Monday, June 4, 2012

Healthy Strawberry & Blackberry Snack Wheels

 I try my best to provide my toddler with a healthy variety of snack foods. Sometimes I find myself struggling to come up with new ideas, and not reaching for something prepackaged. So I was very pleased with myself when I put this colorful delight together to switch things up.

My son's eyes light up when he see's this colorful snack. I think he thinks they are some kind of  "special treat". I used whole wheat mini bagels, Philadelphia cream cheese (you can use light to make it a bit healthier if you prefer), strawberries cut in 1/8in slices, and blackberries cut in half. Toast your bagel if you prefer, smear a small amount of cream cheese once they've cooled, then pace your fruit, and voila.

 Healthy Facts About Strawberries:

  • They give you whiter teeth. Ever heard of strawberries and baking soda as teeth cleaner? Try it. Put 1 large strawberry in a blender together with ½ teaspoon of baking soda and blend well. You can also mash the strawberry using a fork and mix the baking soda in. Use it like toothpaste and spread it on to your teeth gently. Leave it for 3-6 minutes and cleanse your teeth with water afterwards. Just make sure you brush your teeth with your preferred commercial toothpaste after so there won’t be strawberry stain or taste left.
  • Strawberries also prevent constipation and even colon cancer because they wash away harmful toxins in our intestines.
  • Strawberry consumption also increases memory.
  • Strawberry has antioxidants that protect our immune system. So try a strawberry dipped in melted chocolate for a double boost of disease-fighting antioxidants.
  • These red berries also keep our eyes bright. Studies on eyesight reveals that eating at least 5 strawberries a day could keep your vision clear.
  • Pregnant women may also get a good amount of folic acid from eating strawberries.
  • Strawberry is low in calories (32 kcal/100g) and fats but rich source of many health promoting phyto-nutrients, minerals and vitamins that are essential for optimum health.
  • Strawberries have significantly high amounts of phenolic flavonoid phyto-chemicals called anthocyanins and ellagic acid. Scientific studies show that consumption of straw berries may have potential health benefits against cancer, aging, inflammation and neurological diseases.
  • Fresh berries are an excellent source of vitamin-C (about 98% of RDI), which is also a powerful natural antioxidant. Consumption of fruits rich in vitamin C helps body develop resistance against infectious agents, counter inflammation and scavenge harmful free radicals.
  • The fruit is rich in B-complex group of vitamins. It contains very good amounts of vitamin B-6, niacin, riboflavin, pantothenic acid and folic acid. These vitamins are acting as co-factors help body metabolize carbohydrates, proteins and fats.
  • Strawberries contain vitamin A, vitamin E and many health promoting flavonoid poly phenolic antioxidants such as lutein, zeaxanthin, beta carotene in small amounts. These compounds help act as protective scavengers against oxygen-derived free radicals and reactive oxygen species (ROS) that play a role in aging and various disease process.
  • They contain good amount of minerals like potassium, manganese, fluorine, copper, iron and iodine. Potassium in an important component of cell and body fluids that helps controlling heart rate and blood pressure. Manganese is used by the body as a co-factor for the antioxidant enzyme superoxide dismutase. Copper is required in the production of red blood cells. Iron is required for red blood cell formation. Fluoride is a component of bones and teeth and is important for prevention of dental caries. 

Healthy Facts About Blackberries:

  • Blackberries are one of the top ten foods containing antioxidants.
  • Blackberries are packed with polyphenols helping to prevent cancer and heart disease.
  • Blackberries are filled with anthocyanins (antioxidants which give blackberries their deep purple color) which help in memory retention and the risk of hypertension. 
  • Blackberries are said to strengthen blood vessels, help fight heart disease and help improve eyesight.
  • The high tannin content of blackberries help tighten tissue, relieve intestinal inflammation, and help reduce hemorrhoids and stomach disorders.
  • Ohio State University found that blackberries may protect against esophageal cancer, a cancer caused by gastric reflux disease.
  • Blackberries have shown to protect against other types of cancers. They contain phytoestrogens (plant estrogens), a compound believed to play a vital role in preventing breast and cervical cancer.
  • Blackberries are high in Vitamin C, Vitamin A, Vitamin E, Vitamin K, Manganese and fiber.
  • The high fiber content of blackberries help reduce risk of intestinal disease and the risk of developing diabetes.Blackberries are a healthy food choice that kids and adults love. They are a great way to refuel after a hard workout and help aid in fighting obesity. See a recipe for Blackberry-Blueberry Cobbler from my site last year.

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