No matter if you choose the more exotic goji and acai or you love raspberry, cranberry, strawberry, blackberry and blueberry just fine, all berries are amazing for you – this we already know. But what is it about berries that makes them so good for us? It’s not just that they’re low in sugar and low in calories, nor is it because they’re bright in color indicating their high antioxidant content. Berries are particularly extremely high in various nutrients that provide a large amount of nutrition that benefit multiple parts of your body. Though all fruits do this, berries are consistently marked as some of the highest and most nutritious foods to eat because they do so many things to keep you healthy.
Whether you choose fresh, frozen, or even superfood forms of berries, any berry will benefit you. Here’s why:
They Protect Your Brain, Slow Aging and Promote a Healthy Mood
Berries have been shown to improve the rate at which the brain ages due to the way they support neurological function. Steven Bratt, a medical doctor from California and author of Superfoods Rx: 14 Foods Proven to Change Your Life even calls them “Brainberries” because they’re so phenomenal at fighting inflammatory markers of aging in the brain. People who consume berries on a regular basis show slower signs of aging and a reduced risk of getting Alzheimer’s and dementia. Harvard Medical University also conducted a study of over 16,000 women and found that berry consumption slowed down cognitive decline by 2.5 years, and that’s just from strawberries and blueberries.
Berries also promote a healthy mood, thanks to high levels of antioxidants, and some such as acai berries, also contain omega 3 fatty acids, known to enhance aging and also improve mood. Blackberries, cranberries, acai, goji, maqui, mulberry, and camu camu berries actually have more antioxidants than some others, possibly increasing the benefits even further. Goji berries are known as longevity berries for their specifically high antioxidant content as well.
They Increase Digestive Health
Berries are the highest fiber-rich foods of all fruits and are also some of the easiest to digest. This can be helpful for those that don’t tolerate some other fruits higher in fructose (fruit sugar) such as pears, apples, and dried fruits. Berries’ high fiber content also contain both soluble and insoluble fiber, which are both necessary for optimal digestive health. These fibers help remove cholesterol and toxins from the body, which is necessary for keeping your heart healthy and keeping your energy up. Digestive health is incredibly important for your overall health, especially your heart and neurological health. Digestion influences your mood, energy levels, can cause problems if you suffer irregularity or nutrition loss through poor digestive health, and good digestive health can regularly prevent disease from toxic build-up or leaky gut syndrome. Berries are also richer in fiber than even some of the healthiest whole grains. Consider this: one cup of raspberries has almost 11 grams of fiber, which is more than you’d get in a cup of oatmeal or quinoa!
Cranberries and blueberries have also been shown to reduce and eliminate harmful bacteria in the body, along with fight bacterial infections on a regular basis.
They Protect Your Heart From Inflammation
Inflammation in the heart and blood can quickly lead to disease, such as cancer and diabetes, not to mention high cholesterol and high blood pressure. Berries contain specific phytonutrients that not only fight inflammation, but also reduce it as well. They’re some of the more alkaline foods to eat and help fight the harmful health effects like high blood pressure and high blood sugar from animal products that all lead to inflammation in the body. Alma berries, (another exotic fruit and also known as Indian goooseberries), has also been shown to fight cancer in the body and be especially healthy for women. Dr. Michael Greger, MD, even says that amla berries are one of the best foods we can eat to prevent against high cholesterol and diabetes.
Berries are also packed with Vitamin C and potassium. Vitamin C helps reduce inflammation and promotes a healthy immunity to fight disease that stems from inflammation. Potassium helps ensure healthy water balance in the body and can also help prevent sore muscles and dehydration that leads to inflammatory responses in the body.
They Support Your Metabolism
Berries are also some of the best recommended foods for keeping a healthy weight. One reason being they’re not a dense source of calories, another being that a good bit of their calories come from fiber-based carbohydrates, which the body doesn’t store as fat like it does starch and sugar, and thirdly, because they can actually help decrease some of the fat absorbed from your diet due to their high fiber content. Some studies show that raspberries, blueberries and acai berries all specifically lead to weight loss, but any berry will contribute to a healthy body. The key is to eat these in place of sugary foods, eat an overall healthy diet, and regularly stay active. Berries don’t negate the effects of potato chips and steak, but in correlation with a healthy menu and lifestyle, they can help improve overall metabolism.
Berries are overall fantastic for you, so no matter what type you choose, just focus on working them into your diet in place of unhealthier, more processed foods. Whether you use them to add to smoothies, salads, puree them into dressings, bake or cook with them, or just snack on them raw, berries are a win for your diet. Buy them frozen and organic when not in season to reduce the risk of pesticides in your diet and help them keep longer in your fridge. See all of our berry recipe here for tasty ideas!
What’s your favorite way to eat berries?
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