Berries offer a unique set of nutrients that protect against disease and promote a healthy weight. With so many types to choose from, it is easy to incorporate these fruits into your eating plan, allowing you can take full advantage of the nutritional benefits.
Low in calories, but full of fiber
Most berries have fewer than 80 calories in one cup of fresh fruit. The high water content and fiber in berries helps you feel full and satisfied. The fiber in berries is also linked to lower blood cholesterol levels and reduced risk for some types of cancer.
Important vitamins and antioxidants
Nutrients in berries have been found to reduce the risk of disease and slow the mental decline associated with aging. Berries are rich in vitamin C, which promotes healthy collagen that can lead to healthier joints and improved flexibility. The folate in berries may help protect against heart disease and promote healthy vision.
Berries are also rich in antioxidants that fight the free radicals linked to chronic disease. Anthocyanins are the antioxidants that give berries their deep colors. They have been found to reduce inflammation and are linked to the prevention of pain associated with arthritis. Quercetin is a flavonoid and antioxidant that also contributes to the color of berries. It may help reduce the plaque build up on artery walls that leads to heart attack, and it’s linked to reduced levels of blood cholesterol and blood pressure. Flavonoids, like quercetin, may also inhibit the growth of cancer cells.
The variety of berries makes it nearly impossible to get bored of eating these healthy fruits. Available at different seasons throughout the year, you can incorporate all types of berries to maximize the health benefits. Strawberries are at their peak in late spring to early summer, and they are soon followed by raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries. Cranberries come into season in the late fall. During the winter months try using frozen, unsweetened berries in your smoothies, or cook them with your oatmeal. The more varieties you eat, the more unique nutrients you will consume.