Berry Berry Good!

There’s nothing I love more than prescribing food as medicine for my clients. I’m even more pleased when something that tastes yummy is also good for us!! That’s what you get when you enjoy the appealing flavour of berries. The pigments that give berries their deep colourful hues are also powerful disease-fighting antioxidants.

Why are antioxidants so important?

Antioxidants work on a cellular level and are a bit like rust protection for the body. As with everything that goes rusty over time, the oxidation of our cells is damaging and leads to the early onset of diseases particularly associated with old age. Antioxidants reduce the effects of this and repair the damage as well. They protect us from the bad guys aka “free radicals” that form even during normal bodily functions such as cells burning food for energy, or fighting off bacteria and viruses. But where they really come into their own is when our cells are exposed oxidative stressors such as pollution, radiation, cigarette smoke or manufactured chemicals (to name a few) because even larger quantities of free radicals are formed in the body. That sounds just like the 21st century!

What is an ORAC score?


To measure antioxidant levels in foods the scientific community uses the ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) test. The higher the ORAC value, the more antioxidants a food provides. Berries have some of the highest antioxidant levels of any fresh fruits. The average serving of fresh or lightly cooked produce provides between 600 and 800 ORAC units. But super berries blow these values away. For example, Açai Powder scores 71,500 ORAC units and Maqui berry powder 612,000 ORAC units, and Goji berry 25,300 ORAC units!

High powered Superfruit Facts:

Açai fruit is an amazing purple colour – although known as a berry it is actually the fruit from a species of palm tree that grows in the Amazon. After harvest it is immediately freeze-dried into a powder to protect its amazing nutritional value. Containing 19 amino acids, bioflavonoids, Vitamins A,C, E ,B1, B2 and minerals such as potassium, iron, phosphorus, calcium and a great fibre content of 30 %. It really is a Super fruit!

Maqui berry is a native of Chile and is also a beautiful deep purple-blue colour, (called anthocyanins) wild harvested and also immediately freeze- dried to retain its nutritional content of Vitamins A & C, iron, potassium & Omega 6.

Goldenberries (also known as Cape gooseberries) are bright yellow raisin sized natives of South America containing the beneficial nutrients Vitamin C B1, B2, B6 calcium , phosphorous pectin and fibre.

Goji berry is a native of the Tibetan plateau eg. Northern China and Mongolia – it’s bright red berries have a long history of traditional use in Traditional Chinese Medicine for so many ailments plus beneficial nutrients: Vitamins A,C, 21 minerals and 18 amino acids… a powerful punch!

But how to eat them?

@Pheebsfoods photo credit

Just by adding a daily serve of berries to your diet and you will be increasing your antioxidant power! Açai, Maqui, Goldenberries and Goji as well as being highest in antioxidants are also available all year round when other fresh berries are out of season. I recommend that my clients add Maqui and Açai powders to their daily smoothies and I personally love to make Paleo Quinoa Goji and Goldenberry porridge for a power-packed start to the day!

Paleo Quinoa Goji and Goldenberry Porridge


150g rinsed quinoa (sub oatmeal if desired)
250ml coconut milk (or any other milk as desired)
½ tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla natural extract
3 tbs chopped almonds
1 ½ tbs Goji berries
3 tbs Goldenberries
1 tbs pumpkin seeds
Coconut flakes, honey, extra milk to serve (all optional)


Cook Quinoa in saucepan with coconut milk and vanilla- bring to simmer over medium heat.

Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 15 mins or until quinoa is light and fluffy and liquid absorbed.

Fluff with fork and allow to cool slightly then stir in almonds & pumpkin seeds, spoon into bowls and scatter with Goldenberries, Goji berries and coconut – drizzle with honey and extra milk (if desired)

Serves 2