It's berry season!
They’re like candy, but filled with ALL the health benefits! Berries are an amazing staple to add into your diet. We all know they taste delicious, but did you have any idea of JUST how good they are for your health? Keep reading to see 5 amazing perks to eating berries every day.
5 reasons to eat more berries:
They're filled with antioxidants
Antioxidants are substances show to help fight free radicals in our bodies. Why is this important? Quick science lesson: Free radicals happen when our body is exposed to pollutants, toxins, chemicals, etc. resulting in breaking bonds between electrons. When electrons are unpaired in our bodies, they become unstable reactive and try to “steal” another electron from somewhere else to make sure it’s in a pair. The process continues like a ripple effect in our bodies which then leads to problems like inflammation, skin aging, and even cancer. Antioxidants fight this process from occurring in the first place! Berries are loaded with these magical substances — wild blueberries are the highest with 13,427 antioxidants in just one cup! (via WebMD). This means eating berries helps our bodies combat the process of health decline.
They're loaded with fiber
Many nutritionists say that you should worry about your fiber intake as much as you worry about your protein. It is estimated that nearly 97% of the population is deficient in fiber, the nutrient responsible for keeping your digestive system healthy by flushing out toxins and easing your bowel movements. Fiber also helps you feel more full! One cup of strawberries has 3 grams of fiber, a cup of blueberries contains 3.6 grams of fiber, and one cup of raspberries has an incredible 8 grams of fiber. If you are someone who struggles with digestive issues or is frequently constipated… berries are the food for you!
They're some of the most nutrient-dense foods
Berries are considered the “most versatile sources of phytonutrients” (via Hopkins Medicine). They contain high amounts of nutrients like vitamin C, folate, manganese, vitamin K, catechins, gallic acid, flavanoids, and more! We know eating nutrient-dense foods is best for our bodies, so a handful of berries is an easy (and delicious!) way to ensure you’re giving your body systems what's needed to perform at an optimal level.
They may reduce belly fat
Recent research shows that blueberries aid in the reduction of belly fat in our bodies. Not only are they naturally low in calories, they also may influence the genes that help regulate fat-burning and storage and improve blood sugar levels (via Driscolls). For someone looking to lose weight, blueberries are a perfect snack to help with it!
They improve brain function
Berries are connected with reduced mental decline and the prevention of Alzheimers. One specific study showed that “in 16,010 women over the age of 70, those with the highest berry intake postponed cognitive decline by about two and a half years” (via EverydayHealth). Certain flavonoids found in berries appear to cross the blood brain barrier and help with memory centers in the brain! The antioxidant levels (discussed above) combat toxin buildup in the brain, which helps with the symptoms/causes of dementia and Alzheimers.
How much should we eat?
Clearly these fruits are quite the powerhouse for our bodies! Just one cup a day seems to be the magic amount to create incredible disease-fighting benefits.
A few things to look out for when choosing your berries:
First, because of their sweetness they tend to attract more bugs and pests during their growth process. Because of this, berries are sprayed with toxic pesticides. When choosing your berries, it’s important to ensure you are choosing organic every time! Consuming the chemicals from pesticides reduces the positive benefits of the antioxidants. Second, berries are best (and most nutrient-dense!) when eaten in-season… meaning fall and wintertime berries may not have the same amount of nutritious benefits. However: keep in mind studies are showing that frozen berries seem to preserve the amount of nutrients that are found when picking, so that is always a good option and alternative when you can't get them fresh.
Berries are definitely one of my most favorite foods, and I hope now you can see why! Not only do they have amazing flavor, but they aid our bodies well on our journey to ultimate wellness. Eat them on their own, in a smoothie, or on a salad… there are endless possibilities to make sure you give your body the antioxidants and fiber it needs, and more!