Health Benefits of Berries

Health Benefits of Berries

When it comes to fruit, berries may just pack the largest nutritional punch. Not only do they come in a wide variety of delicious flavors, but they also have a enormous assortment of health benefits. So the question is, just how many different berries are you including in your routine regularly? The health benefits of berries cannot be understated.

Strawberries

Quite often, people associate oranges with vitamin C. While oranges are a wonderful source of this vitamin, did you know that strawberries contain a higher amount per weight? Vitamin C is critical to many of our body’s functions, including producing serotonin. This neurotransmitter plays an important role in the health of our nervous system, digestive system, and immune system.

Vitamin C is an antioxidant and helps to block some of the damage that is caused by free radicals in the body. The buildup of these substances over time contributes to accelerated aging and conditions such as heart disease and cancer. It is one of the water soluble vitamins, which means the body does not keep it stored. Without a large amount in storage, it is important to continually supply the body with this important vitamin.

Blueberries

Behind strawberries, blueberries are the second most popular berry in the United States. In terms of their nutritional benefits, they are certainly close to the top. These tasty berries are high in vitamin K, which is best known for its important role in blood clotting.

In addition to blood clotting, this important vitamin is also vital for bone health. In fact, individuals that are vitamin K deficient have been shown to have a higher risk of bone fracture. People that have higher levels of vitamin K in their bodies have greater bone density, and some studies have shown that osteoarthritis is associated with low vitamin K levels in the body.

Blueberries are easy to enjoy in a variety of ways. They are a perfect topping for yogurt and kefir or are the perfect addition to any smoothie. Throw some on top of a salad with balsamic vinegar and you have a real treat!

Raspberries

Raspberries are delicious and packed with a large amount of healthful compounds called phytonutrients. These naturally occurring chemicals are found in plants and perform a variety of functions including protecting them from harmful UV radiation and insect attack. In short, the same compounds that help to keep plants alive help to keep you alive and healthy as well!

Some of the phytonutrients and antioxidants in raspberries may have anti-cancer benefits. In animal research, the compounds found in these berries have been shown to have a positive impact on cervical, breast, and prostate cancers. In an almost science fiction-like finding, it is thought that raspberry nutrients may decrease cancer cell numbers by sending signals that tell these types of cells to begin the process of apoptosis, or programmed death. This is exciting news in the fight against cancer.

What Are You Waiting For?

The truth is, you should be eating more berries than you probably are. The health benefits seem almost endless, and with almost no down side, they should be a staple of your food plan. When it comes to these powerful foods, there is quite a wide variety of taste and texture to choose from. Try as many different kinds as you can and find a favorite. Your body and mind will thank you for adding the health benefits of berries.

Health Benefits of Berries

About the author: David A. Wiss
David A. Wiss, MS, RDN, CPT, grew up in Los Angeles, graduating from the University of Southern California with a Bachelor's Degree in Social Science. He earned a Master's Degree in Nutrition and Dietetics at California State University, Northridge, and completed training to become a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN). Additionally, David is a Certified Personal Trainer through the National Academy of Sports Medicine.