Berries – a super tasty superfood
The humble berry may be small but it is certainly powerful!
Berries not only taste delicious, but are packed full of nutrients and antioxidants, making them incredibly good for you too. You may not have thought of berries as a superfood before but this is exactly what they are. Superfoods are foods that can offer health-promoting properties that improve aspects of your physical or mental health.
There are a number of proven health benefits to be had from regularly eating berries:
Packed with antioxidants
Antioxidants help rid your body of free radicals which can cause oxidative stress. Studies have confirmed that the antioxidants in berries may help to reduce this.1
Low in calories and full of nutrients
As well as containing lots of antioxidants, berries are also full of nutrients. All berries are fairly similar in terms of their vitamin and mineral content with the exception of Vitamin C, where the standout is the strawberry with around 150grams providing 150% of the recommended daily intake.2
Good for heart health
A study by Harvard Medical School drew a direct link between improved heart health and the consumption of blueberries and strawberries three times per week.3 The study showed a correlation between higher berry intake and a lower incidence of heart attacks. The people with the greatest heart benefits had three or more servings of blueberries or strawberries each week.
High fiber content
Fiber is beneficial for increasing the sensation of fullness and reducing hunger, which studies have shown is a good way to decrease your calorie intake and make it easier to manage your weight.4 Berries are a good source of both soluble and insoluble fiber.
May improve blood sugar and insulin levels
Studies have also suggested that berry consumptionmay help to protect your cells against high blood sugar levels, as well as help increase insulin sensitivity and reduce the impact of high-carb meals on your blood sugar and insulin response.5
Berries help fight inflammation
While inflammation is a natural response to injury or infection, modern lifestyles – namely increased stress, not enough physical exercise and poor food choices – can lead to too much inflammation, which is believed to be a contributing factor to conditions like heart disease and diabetes. All types of berries have strong anti-inflammatory properties and studies have indicated that inflammatory markers can be lowered by the antioxidants in berries.6
Different types of berries
Raspberries are rich in color – ranging from red and black to purple, yellow or golden – and have a sweet, juicy taste.They contain vitamins C and E, as well as the antioxidants selenium, beta carotene, lutein, lycopene, and zeaxanthin.
Blueberries are a wonderful source of fiber and vitamin K and they contain antioxidant polyphenols known as anthocyanins.
Strawberries are one of the best sources of Vitamin C and are also one of the most consumed berries in the world!
Açai berries are native to the Brazilian Amazon region and are one of the best sources of antioxidant polyphenols, with studies showing that they may contain as much as 10 times more antioxidants than blueberries!7
Goji berries are also sometimes referred to as wolfberries. They are native to China and have recently grown in popularity in the western world. Goji berries contain high levels of vitamin A and zeaxanthin and like many other berries, goji berries contain antioxidant polyphenols.
Cranberries have a sour taste but are extremely healthy and can be sweetened and consumed as a juice. Numerous studies have shown that cranberry juice can help reduce the risk of UTIs.8
Preserving nutrients through freeze drying
Berries will spoil if not eaten relatively quickly, which poses a problem when you consider that some of them – such as Acai and Goji berries – are not native to us. Thankfully though, the freeze-drying process means that their nutrients can be preserved and we can still benefit from the goodness they offer! Freeze drying removes around 98% of the berries natural water content to stop it spoiling, while retaining most of their color, flavor and nutritional value. Studies have shown that freeze drying is the best way to preserve nutritional qualities when compared to other dehydration methods, especially when operated under vacuum.9
Supplementing berries into your diet
One of the best things about berries is their versatility and how easy it is to supplement them into your diet. You can, of course, simply snack on them raw and enjoy them as a tasty fruit, but you can also add them to shakes and smoothies or start your day with them in your yoghurt, cereal or oatmeal. Lunchtime brings further options for adding a few berries as they taste great in salads, and you can have them for a sweet dessert too.
By including tasty, nutritious berries in your diet on a regular basis, you can help improve your overall health in an easy and enjoyable way.