Megan Johnson McCullough — These colorful small bits of fruit pack a big source of flavor and nutrition for us. Berries are tiny powerhouses. There are so many different reasons to eat berries. The number one reason, which you have probably heard before, is that berries are filled with antioxidants. We need and want antioxidants because they are protectors from disease. They include vitamins A, C, and E. Secondly, the beautiful color of berries come from flavonoids. We need and want flavonoids because they help ward off inflammation, cancer, and even heart disease. Finally, berries contain resveratrol, which also fight cancer, prevent inflammation, and prevent clogged arteries. Grapes are packed with resveratrol, so wine drinkers like to use this claim to warrant their drinking.
There are other reasons berries should be on your to-do list. Berries help make new neurons, in a process called neurogenesis. They also clear out the garbage in our brains. They help get rid of toxic proteins. Having too much of these proteins has been linked to Alzheimer’s disease. Research is seriously looking at the connection between berries and suppressing Alzheimer’s disease. Berries might even help with weight loss. These colorful fruits seems to be linked with a reduction in weight. Strawberries have been shown to lower cholesterol and help fight off heart disease and diabetes. Cranberries help type 2 diabetics stabilize their blood sugar levels. Compared to other types of fruits, berries do have more nutritional value because they are higher in fiber, complex carbohydrates and flavonoids. The different colors of the different berries mean they have different health benefits so it’s recommended to eat a variety. For example, blueberries contain anthocyanins which help with memory. Raspberries contain ellagic acid, which has anti-cancer properties. Goji berries have been linked to stress reduction, better athletic performance, better sleep, and weight loss. Acai berries might slow the aging process because of their high antioxidant content. Bilberries help with diabetes and improved vision. Strawberries contain high amounts of phenols which protect us from disease. Blackberries are very high in vitamins C and E. Cherries contain quercetin and ellagic acid which promote cell and tissue health.
Did you know that berries are very easy to grow? Add some color to your garden and to your diet. A few berries with breakfast, as a nice snack, as a topper for some of your dairy products or cereals, in a smoothie, or used in a recipe, are all great ways to incorporate this fruit into your daily routine. Don’t fall victim to eating too many, because of course they do contain sugar. Stick to a small handful or ½ cup. These tiny power houses get the job done with just a small dose.
Every BODY’s Fit www.everybodysfitoceanside.com (760)201-6784 @megan_everybodysfit