No matter which diet you follow, or whether you follow one or not, berries are something you can always add to your usual food intake. Berries are one of the most nutritious fruits you can include in your daily regimen.
Berries are usually small, soft, round and found in various colors like red, purple or blue. Their flavor is usually sweet and sour which makes them very delicious to eat. They are not just eaten in their natural form, but also used in the preparation of jams, desserts and fruit salads.
Apart from being so attractive, tasty and almost used in all types of desserts, berries also come with some great health benefits. They are high in fiber, antioxidants and Vitamin C.
What’s more, these components in berries make them a very good factor in reducing the symptoms of many chronic diseases. Let’s go through each of these to know in detail their specific benefits.
If you talk about berries, the first thing that comes to your mind is this sweet and scrumptious heart-shaped treat in a fruit. Strawberries are a favorite to all age groups and to any person in the world. It is also very healthy as it is known for its rich Vitamin C content.
Strawberries also additionally contain fiber and manganese to some extent., They are very tasty and also contains many health benefits.
Strawberries are rich in antioxidant polyphenols known as Ellagitannins and ellagic acid. These antioxidants help in getting rid of the free radicals that are known to harm the body and stop the growth of cancer cells if any.
Strawberries are also rich in Anthocyanins that give the rich color to the fruit from the outside. Anthocyanins are popular for their good effects on heart health. Strawberries also aid in improving HDL (good) cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood platelets function.
Because of these properties, strawberries can be considered useful to prevent metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes.
So add up this most favorite berry into your yogurts, salads or just make them your regular snack to attain these amazing health benefits.
Often labelled as a superfood, blueberries are widely found in the world easily. They are a good source of nutrients like Vitamin C, Vitamin K and Manganese. They also contain fiber and antioxidant polyphenols called anthocyanins.
Blueberries also support weight management by aiding the lowering of LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol that enhances the functioning of the arteries and thus reducing the risk of a heart attack.
Anthocyanins in blueberries are known for reducing oxidative stress that in turn lowers the risk of heart diseases. Especially for those who are already diagnosed with heart conditions, having blueberries can help relax some of the symptoms related to their chronic condition.
Recent studies have also shown that blueberries or their bioactive compounds improve insulin sensitivity and aid in reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes.
Blueberries also play an important role in cognitive development as there is some research that supports that it reduces cognitive decline. This means that it aids the brain to remain healthier as they age. But there is still more research to do in this sphere to prove it completely right.
Such support in future allows the protection from cognitive disorders like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
Raspberries are very popular red berries that are rich in important nutrients. They are used in desserts and are also served with pancakes as jams.
Raspberries are rich sources of Vitamin C, Vitamin K and Manganese. They also contain antioxidant polyphenols known as ellagitannins that help in reducing oxidative stress and reducing the free radicals in the bloodstream. Raspberries also contain fiber which is good for gut health.
Unlike blueberries, raspberries are of different types. The most popular ones are the American and European red ones apart from the black ones. Of these, black raspberries are popular for their heart health benefits.
Some studies have provided evidence that black raspberries could reduce risk factors of heart diseases like blood cholesterol and blood pressure. They are also known to reduce inflammation in people with metabolic syndrome. Having said that, there is also a wide scope of more research to be done to prove it entirely.
The fiber and antioxidant polyphenols in black raspberries are good for digestive health, heart health and overall health too.
Raspberries are generally consumed in fruit salads or as jams in desserts. It is one of the favorite ice cream flavors among kids too.
Also known as wolfberries, Goji berries find their native in China and are important for their medicinal value in old traditions. They are also popular worldwide for the same medicinal qualities.
Goji berries are rich in Vitamin A, Vitamin C and Zeaxanthin. These nutrients make these berries good for eye health. They help in improving vision because of their Vitamin A contents. They additionally also contain iron and fibre.
When we say that goji berries aid in maintaining eye health, it refers to the amazing effect they have on ageing affecting eye health. Some research has shown that the zeaxanthin content in Goji berries benefits the reduction of cataracts to prevent the effects of ageing on eyes.
Goji berries are also known for aiding weight loss. They are typically low in calories and contain less sugar which makes them a good option for a snack. You could either add it in your salad or mix it with you yoghurt instead of raisins.
Goji berries as a result also help in maintaining your blood sugar levels, especially if you have a sweet tooth.
Overall, they are good for eye health and help you keep a check on your weight.
One of the most interestingly sour and sharp tasted berries are cranberries. Although it is very rare that they are consumed raw, they are quite popular for the flavour they carry. They are usually consumed as a juice or with other juices to make it sweet enough.
