We love berries. Not only are they one of the most delicious fruits to enjoy, but they also happen to be one of the healthiest foods you can eat. Berries are consistently shown to be amazing defenders against several types of diseases, including heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, and even cancer.
Berries are also some of the richest sources of fiber among all plant foods, which means they’re great for digestion and heart health. They’re also high in antioxidants that protect the immune system including vitamin C, and they contain compounds that improve arterial function, blood pressure, and blood sugar levels.
Here are five of the most well-known types of berries to include in your daily diet, with some other superfood berry choices below that are great options too. Check out each of their different benefits, experiment with using them, and see which ones you enjoy best!
If there’s one type of berry to include in your diet above all others, it’s the amazing blueberry. Blueberries are incredible when it comes to the nutrition they provide. For instance, just one cup of blueberries a day can provide benefits that have been shown to fight aging, memory loss, and high blood pressure. Blueberries also contain compounds, including gallic acid and ellagic acid, that fight cancer, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s disease.
Even better, wild blueberries (versus regular cultivated blueberries) are twice as high in a beneficial group of antioxidants known as anthocyanins, along with other types of antioxidants that protect the body from cancer.
Blueberries are great for more than just snacks; they make delicious additions to oatmeal, can be mixed into chia pudding, are a wonderful ingredient to use in smoothies, and happen to make delicious desserts like these Maca Blueberry Pops. See all of our blueberry recipes here for plenty of ways to use blueberries in your daily diet.
Blackberries are even higher in fiber than blueberries and are high in antioxidants similar to those in blueberries, including anthocyanins that are protective of the brain, heart, and the entire cardiovascular system.
Interestingly enough, blackberries are also an extremely good source of vitamin K, which helps the proper clotting of the blood for healthy circulation and coagulation of the blood. This important feature of vitamin K plays a large part in the overall health of the circulatory system.
Blackberries tiny seeds are also high in insoluble fiber, which keeps the digestive system regular. A healthy digestive system protects the heart, as it helps eliminate harmful cholesterol from the body and keeps blood sugar levels in good balance.
Include blackberries in smoothies and in porridge (oatmeal), or bake with them. You could even try your hand at making a delicious ice cream with them, such as this Blackberry Acai Nice Cream. See all of our recipes with blackberries here!
Raspberries are packed with filling fiber and phytonutrients that protect the body. In fact, raspberries have more fiber than all other types of berries coming in at 8 grams of fiber per cup!
Raspberries’ beautiful red color is due to their high concentration of anthocyanins, the most powerful class of antioxidants. Raspberries are also a great source of ellagic acid, which is a phytochemical compound that reduces the signs of aging, acts as an anti-carcinogenic (anti-cancer) agent, and protects the heart, liver, colon, and blood.
Use raspberries in your favorite healthy breakfast recipes, like in hot quinoa cereal or oatmeal, or throw them in smoothies. You can also use them in place of blueberries in any dessert, or try baking muffins and cookies with them, too. This No Bake Chocolate Raspberry Tart features raspberries beautifully. Want more ideas? See all of our raspberry recipes here!
Strawberries have the richest source of vitamin C per cup among all of these common types of berries, with over 100% of your daily vitamin C needs! Strawberries are also excellent sources of anthocyanins and fiber, like other types of berries.
Strawberries contain folate, an important B vitamin that protects the brain and is important for healthy fetal development. Furthermore, strawberries are excellent sources of ellagic acid and other protective compounds found in other types of berries that help fight cancer and heart disease. Pretty impressive for a common red berry, right?
Just one tip… be sure to buy organic strawberries whenever you can, since strawberries are consistently one of the highest sources of pesticides of all fruits and veggies sold in conventional form.
We probably don’t have to tell you how to enjoy strawberries since these common berries are so widely used and popular. However, if you’re looking for something extra special to make with strawberries, we suggest these Raw Strawberry Creme Chocolate Truffles! You can also see more ways to use strawberries in all of our strawberry recipes right here.
These berries are often only used during the holidays, which is a real shame because they’re excellent for our health and can be consumed all year round! Many stores carry frozen cranberries which are delicious in oatmeal, smoothies, desserts, and more, and they contain many benefits that make them worthy of including in your daily diet.
Cranberries contain powerful anti-viral compounds that fight the dangerous bacteria H. pylori that take residence in the stomach. Cranberries also fight bacteria that harm the kidneys, including E. coli. Another benefit of whole cranberries is that they are extremely low in sugar, so they’re great for anyone who desires to consumer lower sugar berries. Cranberries are also rich in a deep red color, which indicates their high amounts of antioxidants that help fight cancer, including anthocyanins and ellagic acid.
Cranberries pair well with apples, other types of berries, oats, wild rice, squash, and more. Feel free to use these slightly sweet, tart berries wherever you use other berries. Check out all of our cranberry recipes here for more ideas. We particularly love these Pumpkin Pancakes With Cranberry Maple Syrup in case you’re looking for a recipe to try out first!
What About Superfood Berries?
Mulberries, golden berries, Goji berries, acaí, and camu camu are all popular types of superfood berries that are excellent for your health. If you can work one or more of these superfood berries into your day, great! Each of these berries provides different benefits your body will thank you for.
Goji berries, for example, are extremely high in vitamin A, fiber, and liver-protecting compounds; they’re also a complete source of protein. Mulberries are high in vitamin C, iron, and are excellent sources of potassium. Acaí is a well-known source of antioxidants known as anthocyanins along with omega-3 fatty acids; they’re also one of the lowest sugar-containing fruits you can eat. Camu camu berries are believed to have anti-viral effects to protect the body’s immune system and are one of the best sources of vitamin C you can consume.
However, if you’re on a tight budget, don’t feel as though you have to include these more exotic berries into your daily routine if you can’t afford them. Start with the most basic types of berries listed above, and work a cup or two of those into your daily diet before adding in superfood berries that often cost more per serving.
It’s important to remember that eating an overall healthy diet rich in whole plant foods that include berries each day is your best bet against major types of disease, including cancer. In other words, eating a junk food diet with a side of berries each day isn’t the way to go for optimal health. To give your nutrition plan a real boost, be sure to stock up on whole plant foods and include berries as part of your daily diet.
Want more tips on the benefits of plant-based nutrition? Check out A Whole Foods Vegan Diet: The Ultimate Guide for tips on how to keep things simple and healthy!
Lead Image: Blackberry Lemon Lavender Cheesecake