A balanced diet is one of the first steps to take for a healthier and better life. Eating right and drinking enough water may seem easy, but let’s face it, in our constant hurry we don’t make the healthiest choices every time, on the contrary.
Fruits are always a good idea, whether you eat them for breakfast or as a healthy snack during the day. And among fruits, berries have a special place, not only because of their amazing taste, but also because they are very rich in antioxidants and vitamins.
While berries are an incredibly varied family of plants and not all of them are edible, it’s always good to know what kind of health benefits you can reap out of the popular berries – the ones you probably already know and love. Maybe if you discover the incredible nutrition these small fruits have to offer, it will make you enjoy them even more.
Their dark color is a sign they are full of antioxidants, but they are also rich in vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin K, folic acid. These components help reduce the risk of heart conditions and improve your oral health by preventing the periodontal infections.
Researches showed that blackberries have a positive impact on aged-related conditions, like dementia, or a decline in motor and cognitive skills.
Another great benefit to keep in mind is they contain more than 85 percent water and a great deal of fiber so blackberries are perfect if you want to maintain your figure, lose weight and lower your cholesterol.
In season: From May to September, but peak in June and July.
They’re also packed with antioxidants, in fact, a bunch of studies placed them on top, among other fruits and vegetables, based on their antioxidant capacities. When it comes to consumption in US, blueberries are on second place, after strawberries.
Due to their high level of antioxidants, these tiny fruits have a great impact against the free radicals that can damage the DNA, causing cancer and premature aging. They help reduce high blood pressure and may prevent heart disease.
But wait, there’s more: blueberries improve brain functions and stimulate short-term memory on older adults. Not only they are great allies in losing weight, but new studies show blueberries may be one of the foods which can help you prevent the accumulation of belly-fat.
In season: From mid-June to mid-August.
Not only tasty, but very healthy and pretty easy to find. Besides the antioxidants that are present in all berries, strawberries are an important source of potassium, fiber, many B vitamins, vitamin C, vitamin K, manganese, iodine, folate, omega-3 fatty acids, magnesium and copper.
Because they contain 85 milligrams of vitamin C per serving, strawberries are a huge immunity booster and a great help for eye health.
Vitamin C is also important in the production of collagen, that’s why eating this type of berries is beneficial for our skin, to keep it younger-looking. Strawberries regulate blood pressure, boost fiber intake and are a great addition to any healthy diet based on whole, natural foods.
In season: from mid-June to early July.
They’re an amazing source of dietary fiber, vitamin C, manganese and antioxidants, but they are low in calories and fats. The antioxidants they contain have a great impact on cancer, aging and neuro-degenerative diseases.
They boost the immune system, and just like their cousins we discussed earlier, raspberries have anti wrinkles properties. And I’m sure you didn’t know the fact that these delicious fruits are very beneficial for feminine health.
They stimulate the production of milk for lactating mothers and relieve nausea and prevent hemorrhage for pregnant women (raspberry tea). Raspberry leaves tea can regulate menstrual cycles and decrease heavy menstrual flow.
In season: from late June to early July.
When I think of these red little fruits I already see Thanksgiving and holidays approaching.
However, there is more to them than their appreciated taste. Cranberry juice is well-known and successfully used to treat urinary tract infections because of its anti-adhesive properties, meaning it inhibits bacteria from attaching to the bladder and urethra.
Of course cranberries too, just like every other berry we discussed so far, are full of antioxidants, with great health impact. But they are also an important source of fiber, vitamin C, vitamin E and vitamin A.
There’s one great benefit of cranberries which I’m sure not many of you know about: they improve oral health, by inhibiting harmful acid production and preventing bacteria from doing harm to your mouth and teeth.
They look like bright red raisins, because they are especially used in dried form. For many of us these fruits are exotic and new, but they have been successfully used for thousands of years in Tibet and China, as a culinary ingredient and for medical uses.
Ancient Chinese believed goji berries improve eyesight, boost immune functions, promote longevity and help with liver problems. Recent studies confirmed the benefits of these fruits and even found new ones, like cancer-fighting properties and protection from UV radiation.
Just like the berries we discussed so far, goji berries can be part of a healthy diet and of course you can keep them close for when you want a nutritious snack.
If you are not familiar with these fruits, you will definitely start looking for them, after you find out how they can improve your health. Acai berries are rich in antioxidants, fiber and healthy fats.
Actually they are thought to contain more antioxidants than strawberry, blueberry or raspberry. Due to their high levels of antioxidants, they may help prevent heart diseases and lower cholesterol and also slow or reverse typical processes of aging related to oxidative damage. Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are other important components of these berries, components that help prevent high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
The may not be very easy to find in whole form, but Acai powder is largely available and can be easily mixed into yogurt, smoothies and shakes.
What’s your favorite berry? Are you adding other berries to your diet than the ones I mentioned in this post? I’m always excited to hear your personal opinion and learn about the experiences of other people so don’t hesitate to share your thoughts in the comments section below!