Incorporate these nutrient-dense USA-cultivated crops into your menu.
Also known as chokeberries, these dark, indigo-hued fruits are native to the American Midwest. They boast ample antioxidant anthocyanins (that’s where their purple color comes from) that may protect body cells over time and reduce inflammation. A recent study published in Frontiers in Nutrition suggests that aronia may reduce oxidative-stress markers, too. Aronia can be tart when eaten raw, so seek frozen aronia berries to add to smoothies, or look for aronia berry jam or jelly.
Tinier and more flavorful than greenhouse-grown blueberries, wild blueberries grow densely along the coast of northern New England, especially in the states of Maine, Vermont and New Hampshire. Studies show that wild blueberries contain more antioxidants than conventional blueberries—possibly because wild blueberries are “stressed” more by the elements. Look for whole, frozen berries in the freezer aisle. Try adding a handful to morning oatmeal or as a tasty salad topper.
Yaupon is a caffeinated plant that grows wild from the American Southeast to southern Texas. Traditionally, yaupon was important to some Native American tribes, who dried the leaves to make a hot tea and used the plant in special ceremonies. When roasted, polyphenol-packed yaupon tastes similar to tea. In recent years, some brands have started to harvest and package yaupon into sachets or bottle it into ready-to-drink brewed versions, such as ASI American Yaupon Tea.