Berries are tiny looking fruits that are bright, full of flavor and possess a lot of health benefits. Berries can be eaten raw, sprinkled into yogurt or can be blended into your morning smoothie. In whichever form you choose to take them the health benefits of these sweet fruits keeps getting better and better.Belonging to a category of fruits referred to as soft fruits in British horticultural terms, the common examples of berries include; strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, red currants and black currants. Berries are consumed worldwide and you can find them in jams, cakes, preserves or pies.Below are some of the major reasons as to why that berry should be having an important place in your diet:
They are rich in antioxidants
Antioxidants help your body to have control over free radicals. Free radicals are unstable molecules occurring as a result of metabolism. Only a small amount of these unstable molecules are needed by the body to fight against viruses and bacteria. When in excess these free radicals will damage your cells. Therefore incorporating blueberries into your diet ensures that these free radicals are kept under control.
The antioxidants present in berries include anthocyanins, resveratrol and ellagic acid. These compounds will also protect your body against diseases. In a study it was found that blackberries and raspberries contained the highest level of antioxidant followed by pomegrenates.There are also studies supporting the ability of berries to reduce oxidative stress. To take an example of one study, it was found that when healthy people consumed 500 grams of straw berry pulp on a daily basis for 30 days, one pro oxidant marker reduced by a whopping 38%.
Other fruits rich in antioxidants include:
Red grapes are very healthy fruits and very low in calories. Imagine eating up to 20 red seedless grapes and knowing that you have consumed a mere 100 calories. Red grapes are tasty enough to eat individually as a snack instead of opting for junk and processed foods that do not add any nutritional value to you. Additionally they add colour, nutritional value and taste to any fruit salad or smoothie. It also does not hurt that red plums are affordable. Another little known fact about red grapes is that they are full of fiber and roughage which will keep you fuller for longer. The feeling of satiety is helpful especially when you are trying to lose weight healthily. This is because you are in a better position to suppress your appetite.
Blackberries are high in antioxidants, but be cautious because they also contain a lot of polyols, the component that is mainly found in sugar substitutes (normally blamed for gas and other abdominal issues).
Among the berries, strawberries make for another great source of antioxidants. Interestingly antioxidants present in strawberries have proven to fight carcinogens an LDL, and also cholesterol that’s notorious for causing heart health. Strawberries are also a great source of vitamin C that’s responsible for protecting the cells in your body from free radical damage
Cherries have been considered as a wonder fruit to incorporate in your meals and we can see why, if their antioxidant content is anything to go by. Cherries are also rich in flavonoids which act as antioxidant and work to remove the byproducts of oxidative stress, and therefore slow down the aging process.
Mangoes are a good source of vitamin A and flavonoids that include betacarotene, betacryptoxanthin and alphacarotene.collectively these compounds have antioxidant effects and also play an important role in maintaining your vision. These compounds will also make your skin glow and radiate. Mangoes are a great and tasty fruit that are a great addition to fruit salads and smoothies meant for both weight loss and detoxing. If you have sugar cravings, mangoes are a great way to soothe them so that you are not tempted to indulge in junk and processed foods.
Beets are very rich in antioxidant properties. Among the antioxidants present in beets include betalain an anti-inflammatory that’s aids in detoxification. Betalain is also known as a cancer protecting compound. Beets are a great addition to your diet especially when you are dealing free radicals that make you vulnerable to a myriad of diseases.
They help improve blood sugar and insulin response
Berries may help regulate your blood sugar and insulin levels. Human and test tube studies indicate that berries may protect your cells from high blood sugar levels, help your body increase its sensitivity to insulin therefore reducing your blood sugar.In a study involving healthy women who consumed 150 grams of pure or strawberry mixed with bread, a 24-26 reduction in levels of insulin was recorded as compare to their counterparts who ate bread alone
Berries are a great source of fiber
Berries are an excellent source of fiber, soluble fiber included. According to studies carried out soluble fiber has been shown to slow down the digestive process leading to a reduction in hunger and an increase in feelings of fullness. This may help with your weight management program by reducing your daily calorie intake. What’s more? The high fiber content in these fruits means the digestible carb content is low.
To back this up take a look at the carb and fiber counts for a cup serving of berries.
- Raspberries has 15 grams of carbs with fiber being 8 grams
- Strawberries has 12 grams of carbs with fiber being 3 grams
- Blackberries has 15 grams of carbs with fiber being 8 grams
- Blueberries has 21 grams of carbs with fiber being 4 grams
Because of the digestible carb content these fruits are a low carb food.
Berries are highly nutritious
Besides being rich in antioxidants, berries contain several minerals and vitamins. Among the berries strawberries are very high in vitamin C.In context a cup of strawberry will supply you with 150% of your RDI for vitamin C.Only vitamin c content varies across the types of berries. Other mineral and vitamins content in all berries are fairly similar.Additionally berries are low in calorie. The calorie intake in a cup of berries ranges from 49-84 .
