10 Delicious & Healthy Reasons to Eat Summer Berries
Berries are so full of goodness and they taste so yummy too. Think of them as healthy candies – well they are just as brightly colored and delicious but with none of the harmful sugars, high fructose corn syrup or artificial flavors and colorings.
A real treasure in a small package
It wont be long now until the stores and farmer's markets are full of summer berries. Some of you will have been able to buy berries all year long depending on where you live.
The top 10 benefits of eating berries
Blue berries, strawberries, raspberries, gooseberries, blackberries, boysenberries, cranberries – can you think of any more? It is best to try and eat a helping of 3 different berries every day to get the maximum benefits because of course they all have so much to offer - topping the charts in antioxidant power, protecting your body against inflammation and free radicals (those molecules that can damage cells and organs) and loaded with fiber which helps you to feel full and eat less (for those watching their weight).
The top ten are here and I have thought of some more berries!
1. Blueberries have the highest antioxidant capacity of all fresh fruit, being very rich in antioxidants like anthocyanin, vitamin C, B complex, vitamin E, vitamin A, copper (a very effective immune builder and anti-bacterial), selenium, zinc, iron (promotes immunity by raising haemoglobin and oxygen concentration in blood) and more to boost your immune system and prevent infections. Once your immunity is strong, you are much less likely to get colds, fever, pox and other viral and bacterial diseases.
2. Strawberries are particularly rich in vitamin C, that important antioxidant that the body requires. Strawberry nutrition facts suggest that 149% of vitamin C is found in the fruit.The health benefits of strawberries can provide an overall improvement to your health, strawberries being one of the more important fruits to include in our diets.
3. Raspberries contain ellagic acid, which is an effective antioxidant that helps to prevent damage to the cells through eliminating free radicals. Cell damage usually results in degenerative diseases. Raspberries enhance eye health with their antioxidant properties fighting macular degeneration especially in elderly people.
4. Gooseberries (just one cup) supplies 6.5g of dietary fiber. As the average adult diet requires at least 20g of fiber per day a serving of gooseberries is about one-third of that amount, ensuring that you get enough fiber in your diet to help prevent constipation and ultimately hemorrhoids or anal fissures, as well as more serious conditions like colon cancer and heart disease.
5. Blackberries have a substantial quantity of phenolic acids which are antioxidant compounds known as anti-carcinogenic agents. The phenolics in blackberries include anthocyanins, ellagic acid, rutins, gallic acid and many more plus vitamins A and C.
6. Boysenberries are a rich source of anthocyanins, natural antioxidants which help to maintain healthy brain cells and protect against oxidative damage that leads to brain ageing and Alzheimer's disease. They also appear to play a role in boosting memory. In addition, boysenberry anthocyanins appear to have anti-inflammatory and cancer inhibitory properties in preliminary studies, and may be particularly effective against tumors of the colon and esophagus.
7. Cranberries contain proanthocyanidins (PACs) that can prevent the adhesion of certain of bacteria, including E.coli, associated with urinary tract infections, to the urinary tract wall. The anti-adhesion properties of cranberry may also inhibit the bacteria associated with gum disease and stomach ulcers.
8. Goji berries can reduce the toxic effect of chemotherapy and radiation while enhancing the effect of radiation in combating lung cancer, allowing a lower dose to be used. This sweet-tasting, dark-red colored fruit, has extraordinary healing properties that most people are unaware of - it is considered to be the world's most nutrient-dense food.
9. Acai berries are the fruit of a palm tree that grows in the rain forests of the Amazon - a tree Brazilians call "The Tree of Life." Although some 90% of this small, round fruit is its hard, inedible pit, it is the outside skin that holds the treasure of anthocyanins. Acai is a super food to fight heart disease, cancer, prostate enlargement and more. The acai berry has so many other health benefits that it warrants a blog of its own. Watch this space!
10. All berries, though small in size, pack in big benefits. A low-calorie treat full of fiber and chronic-disease-fighting antioxidants, all berries are always a healthy and versatile choice.
Remember that those berries consumed closest to harvest time are the most nutritious and taste the best, so choose local berries when you can.