Health Benefits of Berries

Health Benefits of Berries

Our diets should contain plentiful fruits and vegetables and berries are a healthful way to add nutritious color to meals and snacks. Berries are some of the most healthful fruits, packing a punch of antioxidants, vitamin C, and fiber. A serving of berries is 1 cup and adults should consume 2-4 servings of fruit per day, depending on individual age, gender, and physical activity.

Antioxidants are found naturally in fruits and vegetables and help prevent damage to our cells—they are lauded for their anti-cancer and anti-aging properties.

In addition to being an antioxidant, vitamin C is important for the function of our immune system as well as bone, tissue, and collagen growth and repair. It also helps wounds heal. Vitamin C is imperative to the absorption of non-heme iron, the kind of iron found in plant foods.

Fiber is necessary for proper gut function—it helps move things along in the digestive tract and acts like a scrub brush for the intestines. Adults should consume at least 25-30 g of fiber every day; however, those who consume little fiber should increase slowly and be sure to drink ample fluid. Adequate fiber intake is linked with decreased risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease.

Here are some nutritional facts on a few popular berries:

Blueberries are known for their high antioxidant content. In a study of antioxidant capacity of berries, blueberries were ranked the highest. Blueberries are at their peak in June and July (varies by geographic location), and there are many pick-your-own blueberry farms across the U.S.! Blueberries are very versatile and can be eaten raw or used in pies, scones, pancakes, and even salads. Use fresh berries as a topping for cereal, oatmeal, or yogurt.

Serving Size: 1 cup
Calories: 84
Fiber: 3.6 g
Vitamin C: 14 mg

Strawberries peak earlier in the season and are deliciously sweet and juicy picked right off the vine. One cup of strawberries contains an entire day’s worth of vitamin C! Try adding sliced strawberries to a spinach salad with balsamic vinegar and slivered almonds. Strawberries are great smoothie staples and are wonderful dessert and breakfast toppers. Craving chocolate? Try dipping strawberries into melted dark chocolate for a sweet and nutritious treat!

Serving Size: 1 cup
Calories: 46
Fiber: 2.9 g
Vitamin C: 85 mg

Blackberries are plump berries with a deep, rich hue. With a flavor reminiscent of wine, blackberries have a sweet and earthy taste. Blackberries get their dark color from the flavonoid anthocyanin. This compound has been associated with protection against heart disease, cancer, and cognitive decline. To maintain a sharp memory, be sure to eat darkly colored fruits and vegetables like blackberries! Blackberries make for excellent jam and pair well with anything lemon, like these scrumptious waffles.

Serving Size: 1 cup
Calories: 62
Fiber: 7.6 g
Vitamin C: 30 mg

Raspberries are intensely flavored, delicate berries with short shelf lives—so be sure to eat them soon after picking or purchasing. Raspberries come in a rainbow of hues from red to golden to black. One of the most popular dessert berries, raspberries pair well with chocolate and anything creamy. Raspberries also make for delicious beverage garnishes and freeze well to use later in smoothies or DIY ice cream. Raspberries have one of the best fiber to calorie ratios of any food on the planet—so much nutrition bang for your calorie buck!

Serving Size: 1 cup
Calories: 64
Fiber: 8.0 g
Vitamin C: 32 mg

Disclaimer: The information presented here is not to be construed as medical advice or used to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any condition or disease.

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