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5 Reasons to Eat Berries!

Jun 04, 2014

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Do you love berries? Or maybe you aren’t quite sold on them yet? Berries provide a variety of health benefits that make them a worthy addition to any diet. You can add berries to practically any meal; blueberries on oatmeal, strawberries on granola, cranberries in salad, or blackberries in smoothies. Wherever you decide to get your daily dose of berries, try to shoot for ½-1 cup per day. Here are five great reasons to eat berries every day!

1)   Low-glycemic: Do you or someone you know suffer from diabetes, hypoglycemia, and/or insulin resistance? When we have these conditions most fruit can cause our blood sugar to rise and fall dramatically. Luckily, many berries fall into this low-glycemic category, which means that it will have a smaller effect on your blood sugar than something high-glycemic (white bread, sugar, candy, etc.). Some of the best berries for those concerned with blood sugar regulation are blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, huckleberries, bilberries, and strawberries.

2)   Rich in antioxidants: As mortal beings we are constantly aging, or oxidizing, as we get older. Sometimes our environment expedites this process with free radicals putting extra strain on our body’s defenses. Antioxidants help to level the playing field by neutralizing free radicals before they can do too much damage. This is why a diet rich in antioxidants is so important. Some of the most common antioxidants are vitamins A, C, E, and minerals zinc and selenium. An easy way to remember this is to think “ACEZS” said like “aces”. Most berries are particularly high in vitamin C, one of the most well-known antioxidants out there. To give you an idea, 1 cup of strawberries has 149% of your daily value and 1 cup of blackberries has 50% of your daily value. Because of their deep rich colors berries also house compounds called phytonutrients, which many double as antioxidants as well. When in doubt, the more colorful and fresh the food is the better it is for you!

3)   Fiber: Berries are naturally high in fiber. The recommended minimum amount of fiber is about 30g per day. One half cup of blueberries has almost 2g of fiber, blackberries have almost 4g per half cup, and raspberries come in at the highest with 4g of fiber per half cup. Fiber is an absolutely necessary part of a healthy diet. Fiber helps to keep our digestive system toned and have regular bowel movements, which is especially important for detoxification.

4)   Cancer prevention: Because of berries nutritional complexity, they have also been shown to reduce cancer risk. According to an article on Joybauer.com, blueberries, cranberries and raspberries seem to be the most promising. Blueberries contain a special antioxidant with cancer-fighting properties called pterostilbene. Raspberries have been shown to fight cancer with their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory phytonutrients.

5)   Anti-inflammatory: In today’s society it is safe to say that everyone has dealt with inflammation at one time or another, whether it is allergies, achy joints or some minor swelling/bloating. Sometimes levels of inflammation are so low we don’t realize we have inflammation, but we know we don’t feel our best. Because berries are so rich in a variety of antioxidants they also fight inflammation. Blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, and cranberries are the best options to help reduce inflammation. Other ways to reduce inflammation are to avoid inflammatory foods like sugar, refined grains, and processed or conventionally grown foods.

When you do go out and purchase a basket of ripe, Summer berries, it’s best to buy fresh and organic. Berries are on the Dirty Dozen list of worst pesticide sprayed foods, so please look out for your health!

 

Heather DiMambro, Certified Nutrition Consultant

www.dimambronutrition.com   Connect on Facebook

Heather DiMambro provides nutritional guidance to individuals looking to improve their health with the power of nutrition. If you are interested in one on one counseling with Heather you can make an appointment for your free 20-minute intro phone call by clicking here.

photo: Amber Kercmar



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