Berries will help you fight inflammation
Berries possess very strong anti inflammatory abilities. Moderate inflammation is helpful to your body as it sets up a defense against injury and infections however increased and sustained inflammation is not good for your body. The development of heart diseases and obesity, diabetes can be attributed to chronic inflammation.Studies indicate that the antioxidants present in berries may help lower down these inflammation levels.
Berries are beneficial to your skin
Berries help reduce skin wrinkling and therefore can help in combating aging effects. Free radicals are attributed to be the cause of skin damage which contributes to aging. Therefore the antioxidants in berries come in handy in dealing with these free radicals. Collagen a protein that’s part of the structure of the skin allows the skin to stretch and therefore ensuring it remains firm. Any damage to collagen leads to a saggy and wrinkled skin.
Berries will lower your cholesterol levels
Berries are friendly to the health of your heart. In particular strawberries and black raspberries have been shown to help reduce cholesterol levels in people with obesity. In addition berries may reduce your risks for heart diseases by preventing the oxidation of LDL cholesterol (a major contributor to heart related diseases). In a controlled study, people with obese consumed 50grams of blueberries for a period of eight weeks, it was observed that there was a reduction of 28%in their oxidized LDL levels.
Other foods that help lower cholesterol levels include;
Whole grains such as oats and barley are great for cholesterol lowering in our bodies. In studies carried out its revealed that eating about three servings of whole grains on a daily basis can lower your risk of developing a heart problem or stroke by up to 20%.This percentage even increases with up to seven servings a day.
Oats and barley are rich in beta-glucan, a soluble fiber that can help lower cholesterol level. Eating oats can help reduce your total cholesterol level by 5% and LDL cholesterol by 7% proteins in good quantities.
These are a group of plant foods like peas, beans, and lentils. legumes are rich in fiber, minerals, and proteins in the right amounts. If you replace processed foods in your diet with these plant proteins like beans your risk of developing heart diseases will be greatly lowered.
A review of 26 randomly controlled studies found that when you eat approximately half a cup of legumes in a day, you can lower your LDL cholesterol by close to 6.6 mg/dl when compared to when you don’t eat.
Avocados are richly nutritious food. They contain monounsaturated fats together with fiber. These two nutrients help lower the un unhealthy cholesterol(LDL) and help raise the healthy cholesterol(HDL).
An analysis of studies carried out found that replacing other fats with avocados was linked to a reduction in total cholesterol, and triglycerides.
Fruits and berries
Addition of fruits to your diet is healthy for your heart for several reasons. Most fruits are high in soluble that’s helpful in lowering the levels of cholesterol in our bodies.A certain type of soluble fiber called pectin has been shown to lower the levels of cholesterol by up to 10%.Its found in fruits such as grapes, apples, strawberries.citrus fruits among others.
Fruits also are known to be rich in bioactive compounds that help prevent diseases of the heart and other similarly chronic diseases. This is because they have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.Incorporating fruits such as berries and grapes in your meal, therefore, can help lower the unhealthy cholesterol (LDL) and increase the healthy cholesterol (HDL)
Garlic is has been known as a medicine and an ingredient in cooking. Studies have linked garlic to lowering blood pressure and also lowering total cholesterol.
Garlic is rich in allicin a compound that can help lower the harmful and unhealthy cholesterol (LDL)
Vegetables are an integral part of a healthy diet. Being rich in fiber and antioxidants and also low in calories they are helpful in maintenance of a healthy weight. Some vegetables are high in pectin, in particular, the same fiber that’s found in oranges and apples. This soluble fiber is known to lower cholesterol levels. Other vegetables rich in pectin also include eggplants, potatoes, carrots and okra among others.
High levels of cholesterol can be a major risk factor for the health of your heart. This risk can be greatly reduced by including certain types of food in your meals. The foods given above are based on research and will help keep your cholesterol levels under control and hence give, you a healthy heart.
Can be enjoyed on different types of diets
That’s a more reason to include these fruits in your diet. The only people that can avoid these fruits are those that are on a low fiber kind of diet or those who have an allergy to berries. Other than these, berries are an excellent super food for nearly everyone
They are good for the health of your arteries
Berries enhance the performance of your arteries. Berries have been found to improve endothelial functions in adults, smokers and individuals having metabolic syndrome.In a controlled study of 44 individuals having metabolic syndrome, the condition of those who consumed a blueberry daily was found to improve as compared to those who didn’t.
Berries are delicious
Berries are without doubt really delicious. They can make for a wonderful dessert or snack or even as part of a salad. Berries are naturally sweet but you can add a bit of whipped or heavy cream to give an even more delicious desert
You have no reason as to why you should not include that berry into your diet. Talk of the great health benefits and how delicious they are, you just have to incorporate them into your meals.