers they seem good at preventing are oral, esophageal and colon cancers.

One problem: what the hell is a black raspberry? I like raspberries; I like blackberries; I'm guessing I'd like a black raspberries too but I can't say I've ever met one. There's nothing like reading a study that says: oh you must eat this wonderful fruit that is so good for you and isn't available anywhere you shop!

However, there are other berries that scientists seem to think are promising in the anti-cancer department, like red raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, and elderberries. And it appears from rat studies that "a concentrated powder of black raspberry anthocyanins" worked just as well for slowing tumor growth in rodents as the real berries did. Rats who got whole berries or anthocyanin powder developed 50 percent fewer esophageal tumors compared to untreated rats.

The article conceded that berries can be expensive. It's rare that an article in the New York Times ever goes to the grocery store and finds out the price of things it tells you to eat, so kudos to this one for admitting that berries are pricey. Oh, and apparently you also need to eat a hundred thousand tons a pound of berries a day to get as much as the rats did in the study.

However, a cheerful cancer prevention researcher named Gary D. Stoner, (and I won't make fun of his name, that would be so immature),
(Ok, so I lied)

suggested buying frozen berries, because they are available year round and often are cheaper than fresh berries. Which is great, because as it happens, frozen berries are a key ingredient in Crabby McSlacker's Easiest Smoothie Recipe ever! Also, for you supplement-buying sorts (I rarely go this route, because I'm cheap) there are apparently concentrated berry powders available in health food stores.

"We think for the average American, probably the consumption of three to four helpings of berries every week is a good thing," said Stoner. "We know berries have so many effects on processes related to cancer development. They are one of the food stuffs you probably should consider consuming every day, or at least a few times a week."

And unlike raw broccoli, berries of any color actually taste good!

Don't have any strong feelings about broccoli slaw or berries? Well, how was your weekend? Did you watch the Superbowl?


  1. LOVe berries. Berry slaw..mmmm, I'd eat it. Broccoli slaw? on the list.

    I'm venturing around from blog to blog today to tell everyone that its snowing here and how excited I am, and it means I get to stay home to keeping the dog nice and warm. Whoo-wee! I've NEVER seen this much snow! Loving the beauty...waiting for Santa...may be a while :)

    have a great day!

  2. Mmm berries are GOOD!
    don't like them frozen so much-but you can buy them fresh and then freeze them.
    This weekend hubby added them to the pancakes. Sounded good, yeah, but the batter didn't cook all the way.
    Not so good.
    But he tried!

  3. I used to adore broccoli in any form until I worked an 8 hour day with green between my front teeth...and no one told me. Can you imagine what it was like to get pulled over by a cop with broccoli sticking out of their front teeth??? Evil broccoli!!!

    As far as berries go, there is just something about a blueberry that makes me gag...but the rest of the berry family is yum yum good! Cant wait to try out the berry smoothie recipie!!

    I was also glad the super bowl was a competitive game and not a blow out, it was awesome!

    Happy monday!!!

  4. Berries have been bery-bery good to me :-)

    (had to get this up before Merry got here :-)

  5. Now Crabby, I could have sworn that you were a bit skeptical about some of the research studies. I love the berries and, if I ever have a pet rat with cancerous tumors, I'll be sure to keep black raspberries in his diet until he's fit again.

  6. I adore berries. And for the SuperBowl's halftime, I was calling family members to let them know I'm engaged. :)

  7. Love berries; preferably when fresh, but frozen will do...Have yet to try broccoli slaw; not sure I've ever seen it around here...Weekend was snowy and way too busy for my liking...No Superbowl at my house...


  8. The Tornado & I Have been known to polish off many a costco sized container in a day.

    we're not good with blackberry moderation up in herre.

  9. I love research that finds out good news about things you're already eating/doing.

    As far as I can tell, the only way to have fresh black raspberries is to grow your own. (Or be really good friends with people who grow them, which is how I know I like them much more than the red.) Frozen is the only way I've ever seen them in the grocery.

    Mary Anne in Kentucky

  10. Berries, yum. We do eat berries nearly every day, and every time I do to the store I think, I am NOT spending another $10 on fresh berries. And I do anyway.

    I would really like some good ways of eating frozen berries that are (1) not a smoothie, because have enough of them anyway, and (2) reasonably low carb. It's not easy. It would be a lot cheaper, though.

    Superbowl, NO! Weekend good. :-) Back to work, bad!

  11. Love berries. Almost all of them (not crazy about strawberries unless they are fresh out of my garden)

    And broccoli slaw is awesome!

    Great post, Crabby.