Cranberries contain Manganese, Vitamins C, E and K1 apart from copper. Like other berries too, they are good for heart health. Cranberries help in increasing HDL (high-density lipoprotein) levels to maintain good cholesterol in the body. They also, in turn, lower LDL 9 low-density lipoprotein) levels to get rid of bad cholesterol.
Cranberries are good for your urinary tract health too. They contain a set of unique phytonutrients that belong to A-type proanthocyanidins or condensed tannins. As a result, they aid in lowering the risk of UTIs in both adults and children.
The antioxidant properties in cranberries also help in reducing the risk of stomach cancer and ulcers. This is also because of their A-type proanthocyanidins content responsible for reducing oxidative stress in the body.
Cranberries are consumed in the form of addition to other juices, in their fried form or in powdered form.
Popular in the summer months, blackberries are one of the sweet berries that is relished all over the world. They also come with some amazing health benefits.
Most importantly, they contain Vitamin C. Vitamin C is an important nutrient for the body to improve collagen formation in bones and connective tissues. It is also a vital nutrient to regenerate cells to heal wounds and absorb iron for the body.
Blackberries also contain a high amount of fiber. Fiber helps in reducing constipation, bloating and stomach pain. They basically help in regulates the digestive system of the body.
Blackberries also contain Vitamin C which is responsible for blood clots and the metabolism of bones. They also contain Manganese that helps to prevent osteoporosis and manage blood sugar levels.
Blackberries contain other nutrients that are good for brain development. They prevent the aging of the brain that helps fighting brain inflammation and cognitive damage.
Blackberries can be easily blended with your smoothies or can be added to your salads or yogurt.
Acai berries are mostly found in the Brazillian domain and are considered as a “superfruit” there. Of late, they are considered in the global market for their many health benefits.
Acai berries are typically dark purple in color. In order to be consumable, they are soaked to remove the hard outer skin and are crushed to a dark purple paste. Their taste can be described as a fusion between unsweetened chocolate and blueberries.
Acai berries contain Calcium, Vitamin A and fiber. They are also rich in antioxidant content, precisely of anthocyanins. These antioxidants from acai berries are good especially to reduce free radicals and reduce oxidative stress in the body. This makes them good for the skin too.
Like other berries, they too have many benefits related to the cholesterol levels in the body. They help in lowering LDL bad cholesterol and increasing HDL levels.
Acai berries are also known to reduce inflammation and as a result help in maintaining memory and learning. It also enhances the communication between the brain cells. The effect on inflammation also helps in preventing osteoarthritis.
The best time to have acai berries in the form of juice, is after your work out because of their powers to reduce oxidative stress.
Recipes with berries
There are many ways in which you can consume your berries. Although the best way is to have them raw, some berries like cranberries might not give you the chance to do that because of their unusual taste.
Go through these following suggestions of how you can add berries to some of your foods to make sure you don’t lose out on their amazing benefits.
The Strawberry Salsa
The Strawberry salsa is a simple salad that you can have as you evening snack whenever you have a tiny hunger burst.
All you have to do is add sliced pieces of strawberries with avocado, lime juice and baby radish to make an all new salsa that is very tasty yet healthy for an evening snack.
This salad can also be served as an appetizer or with you favorite main course like grilled chicken or your general vegetable cutlets.
Your Baking Rescue
If you are running out of flavours for your muffins, cakes or cookies, the best resort is to have the berries as your ingredients.
Berries will not just complement the baking process, but will also be a healthier alternative for fondant, vanilla or the high-calorie chocolate.
What’s more, you can also make tarts and experiment with other different recipes because of their naturally fruitish nature.
The Pancake Topping
One of the best ways you can serve your favorite breakfast is by adding the real fruit as a topping to it. Pancakes are the best foundation for trying all your favorite berries.
Another way you can top your pancakes is by making syrups of any of the above mentioned berries, especially strawberries, blackberries and blueberries as your topping.
The Infamous Smoothies
If you are in for a deliciously healthy drink for you post workout or just for an afternoon lunch that you invite your friends to, you can surely make smoothies with these amazing berries.
All you have to do is add the berry of your choice in the blender with milk, honey/sugar and if you prefer, some ice cream too. If you are looking for a healthier option, replace ice cream with yogurt.
Berries are one of the healthiest foods that you can eat since they are low in fiber and contain less amount of calories. Their antioxidant contents along with their sweet flavours make them one of the favorite foods that is loved by adults and children overall.
Their main focus is on heart health and brain health as they help prevent many chronic conditions. No matter which diet you follow, they can be included in your regime to give you a boost of those important vitamins. They are also known to reduce the risk of diabetes because of their power to positively control blood sugar levels.
So give a try to all these kinds of berries in portions once a week to relish the important health benefits they provide.