Food Facts Friday: The Benefits of BerriesArticle posted in: Diet & Nutrition
Sweet, delicious and packed with nutrition, berries are an incredibly healthy food to have in your everyday diet due to their rare nutritional content. Berries are a delight to eat, and there are many kinds readily accessible that all offer around the same nutritional value with high amounts of essential vitamins and minerals. Add the benefits of berries to your weekly menu for a sweet and healthy sweet treat that will keep you on track.
Berries are also notoriously packed with antioxidants, which of course, offer many benefits to the body—from promoting immune health to reducing the risk for heart disease. Not only are berries like strawberries, blackberries, blueberries and raspberries tasty, they are easy to incorporate into any meal or snack, too.
Please note that if you are on the South Beach Diet program, we recommend extremely limiting fruit due to the higher carb and sugar content. If you’d like to enjoy a small amount of fruit, berries are the best option because their high in fiber and lower in sugar than other fruits. You can count a quarter cup of raspberries (about 15 berries) as one of your Extras for the day. However, keep in mind that it’s still important to monitor your daily net carb intake to keep it below 50 grams. Check out our Grocery Guide for the serving sizes of other berries. >
Here are seven reasons you need to add berries to your menu:
1. Berries are packed with powerful antioxidants.
Antioxidants can do many great things for your body–from combating chronic disease to improving the look of your skin. The potent and beneficial mix of antioxidants found in berries can make you feel healthier from the inside out and fight damage caused by free radicals in your body. In fact, according to a study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries provide the richest source of antioxidants among everyday fruits.
2. Eating berries prevents inflammation and disease.
Due to their rich content of antioxidants, including anthocyanins, ellagic acid and resveratrol, berries will help your body control free radicals. Free radicals cause oxidative stress and inflammation in the body, which can then lead to a number of issues such as obesity, heart disease, diabetes and other illnesses. Berries are rich with polyphenols that have anti-inflammatory properties, so you can avoid the harmful effects of inflammation such as weight gain and chronic disease. Additionally, all berries are known to have a ton of vitamin C. and strawberries actually have the most with about 150 percent of your daily recommended value! Vitamin C is essential to immune health, so your body will be able to fight disease better and recover from illness quicker!
3. Berries benefit the health and appearance of skin.
No one likes the signs of aging skin, and a common cause of wrinkles is damage from oxidative stress. According to Ageing Research Reviews, free radicals often initiate oxidative stress and can cause damage to the skin and other cells in the body if left unmitigated. Berries are one of the richest sources of antioxidants and can, therefore, help reverse the effects of free radicals and prevent damage to the skin, keeping it firm, youthful and free of wrinkles! Berries all have a rich vitamin C content that will also help you achieve glowing, radiant skin, as well as prevent blemishes.
4. Berries are low in calories for weight control.
Even though berries taste sweet and can replace candy and other sources of unnatural sugar in your diet, most berries are very low in calories, according to Healthline. A one-cup serving of berries can have anywhere between as low as 49 calories (strawberries) and 84 calories (blueberries), making them a truly low-calorie fruit that’s sweet and easy to indulge in guilt-free!
5. Berries are high in fiber to support satiety and digestion.
With your weight loss goals in mind, remember berries are also a great source of soluble fiber. When you eat this type of fiber, your body actually slows down the digestion process, making you feel fuller for longer while improving your digestive health. Berries will satisfy your stomach and keep you from overeating, so you should definitely stock these small, sweet fruits on-hand as an easy, nutritional snack to support your healthy weight management.
6. Heart-healthy berries improve cholesterol levels.
High cholesterol and obesity are two leading causes of heart disease, but luckily, the potent mix of antioxidants and other rich nutrients found in berries can help combat both. According to The Journal of Nutrition, of all fruits, berries offer the greatest benefits to cardiovascular health due to their rare profile of polyphenols with antioxidant powers. In their study, men and women ate freeze-dried blueberries for eight weeks and experienced lower blood pressure and lower LDL cholesterol—the bad cholesterol responsible for heart disease. Eating blueberries and other berries for their rich concentration of antioxidants will help you maintain a heart-healthy lifestyle with healthy cholesterol levels.
7. Delicious berries are versatile and easy to eat!
The most amazing benefit of berries is that they are insanely easy and delicious to eat! Who doesn’t love a sweet, tart and fresh berry to add some excitement to your day? Mix and match different types with a range of meals or make them the main star as a healthy, filling snack! You can even experiment with fresh or frozen berries.
Berries add a nice sweet complement to savory meals such as grilled chicken, lean pork and steak, but they also make lovely toppings or dressings for salads. Sprinkle some fresh blackberries on a goat cheese arugula salad or why not throw some strawberries on a fresh bed of mixed greens and sesame seeds.
Most of us know how to enjoy the fresh tastes of these sweet fruits mixed in a nutritious smoothie with various greens and superfoods. Whether you love strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, cranberries or raspberries, enjoy them regularly and without shame for their superfood benefits to support your healthy lifestyle and diet!