A Few Berries A Day Keeps The Doctor Away
Berries deliver a bevy of benefits including better cognitive health, preventing cancer and lowering blood pressure
Along with being small delicious bursts of sweetness, berries are also considered as one of the richest source of antioxidant which is required by your body. It can be added to any meal of the day as a dessert, in a certain quantity which is required individually. According to the researches on these pops of nutrition, berries deliver a bevy of benefits, including bettering cognitive health, helping prevent cancer, and lowering blood pressure.
These vibrant, brightly colored berries provide some of the highest levels of nutrients, as antioxidants. These antioxidants hold good anti-inflammatory properties, which helps protect your body from disease as you age specially to maintaining your bone health. Thus it is considered a healthy part of an anti-inflammatory lifestyle for both prevention and treatment of chronic diseases like, arthritis, osteoporosis, neurological or central nervous system disease etc.
Each berry has its own nutritional benefits and values besides being a source of anti-oxidant, these are briefed below-
- Goji berries- This contains high levels of vitamin A and zeaxanthin, both of which are important for eye health.
- Raspberries- Contains antioxidant polyphenols called ellagitannins, which can help reduce oxidative stress, it is also a very good source of fiber.
- Blueberries- These berries serve as a great source of vitamin K. Anthocyanins from blueberries may reduce oxidative stress, thus lowering the risk of heart diseases.
- Strawberries –It is one of the most commonly consumed berries in the world and also one of the best sources of vitamin C.
- Cranberries- Best-known for their ability to reduce the risk of urinary tract infections (UTIs), cranberries content a high amount of polyphenols in its skin, thus is recommended to consume the fruit as a whole instead of extracting its juice.
- Grapes - The skin and seeds are an excellent source of antioxidant polyphenols. A number of studies have shown that grape seed polyphenol extracts can lower both blood pressure and heart rate.
- Blackberries - Contains a high level of vitamin C for better immune system.
- Overall benefits of berries
- For better mental health- These compounds, found almost exclusively in berries, are known to cross the blood-brain barrier and locate themselves in learning and memory centers in the brain, thus maintaining the mental health.
- Diabetes management- They come with a fibrous property, so people with diabetes can include that in their diet as a serving of fruit. But one need to keep the check on quantity being consumed.
- Reducing inflammation and heart disease -The antioxidants in berries “promote healthy cell function and protect against inflammation. Consuming berries helped decrease LDL (bad) cholesterol levels and reduced systolic blood pressure
- Helps in losing weight - Because of their fiber and liquid content, berries give us a sense of fullness. Berries in nutrition-rich recipes such as fresh fruit sauces and salad dressings can be paired with almonds for a quick snack or even be eaten as they are. Also you can curb your sweet craving without any guilt of gaining extra calories, as they belong to the low calorie group.
- Lowering blood pressure - Anthocyanin in blueberries helps to improve blood circulation which in turn aids in better functioning of the blood vessels. The chemical compounds fight the systemic inflammation that accompany high blood pressure, helping to make your body healthier overall
- Fighting cancer- Flavonoid-packed berries, such as blueberries and raspberries, are an important part of a cancer-prevention diet. Berries have been shown to help protect the body against gastrointestinal, breast, and possibly even liver, prostate, pancreatic, and lung cancers
- Great source of prebiotic - Berries are not probiotics, but they are prebiotic-rich foods. These are fiber-rich foods that provide fuel to the probiotics in the stomach.
(The author is a lifestyle coach and diet counselor. She tweets @Bipasha1sugati)