Berries & Their Benefits
There are so many different kinds! It would be hard to list all the berries and their benefits. The most popular ones are listed here with their health benefits.
Berries contain an enormous range of antioxidants that help prevent free radical damage and reduce inflammation. Some of the notable antioxidants found in berries include a class of compounds called anthocyanins, which are responsible for the deep, vibrant berry colors.
Also an antioxidant, Vitamin C helps us boost immunity, produce collagen, reduce our allergic response, and supports the adrenal and thyroid glands.
This mineral helps with blood sugar control, helps our bones and joints develop and grow and is a cofactor in an enzyme called superoxide dismutase (SOD), which is one of the major antioxidant enzymes in our bodies.
This mineral plays a role in energy production, helps Vitamin C produce collagen and bone, and is also a cofactor in the production of superoxide dismutase (SOD).
Fiber is essential to blood sugar balance, maintaining a healthy weight, lowering cholesterol levels and supporting digestive health (regular bowel movements, supporting healthy gut bacteria, etc.).
The antioxidants in berries can protect against cancer in a number of ways: they prevent inflammation, inhibit DNA damage, induce cancer cell death and prevent cancerous cells from spreading. Research indicates that berries can play a role in a few specific types of cancer including colon cancer, breast cancer, esophageal cancer, lung cancer and pancreatic cancer.
Eating berries is good for your brain. In a 25 year study, researchers found that a higher intake of strawberries and blueberries was linked to a lower risk of cognitive decline. Other evidence has shown that berries can help prevent brain aging, enhance brain signaling and neuroplasticity, improve memory, and protect against neudegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
Here are the 4 healthiest berries you can eat:
Blueberries are a great souce or Vitamin K.
In one cup of blueberries you’ll also find:
- Calories: 84
- Fiber: 3.6 grams
- Vitamin C: 24% of the RDI
- Vitamin K: 36% of the RDI
- Manganese: 25% of the RDI
Blueberries also contain the antioxident polyphenol which is credited for reducing oxidative stress. This lowers the rish of heart disease in both healthy people and those at high risk.
Blueberries may also improve other aspects of heart health by lowering the “bad” LDL cholesterol.
They’re also credited with lowering the risk of diabetes. Studies show that these yummy little berries can improve insulin sensitivity and reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes by 26%.
You’ll often find raspberries in desserts and are a great souce of fiber.
In one cup of raspberries you’ll find:
- Calories: 64
- Fiber: 8 grams
- Vitamin C: 54% of the RDI
- Vitamin K: 12% of the RDI
- Manganese: 41% of the RDI
Raspberries and black raspberries work about the same way that blueberries do reducing the oxidative stress. These are great for your heart health. They will also help to reduce blood pressure and blood cholesterol.
Raspberries also contain leptin which is the hormone that makes you feel full.
Strawberries are the most commonly consumed berries in the world and are a great souce of Vitamin C.
In one cup of strawberries you find:
- Calories: 49
- Fiber: 3 grams
- Vitamin C: 150% of the RDI
- Manganese: 29% of the RDI
Strawberries are also great for heart health. In a study of 93,000 women who ate at least 3 portions of strawberries and/or blueberries in a week, there was a 30% lower risk of heart attack.
Strawberries can also help control blood sugar levels. In a study of 200,000 people, it was found that strawberries could reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes by 18%.
In another study, it was found that people who ate 2 ounces each day of freeze-dried strawberry powder reduced their oxidative stress and inflammatory chemicals if they were at risk for esophogeal cancer.
Cranberries are extremely healthy but very sour. They are almost never eaten raw. Usually you’ll find them made into juice.
1 cup of raw cranberries provides:
- Calories: 51
- Fiber: 5.1 grams
- Vitamin C: 24% of the RDI
- Manganese: 20% of the RDI
Like most other berries, cranberries contain polyphenols. But, it’s found mainly in the skin. So, there isn’t very much in cranberry juice.
The best known health benefit of cranberries is that they reduce the risk of urinary tract infections. Certain chemicals in the berries will prevent the E.coli from sticking the urinary tract walls.
They have also been found to reduce the risk of stomach ulcers.
These also have the same heart health benefits as the other berries. Do be sure to avoid the varieties of cranberry juice with alot of sugar. I know it tastes better, but you really don’t need all that sugar. Right?
There are my top 4 healthiest berries. There are lots of other berry varieties out there. Don’t limit yourself. Get lots of different ones and see which ones you like best.
Here are some healthy berry recipes: