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Berry - A Nutritional Powerhouse

Berries are good for health - they're low in calories, high in fiber and they contain vitamins and minerals your body needs to function normally. One cup of strawberries contains over 100 mg of vitamin C, almost as much as a cup of orange juice.

You can choose different berries with similar nutrition, such as loganberries, currants, gooseberries, lingo berries and bilberries. Eating a diet rich in blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, cranberries and strawberries may help to reduce your risk of several types of cancers. Blueberries and raspberries also contain lutein, which is important for healthy vision.

To get the optimal health benefits of berries, eat two to three types of fresh, frozen or dehydrated berries each day. Incorporate the benefits of berries into your daily diet with the following suggestions.

Types of Berries:

  • Strawberries contain more vitamin C in a one-cup serving than one orange, and are particularly high in folic acid.
    How to serve:Top with Cool Whip Lite for a low-calorie dessert or dip in melted low-fat brie cheese.

  • Blueberries contain 20 types of anthocyanin-antioxidants that give berries their blue-violet and red colors. Other berries contain only three to four.
    How to serve:Toss a handful on cereals and yogurt, blend into smoothies or put on a bagel with cream cheese.

  • Blackberries, Raspberries, Boysenberries each contains 8 g of fiber in one cup, one-third the daily recommended amount (25 g).
    How to serve:Blend them with 100-percent fruit juice and heat to make a sauce for lean meats, like fish and chicken.

  • Cranberries not only combat urinary tract infections by preventing Escherichia coli bacteria from sticking to cells in the urinary tract, but they also are a natural probiotic, supporting healthy bacteria that grow in the gastrointestinal tract and aiding in digestion.
    How to serve: Add a cup of fresh or frozen cranberries to bread recipes. Toss dried cranberries in salads or trail mixes.

The pigments that give berries their beautiful blue and red hues are also good for your health. Berries contain phytochemicals and flavonoids that may help to prevent some forms of cancer. Cranberries and blueberries contain a substance that may prevent bladder infections.

We need vitamin C for immune system function and for strong connective tissue. Strawberries also add a bit ofcalcium, magnesium, folate and potassium and only 53 calories. One cup of blueberries offers a smaller amount of vitamin C, minerals and phytochemicals for only 83 calories. The same amount of cranberries is similar, but with only 44 calories, 1 cup of raspberries offers vitamin C and potassium for 64 calories.

Berries are often described as "super foods", but then, so are many other foods such as soy, garlic, and various vegetables. Are berries really such a nutritional powerhouse, or are they just one more fruit option? And is one kind of berry really better than the rest? Research does show that they are among the fruits highest in antioxidant content and that they are excellent sources of several phytochemicals that seem to help block cancer development. However, other fruits and vegetables provide different nutrients and phytochemicals with unique health benefits. Edible berries have health benefits in terms of cardiovascular disorders, advancing age-induced oxidative stress, inflammatory responses, and diverse degenerative diseases. Berry anthocyanins also improve neuronal and cognitive brain functions and visual health.

The best advice, then, is to eat berries often for their great taste and health boost, but stay focused on the main goal of eating a wide variety of produce every day.

Berries have several anthocyanins

The phenolics in strawberries include cyanidin-3-glucoside, pelargonidin, pelargonidin-3-glucoside, pelargonidin-3-rutinoside, kaempferol, quercetin, kaempferol-3-(6'-coumaroyl)glucoside, 3,4,5-trihydroxyphenyl-acrylic acid, glucose ester of ( E)- p-coumaric acid, and ellagic acid.

blueberries, blackberries, strawberries and raspberries are all rich and excellent sources of antioxidants. Antioxidants are found in foods such as strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries, and they help to protect our cells from harm caused by free-radicals, or molecules responsible for aging and certain diseases. When our body uses oxygen, we naturally produce free-radicals, which can damage our cells. Antioxidants can help prevent or slow this damage.

Research also shows that individuals who eat strawberries on a regular basis have higher blood levels of folate, vitamin C, phytonutrients and a higher intake of fiber than those who don't eat strawberries. So, it appears that by including strawberries in your diet, they might just help you achieve and maintain a lowered risk for developing certain diseases.

Berry fruits contain high levels of antioxidants, compounds that protect cells from damage by harmful free radicals. The two also report that berry fruits change the way neurons in the brain communicate. These changes in signaling can prevent inflammation in the brain that contribute to neuronal damage and improve both motor control and cognition.

Benefits of Berries :

  • Blackberries are said to strengthen blood vessels, help fight heart disease and help improve eyesight.
  • The high fiber content of blackberries help reduce risk of intestinal disease and the risk of developing diabetes.
  • Ohio State University found that blackberries may protect against esophageal cancer, a cancer caused by gastric reflux disease.
  • Blackberries are packed with polyphenols helping to prevent cancer and heart disease.
  • Blackberries are one of the top ten foods containing antioxidants.
  • Blackberries have shown to protect against other types of cancers. They contain phytoestrogens (plant estrogens), a compound believed to play a vital role in preventing breast and cervical cancer.
  • Blackberries are a healthy food choice that kids and adults love. They are a great way to refuel after a hard workout and help aid in fighting obesity.
  • The high tannin content of blackberries help tighten tissue, relieve intestinal inflammation, and help reduce hemorrhoids and stomach disorders.
  • Blackberries are filled with anthocyanins (antioxidants which give blackberries their deep purple color) which help in memory retention and the risk of hypertension.
  • So, eat berries and stay healthy.

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