After having played havoc with our bodies by ingesting processed foods, chemical based medicines and toxic substances, we feel the need to now cleanse our systems of all the harmful stuff. In the last few years there has been a large amount of research done on various kinds of superfoods. Among these superfoods, different kinds of berries come up often.
Berries are fleshy fruits that have edible seeds and are convenient to consume. The kind of berries that you will find in your area depend on the climate and have specific health benefits required for the region.
Why are Berries Healthy?
Berries have high levels of antioxidants like vitamin C, anthocyanins and quercetin. Anthocyanins are present in high quantities in blue, purple and red berries and is associated with good urinary tract health. This antioxidant helps in fighting free radicals that are known to cause cancer. Quercetin also helps in reducing the chances of cancer and is good for heart health. Vitamin C helps maintain healthy levels of immune system that help the body in fighting off pathogens internally.
Other ingredients in berries include gallic acid, ellagic acid, rutin and salicylic acid, all of which are known to reduce different kinds of cancers and elevate overall health. All berries contain fiber that is good for the gastrointestinal tract. They allow for better bowel movement and contain the level of acids produced in the gut.
Health Benefits of Berries
Berries have been known to help in maintaining health in different areas. They are great for good skin and reduce the speed at which the skin ages. Blueberries and other similar coloured berries are known to be great for weight loss and diet management since they are high on fiber and provide a feeling of satiety without packing in the calories.
Cancer prevention is one of the most significant health benefits of berries due to the high levels of antioxidants that they have. Berries also control and reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases and diabetes.
In addition to the above, berries are also known to help in maintaining mental health. They have been known to work wonders in delaying the onset of Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s. They are known to help in maintaining high levels of mental alertness and better cognitive health; something that all of us need in the competitive world that we live in.
All the Berries You Can Eat
While this list is not comprehensive, it does cover many berries that are available around the world. Get your hands on the ones available in the region and gorge away.
Cranberries – Native to North America, Europe and upper regions of Asia, cranberries have found their favor in the form of cranberry juice. Large amounts of antioxidants, phytochemicals, and vitamin C give this super berry the ability to help in internal inflammations.
Blueberries – Originally from North America, these berries are now being grown in other parts of the world too. They are known to reduce fat levels in the blood, reduce belly fat and add fiber to the system, making them one of the favorite berries for weight loss and weight management. They are also great for those who have elevated cholesterol levels since they increase the level of ‘good’ cholesterol, aka HDL.
Strawberries – A favorite along with cream especially with the Wimbledon crowd, strawberries are now available throughout the year. They come in different varieties and while some are tangy there are others that are extremely sweet and luscious. Along with a good gut health, strawberries are also known to help in maintaining proper levels of sugar in the blood. These are, therefore, great for someone who is at a higher risk of diabetes (without the cream though).
Blackberries – Blackberries have the highest amount of antioxidant among all berries. Not so easy to lay hands on, these are mostly available in the United States.
Acai berry – Made popular recently in diets and weight loss circles, acai berry contains extremely high levels of nutrients like calcium and folic acid. A great berry for pregnant women.
Raspberries – Great to put in oats and milk, raspberries are delicious to eat. They help in increasing the metabolic rate and therefore are favored by those who are weight conscious and visit the gym regularly.
Noni berries – A berry especially helpful for women, noni berries are great in managing menstrual cramps. They are also great for the urinary tract and intestinal health.
Among the other berries that you can find around the world are chokeberries, goji berries, maqui berries, marion berries, gooseberries, barberry, cloudberries, bearberries, juniper berries and more.
It is obvious that all berries have something great to offer in terms of preventive health. However, you may not be able to find all of these in your area. Check the ones that are seasonally available in your area and make sure to take advantage of this natural medication for your body whenever you can.