Berries are not only delicious, but they are extremely good for you too.
They are low in calories, and packed with lots of fantastic vitamins and powerful antioxidants which help to improve your overall health and wellbeing.
Benefits of Blueberries
Blueberries are probably the most well known berries when it comes to being a ‘superfood’. They are very low in calories and are a convenient snack which can be eaten at any point during the day, or even added into a shake or smoothie.
✓ High in Nutrients
Blueberries are packed full of lots of different micronutrients that our bodies need in order to assist the normal functioning of the body. Whilst blueberries are actually very small in size, they are very nutritionally dense when it comes to their micronutrient profile.
Just one cup of blueberries (around 150g) contains 4 grams of fibre, a quarter of your recommended intake of vitamin C, over a third of your recommended intake of vitamin K. All of these have brilliant health benefits in themselves, which you can read more on.
✓ Low in Calories
Bluberries are around 85% water; a cup contains only 84 calories, which is excellent considering the volume you are getting.
In a cup, there are only 15 grams of carbohydrates, which makes them great if you’re on a low carb diet such as the Atkins diet. What’s more, they’re great for curbing cravings!
Blueberries are the king of antioxidants; they are simply unmatched when it comes to other foods. They assist in protecting our bodies from damage, by freeing radicals (unstable molecules which damage our cells and can lead to aging and even cancer). There are simply no other fruit or vegetables which can come close to the amount of antioxidants in blueberries. The main antioxidants which are found in blueberries are known as flavonoids and belong to a large family of polyphenols.
BONUS: Due to their antioxidant properties, there have been studies that show that blueberry supplementation may help reduce that damage that occurs as a result of strenuous exercise, reducing muscle soreness and thus increasing performance.
✓ Brain Function
There have been some animal studies which suggest that the antioxidants in blueberries can accumulate in areas of the brain which are responsible for intelligence. The interact with neurones, improving cell signalling. Human studies have also shown similar results, meaning there is a strong change that blueberries could improve brain function.
Benefits of Blackberries
Blackberries are another delicious berry, which boast many health benefits.
✓ High in Nutrients
Although not a nutritionally dense as blueberries, blackberries also contain high levels of vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidants, as well as essential dietary fibres.
✓ Low in Calories
Blackberries, like blueberries, are very low in calories. 100g of blackberries contains just 43 calories, which is actually less than in blueberries. In 500g, there is 5.3g of fibre, helping to promote healthy bowel movements. Xylitol is present in blackberries which is absorbed at a slower rate than glucose, and as a result, leads to steadier blood sugar levels.
✓ High in Vitamin C
Blackberries are particularly high in vitamin C, with just 100g containing over a third of your recommend daily allowance. Read more about vitamin C here.
✓ Rich in other Vitamins
Blackberries are also very high in other vitamins, such as vitamin A, vitamin E and vitamin K.
✓ High in Minerals
Blackberries themselves are very high in minerals, such as potassium, manganese, copper and magnesium. These all have various health benefits, and can help t promote your body to function effectively and efficiently.
Benefits of Blackcurrants
Blackcurrants are very high in anti-oxidants, one of the highest among all fruits.
✓ High in Vitamin C
As with blackberries and blueberries, blackcurrants are very high in vitamin C. 100g of blackcurrants contains a whopping 3 times you recommended daily intake of vitamin C! That’s right, 3 times!
✓ High in Iron
Blackcurrants are actually relatively high in iron, with 100g offering around 20% of your recommended daily intake. Iron is essential for our metabolism and red blood cell producing within our bone marrow.
✓ Help Joint Pain
Studies have suggested that blackcurrants may reduce joint pain, since they contain high levels of gamma-linolenic acid (GMA), a type of omega-6 fatty acid which helps to reduce inflammation in the body.
✓ Can Promote Heart Health
Blackcurrants are high in potassium, which has been shown to lower blood pressure. What’s more, studies have suggested that the GLA in blackcurrant can also lower blood pressure. The GLA also helps to protect your heart cells against damage and prevent platelets clumping in blood vessels, which could lead to strokes or a heart attack.
Acai berries are very popular at the minute among fitness enthusiasts, and acai can now be found as in ingredient in many diet and health related products.
Benefits of Acai Berries
✓ Weight Loss
There have been several studies which have suggested that acai berries can promote weight loss. One study suggested that the pulp from acai berries has the ability to reduce the negative effects of a high fat diet, although this study was carried out on flies.
✓ Promotes Healthy Skin
Acai can be used in order to make your skin healthier. As a result, acai is now used in many beauty products. Acai oil is a fantastic alternative to many beauty products which are filled with chemicals. The berries are also great for boosting the appearance of your skin when eaten.
✓ Immune System
Acai berries are very high in vitamin C, as well as ellagic acid, which is a fantastic combination when it comes to boosting your immune system. It has also been shown that the combination can suppress the growth of cancer cells. More research will reveal exactly how true this is and to what extent they have an effect on cancer.
✓ Helps To Aid Digestion
Acai can help to make sure you’re digestive system functions work efficiently. They are high in fibre, which itself helps to aid digestion.
✓ Boosts Energy
Acai is also great as an energy boost. It has been shown that taking acai extract may lead to an increase in overall levels of energy and stamina, and it could combat fatigue as well as muscle soreness. This makes them great for anyone looking for energy before a workout, or to recover after one.
Benefits of Cranberries
Cranberries are small, red, summer berries that are often eaten dried, frozen or drunk in juice form.
✓ Aids Your Heart
One study suggested that cranberries can increases levels of HDL (high density lipoproteins), also known as good cholesterol. This reduces the effects of LDL (low density lipoproteins), or bad cholesterol.
✓ Boosts Brain Power
Some studies have suggested that the antioxidants, and anti-inflammatory compounds which are found in cranberries, could protect the brain from age-related memory and coordination loss, and subsequent conditions which are affiliated with such symptoms.
✓ Improves Oral Health
Studies have suggested that proanthocyanidins in cranberries can prevent bacteria binding to teeth, which promotes healthy oral health. They could also be beneficial for preventing gum disease. It is important to note that whilst cranberries can promote oral health, drinking lots of cranberry juice may not b good for you due to the massively high levels of sugar it contains.
✓ Source of Vitamin C
Cranberries are a source of vitamin C, as well as lots of other healthy vitamins, such as vitamin E, vitamin A and vitamin B.
Take Home Message
Berries have a whole host of health benefits to offer, many of which are not widely known. Whilst blueberries do contain the highest amount of anti-oxidants, you should eat a wide variety of berries in order to get the full health benefits.
Berries aren’t just limited to the ones included in this article. There are plenty of other berries with awesome health benefits for you to implement into your diet.