  12. Ooh, blueberries were on sale last week for $1 per pack. I went to the store twice and got about 6 packs each time. I froze some for later use.

    I like to defrost frozen berries gently in the microwave and add them to yogurt then top with granola and shredded coconut. Or throw them into smoothies. My fave is raspberry + almond butter + coconut.

    Of course fresh is best. I try to look for sale prices but sometimes you just have to splash out. I figure I'm lowering my medical bills so it all evens out. :)

  13. I had a berry smoothie for breakfast this morning! I did not, however, injest a pound of them. That's a lot of berries.

    I, too, love cooked brocolli but am not so hot on raw. I'll have to search out this slaw of which you speak.

  14. Mmmm... now I'm craving berries. Which are so not in season right now. But hey - you're right about the freezer aisle! Yay produce!

  15. OMG.....can you just imagine how many studies you're going to have read (and how cranky you're going to be) by the time you're into your living forever 10000th year! Tee! Hee! I can just see you waving your walking stick at that nurse who is trying to keep you in your travel-hummer while you issue forth orders telling her/him: "I have to have some berries you young whippersnapper!"

  16. Yay for berries being good for you! It's always nice to get the feeling you're ahead of the curve on some cutting-edge research!

    I think I'll have some almonds (very good for your cholesterol or something) to celebrate!

  17. Berries !I love the berries! Very good!

  18. Curse it! Dr. J stole my line!
    Shakes fist...

  19. I likes da berries. We've always got a shwack of frozen fruit around.
    And da slaw. I love the broccoslaw too...

  20. Berries - yay! Broccoli - meh.
    Had a great weekend, only watched part of the Super Bowl.
    If my last name was Stoner - would probably (definitely) change it! hehe

  21. I heard that frozen fruit and veggies are best b/c the fresh ones are picked right before being ripe and the frozen are picked when ripe. True?
    Geesh, fresh raspberries and blueberries are an arm and a legg here - can't imagine trying to find a black raspberry!!
    Not to rehash the broccoli thing, but if you don't like cole slaw is broccoli slaw a bad idea? Probably I'm guessing.

  22. I can't keep track of the "super" foods anymore lol! Every time I open a magazine there's a new list of the TOP 10 SUPER FOODS. The writers are starting to get really creative using foods I have never heard of-kefir anyone?

    I especially like at the end of some articles when they have the "BONUS SUPER FOOD" ooohhh.... how exciting!!! It's a bonus! I mean I would just make it a list of 11 foods instead of 10 but whatever.

    Nobody can seem to agree on which nut is the super-est. Walnuts? Almonds? Pine nuts? Hazelnuts? Are they all super. Then there is the grains. So many are recommended but which one should I choose?

    I think the super food thing has gotten out of hand. After reading a lot about super foods it is fairly obvious: have a well balanced diverse healthy diet and you'll be fine.

  23. I ate blackberries today! And I had no cigarettes... ever. sweet.

  24. Seems I've been a big promoter of Costco lately, but I have to share that they sell a humongous bag of frozen blueberries, raspberries and marionberries (what are those?) for what I assume is a good price. I never checked because isn't everything at Costco sold at a good price? Don't answer that. Anyway, one of my favorite ways to eat them is slightly thawed (yes, i put them in the microwave b/c it makes them a little warm on the edges, which is important to the next part of how I eat them) and top them with whipped cream from a can. Really, doesn't everyone love whipped cream in a can?

  25. I have never been partial to fruit, and berries are probably my second to least favorite kind, the first least favorite the peach/plum variety. I do try to get some fruit into my daily intake, but it's usually an apple.

    Oddly enough, for a long time I was on the only-fruit-in-the-morning plan, and I did really well at that. I also had the best digestion of my entire life.

    But I would rather eat broccoli than berries, really. My morning juice is spicy V-8. I should probably try a smoothie. (I wonder if you could make one with broccoli?)

    And you think broccoli poses a smile problem, those blackberries and strawberries have really obtrusive seeds.

  26. We served 3 types of berries at our Superbowl party. I'm eating berries right now. Do you think that going to cancel out the Bourbon cookies, wine, and fancy Cardinals cake that I ate? Hmm, great Superbowl though, even if my poor Cardinals lost.

  27. i actually didn't watch the super bowl this year. eh.

    i love strawberries and seriously need to try branching out to other members of the berry family. then again, it took me long enough to accept strawberries into my diet ...

  28. Didn't watch the bowl game. Don't care about football.
    Like berries. Have a freezer full of home-grown black berries though I prefer them in a berry cobbler over handfuls because these berries originated in Australia and they are wild and nasty full of seeds. In cobbler form, you can't tell. In a smoothie, well, it's more like a seedie.
    I sometimes eat Trader Joes berries by the handful but they get them from places like Uruguay and Costa Rica so it's not like we're buying local.

