Summer berries are coming out in the fruit shops and they look so good! Prices are still high with punnets of strawberries and blueberries up close to the $10 mark but prices should start reducing soon. It’s really important to eat seasonally as plants grow when your body needs them!
Ayurvedically speaking, berries are ideally eaten first thing in the morning through to afternoon when they can be processed easily. It’s not recommended to eat berries for dessert as they start fermenting in the stomach while waiting for their turn to be assimilated after eating dinner. This is interesting as lots of us in NZ have berry desserts. When I was in India I wondered why we were given our sweet dish first before dinner and now I understand why. In India they understand all about good digestive fire or agni and how food is our medicine.
Berries offer a heavy nutritional punch packed with anti inflammatory antioxidants.
In NZ, blueberries top my list as are rich in fibre, vitamin C, vitamin K, and manganese that perform vital functions in your body. They also reduce liver enzymes by as much as 23 percent (Source: European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2010).
Kiwifruit (Chinese gooseberry) stimulate the immune system and are good for the skin and mucous membranes, and because of their high fiber content, they can be effective against constipation. Whenever possible, much better than taking pharmaceutical laxatives.
The Indian gooseberry or Amla is my favourite fruit but we don’t have that in NZ, our gooseberries are still very beneficial in Vitamin C and my favourite cape gooseberries are also rich in iron.
Strawberries are wonderful for digestion and can soothe an irritated gut. Strawberries contain an enzyme called malic acid, also known to gently cleanse and restore the liver. Mushed strawberries can also be used as a facemask and can help alleviate mild sunburn.
The Goji berry doesn’t suit everyone, did you know it is from the nightshade family? Although tridoshic, nightshades can be inflammatory for some people.
Cranberries are high in antioxidants which detoxify free radicals. They are also rich in beta-carotene, a liver restorative and blood alterative.That dry feeling at the top of your mouth after eating or drinking cranberries means you have tasted astringent taste. Have you ever wondered why it is recommended to drink cranberry juice when you have a UTI? Cranberry acidifies the urine and under these conditions, bacteria are unable to attach to the wall of the bladder.
Generalising, all Vata types should go for sweet and sour berries in their diet particularly if lightly cooked with a pinch of cinnamon. Most suitable berries are blueberries, strawberries, blackberries.
Pitta types should avoid sour berries and go for sweet, astringent berries. Most suitable berries are blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, cranberries.
Kapha types generally should avoid sweet berries but go for astringent tasting berries. Most suitable berries are strawberries, cranberries.
Oaty Berry Brekkie
1 cup organic oats
2 cups of milk of your choice (or water if you don’t enjoy milk)
1 tbs pumpkin seeds
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cardamom
Pinch of pink Himalayan rock salt
Sliced berries that suit your dosha
Soak your oats and seeds in milk (water) overnight if you have time, otherwise soak for a few minutes, then heat in a pot with the spices and berries. Easy peasy! (feeds 2 of us).
Please note that berries and dairy don’t go well together if both are not heated.