Berries and their benefits

Berries belong to the fruit family and are often small, pulpy, juicy and may be sweet, sour or tart. Berries should be included in our diet as they have many health benefits. Commonly known berries are strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, etc.

1. Source of antioxidants

The human body generates free radicals which are unstable molecules and can cause oxidative stress to the body. To counteract the effect, our body needs to be supplied with antioxidants. Berries are a source of antioxidants. They contain anthocyanins, ellagic acid and resveratrol which aid in cell repair. Berries have a high antioxidant level when compared to other fruits and is followed by pomegranate. It helps reduce inflammation in the body and promotes regeneration.

2. Source of fiber

Berries are a source of soluble fibre which aids in slowing down the movement of food through the digestive tract thus reducing hunger and increasing satiety. The high fibre content in berries implies that the net carbohydrate is low, thus helping control the caloric and carb intake per day and in turn may help in controlling one’s weight.

3. Rich source of vitamins & minerals.

In addition to being rich in antioxidants, berries are also a very good source of vitamin C, especially strawberries. It also provides manganese, vitamin K1, copper and folate to the body.

4. Improves heart health

Studies have shown that raspberries and strawberries help lower LDL cholesterol levels and prevent oxidation, thus improving heart health. In addition to lowering cholesterol, they also improve the arterial functioning. Endothelial cells line the walls of cells and are involved in controlling blood pressure, prevent clotting of blood in the cell, etc. When there is excessive inflammation to these cells, the efficiency reduces and results in increased risk for any heart disease. Including berries in the daily diet have shown to improve the endothelial function thus lowering the risk of any heart disease.

5. Protection against cancer

The compounds present in berries such as anthocyanins, ellagic acid and resveratrol has shown to reduce the markers that are associated with tumor growth. It regulates the normal functioning of a cell and its timely death (apoptosis) thus reducing any occurrences of carcinogenic cells.

6. Treatment for UTI

Cranberry is a widely used berry for the treatment of urinary tract infection in women. It also helps to reduce yeast infection. However, it is necessary to check the nutritive label if it is consumed in a juice form as majority of the processed juiced contain abundant sugar which can in turn worsen the condition.

7. Benefits the skin

Ellagic acid present in berries help reduce the oxidative stress and repairs the collagen present in skin. This ensures that the skin remains firm and reduces wrinkles. It also repairs any damage faced due to exposure to sunlight.

A variety of berries such as strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, acai berries, cranberries can be included in our diets. It can be incorporated in vegan, Mediterranean, Paleo, low carb as well as the ketogenic diet but in limited quantities.

An excellent snacking option which is lower in calories when compared to other processed foods. It is a natural sweetener and can be added to oatmeal, smoothie, yogurt, parfait, salad, etc. to satisfy your sweet cravings. Thus, this beautiful, delicious, sweet fruit is definitely a unique superfood.

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