Bright, colorful, and bursting with flavor, berries are a delicious and potent way to bring a wide range of health-boosting benefits to your diet.
Blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, raspberries, boysenberries are just a few of the sweet berries that pack a powerful punch when it comes to delivering healing phytochemicals to your diet. Even in relatively small amounts, berries have been shown to have significant benefits. Here are a few examples of research on berries:
- Berries may offer protecting against Type 2 diabetes – a 2012 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that eating blueberries even just twice a week helps ward off Type 2 diabetes.
- Goji berries help protect against the flu by boosting antibody response, according to a Tufts University study
- Harvard researchers found that strawberries and blueberries slow mental decline in aging adults
- Berries help clear the brain of toxic accumulation. As the body ages, toxic compounds build up in the brain that are related to memory loss and cognitive decline – eating berries helps restore the natural housekeeping function of the brain cells
- Cranberries help fight urinary tract infections – Canadian researchers have found that the commonly touted folk remedy for urinary tract infections is backed up by science; cranberries inhibit bacteria that cause urinary tract infections
- The beneficial compounds in berries help reduce symptoms of arthritis and inflammation – the high flavonoid content found in berries helps block pain and inflammation
The natural plant compounds found in berries, especially flavonoids, are powerful anti-oxidants which help improve the health of your entire body, including your skin, hair, brain, immune system, joints, etc. While many plant foods contain anti-oxidants, berries are a particularly rich source. In addition to flavonoids, berries contain other potent antioxidants, such as anthocyanins, quercetin, and vitamin C.
Berries are also a good source of folate, an important B vitamin, and they are rich in fiber. Berries are also low in calories making them an effective choice for weight loss and weight control.
Armed with the benefits of berries, here are some simple ways to incorporate berries into your diet:
- Eat them whole
When they are in season and available, what better way to enjoy berries than to eat them whole? They can also be topped with lightly sweetened yogurt for a healthy, yet decadent dessert.
One of the simplest and most effective ways to add berries to your diet is to add them to smoothies. For smoothies, you can buy frozen berries for even greater convenience and year round access. Frozen berries are nearly as potent as fresh.
Berries make a delicious and tangy addition to salads – try adding strawberries or blueberries to your salads. You can also make a fresh berry vinaigrette for a gourmet touch.
- Fruit salad
Combine berries with other fruits for a refreshing fruit salad.