The health benefits of berries outweigh the fact that they are fantastic little bursts of flavour. In fact, they’re packed with a healthful punch, thanks to the vitamins and trace elements found so abundantly in them. And that’s great news because they are versatile, delicious and easily accessible.
Here are some of our top health benefits of berries:
They’re high in antioxidants
Antioxidants help to keep free radicals under control, even at a cellular level. This, in turn, helps to fight cancer and keeps the skin looking and feeling younger. Berries are particularly good at protecting against mouth, liver, breast, oesophageal and colon cancers. Some of the antioxidants found in berries include resveratrol, anthocyanins and ellagic acid.
The best berries to eat for their antioxidant health benefits include raspberries, blueberries and blackberries.
Berries help to keep your mind young
Studies have found that berries slow down mental decline over the long term, thanks to compounds called anthocyanidins. Just a few servings of blueberries or strawberries every week can make a very positive impact on your mental health in the years to come.
Berries can improve blood sugar and insulin levels
Lower your blood sugar by including blueberries or mixed berries when indulging in foods that are high in carbohydrates. This works for everyone, even those who don’t have insulin response issues and diabetes.
Drink a blueberry smoothie or a puree of mixed berries for best results.
They add fibre to your diet and reduce your appetite
By adding soluble fibre to your diet, berries help to slow the movement of food through your stomach and intestines, and prevent you from getting hungry soon after eating. This makes controlling your intake of calories a lot easier. Fibre also reduces the number of calories that your body absorbs, to an extent.
Raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, and blueberries should be included in your diet for their fibre.
They’re low in calories
These are fantastic snacks for all of the nutrients that they add to your diet, but also because they’re low in calories. Add them to your mixed nuts and smoothies or have them on their own for a healthful snack.
They help to fight inflammation in the body
Long-term inflammation can be the result of stress, trauma, a lack of exercise and an unhealthy diet. Chronic inflammation is dangerous because it contributes to obesity, diabetes and heart disease; and it creates a favourable environment for cancer. Berries help to reduce inflammation in the body and to create an environment that is more receptive to healing and health.
Berries are packed with nutrients
Vitamins and minerals can readily be found in a variety of berries. In general, they are high in Vitamin C, which helps to boost the immune system, keeps skin and hair stronger, builds bones, and helps to retain a youthful glow because it boosts the production of collagen.
Berries also contain manganese, copper, folate, Vitamin K1, and more.
Berries help to decrease cholesterol
Adding berries like strawberries and black raspberries to your diet can actively work to decrease the levels of “bad cholesterol” in your system. It also prevents the oxidisation of this cholesterol, which is what blocks major arteries. This all helps to promote a healthy heart.
Berries are compatible with most eating programmes
Because they’re low in sugar and carbs, these flavoursome treats can be incorporated into most diets and eating programmes. These include low-carb, ketogenic, vegan, vegetarian, Mediterranean, and paleo diets. The only time berries should be minimised or avoided altogether is in the cases of fibre-intolerance or allergies.
They contribute to healthy arteries and hearts
Berries can help to improve the condition and efficiency of the endothelial cells that line your arteries. This, in turn, helps to maintain healthy blood pressure, prevents blood clots from forming, and generally contributes toward preventing heart disease.
To get the heart-healthy benefits of berries, opt for fresh berries. If absolutely necessary, baked berries also have some benefits for the heart, but freeze-dried don’t.
More benefits of berries:
There is so much in the way of the health benefits of berries. Here are some more of our favourites:
- These fruits could help to prevent Parkinson’s
- They contribute to weight loss
- They prevent the brain from succumbing to Alzheimer’s, to some extent
- They’re delicious and versatile
Berries in South Africa
Just Berry Plants provides healthy berry plants to keen gardeners all over South Africa. Visit our online store or contact us on 082 307 8241 today to start growing nature’s medicine chest.