    To Tom...I wish berries were a cancer cure!

  29. my favorite way to eat berries is in my oatmeal with cottage cheese and cinnamon ;)

  30. I eat broccoli slaw sprinkled atop my salad, it's super crunchy and alas your dressing gets on it. It's awesome especially because I really am not a veggie fan.

    BERRIES I love...I could eat blackberries exclusively if I didn't have to chop off my arm to purchase them. I may go blackberry picking this year with my grandmother, they have to be cheaper than buying at the market. mmmmmm

  31. Love broccoli AND berries! (Does that mean I'll never die either? Does it? Does it?)

    The only problem with broccoli slaw is that I can't dip it in dill dip, the way I can with florets. (Yeah, I know the dip isn't good for me - that's why I don't eat raw broccoli!)

    And I love frozen berries. Almost better than fresh ones, actually, because when you let them thaw, and then warm them up a little bit, they give up all their juices and they end up tasting like pie filling - BUT WITHOUT ANYTHING EXTRA IN THEM!!! I know, RIGHT? Brilliant. ;)

  32. Great timing. I just finished munching on blackberries. Yum! I love broccoli no matter whether raw or cooked, and yes, broccoli slaw is wonderful. Even better when you add a few nuts.. No, not your readers.

  33. I love broccoli slaw.... but not nearly as much as I love/adore black raspberries. Unfortunately, I've never seen black raspberries in a store, or even the farmer's market. Back in NY where I grew, we picked them all summer long, trying to get the good ripe ones before the birds ate all of them (although honestly there were plenty).

  34. love broccoli (prefer it cooked though), love berries. When our blueberries are on sale they are £1 per pack- even witht he slide in sterling that is more than $1! luckily I grow raspberries in the yard. From late July to first forsts we pick daily and freeze them. Great added to a blender with a little OJ and an banana for breakfast. And R- Yay snow in London, Yay snow day!

  35. I already loved berries, and now I heart them more.

    As far as broccoli slaw, I'd never tried it, but I will!

  36. One bag broccoli slaw, 1 grilled chicken breast chopped up, 1 small handful of peanuts, some green onions, and a bit of Oriental dressing. Delish!

  37. Mmm berries are good. I buy frozen bags too - although they always have too many redcurrants and not enough strawberries.

    Never heard of a black raspberry -sounds suspiciously like a blackberry to me.

  38. I am all for the berries, but they are darn expensive fresh right now in the midwest.
    I have some frozen, but I just am not that into them.

  39. I buy the ginormous bag of mixed berries from Costco.

    1 cup of frozen berries
    1/2 cup of lf or ff milk
    splenda or sugar to taste (about a tablespoon or two)

    Throw it all in the food processor or blender...instant 100 calorie(ish) ice cream(ish)

    What's not to love?

  40. All berries, all the time around here: in oatmeal, on pancakes, on french toast (tell I like bfast?), yogurt parfaits, smoothies, in a bowl frozen, on ice cream (still good for you, right?) and tonight on easy chocolate mousse (blend 2 cups skim ricotta with 4 oz melted chocolate). Raw broccoli? Only if slathered in a creamy dip!

  41. love all kinds of berries! and I don't like raw broccoli either, oh well.

  42. My grandmother used to have sprawling brambles of black and red raspberries. I would spend hours in those bushes getting bloody from the thorns, looking like a starving feral child. I ate so many berries that I must have built up an antioxidant surplus in my body that probably won't begin to deplete until 2023.

  43. I go for frozen blueberries and strawberries in my smoothies. Never tried broccoli slaw. I'll have to get the recipe.

  44. Mmm berries. I eat frozen mixed berries (blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, and strawberries) in plain yogurt nearly every day. Super tasty.

  45. I just started reading your blog and enjoy it very much. I also write a health-related blog and will have to refer people here in the future.

    I just got into frozen berries (because I am also cheap) but still trying to figure out the best way to eat them (aka, how do you defrost!) If anyone knows, let me know!

  46. Hi Dylan!

    So I find defrosted frozen berries to be either kinda mushy or still too frozen, so I'm more likely to use' em in smoothies or muffins or in fruit salads rather than eat them plain. But sometimes I warm 'em up a bit, sprinkle a little (gasp) splenda on there, and pretend it's pie filling.

    But maybe there's some secret to defrosting the darn things that makes them come out better. I just leave em out or nuke, which doesn't seem to be ideal.

  47. No one should have to ever eat raw broccoli. Berries are easy enough to grow, that is what I do.


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