The season bursts with sweet, delicious berries – strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, blackcurrants and more.
But did you know that berries are not only beautiful, flavourful and sweet? They are also very nutritious and have a long list of health benefits. Therefore it is quite a good idea to include berries in your daily diet.
Berries help you live healthy
Because berries primarily consist of water, they are low in calories. This means you can eat a handful of berries without consuming many calories, which of course is a good idea if you are trying to lose some weight.
The little round fruits are packed with vitamins and minerals, especially vitamins B, C and E, but also minerals like manganese, copper and folate.
Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is important for your immune system. It helps prevent the disease scurvy, and it may help reduce the risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease and dementia.
Berries are high in fibre
Berries are a good source of dietary fibre. This means they help you feel full, so you eat less. Lowering your energy intake helps you maintain a healthy weight.
Moreover, dietary fibre helps your digestion and reduces the risk of lifestyle diseases like type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. The recommended daily intake of dietary fibre varies from country to country, but a normal, healthy adult should go for minimum 25 grams per day for women and minimum 35 grams per day for men.
- Blackberries contain 8 g of fibre per 100 g.
- Raspberries contain 8 g of fibre per 100 g.
- Blueberries contain 4 g of fibre per 100 g.
- Strawberries contain 3 g of fibre per 100 g.
Berries are packed with antioxidants
Free radicals are unstable molecules that occur as a byproduct of metabolism. They are perfectly normal in your body where they help fight bacteria and viruses. But too many of them can damage your cells – and this is where the antioxidants come into play, because they help keep the free radicals under control.
Berries are packed with antioxidants, so by eating a ration of berries every day, you do your body a big favour.
Berries are anti-inflammatory
You may have heard about eating ‘anti-inflammatory’ produce?
Inflammation is our body’s way of fighting infection or injury. But some people experience excessive or sustained inflammation due to increased stress, lack of physical activity, unhealthy diet, or other reasons. And it is believed that this kind of chronic inflammation can lead to various health problems and increase the risk of diabetes, heart disease, obesity and so on.
If you want to reduce inflammation, you should eat fewer inflammatory foods and more anti-inflammatory foods. Base your diet on whole-foods that contain antioxidants and avoid processed foods such as chips and junk food.
Good examples of anti-inflammatory foods include fatty fish like salmon and mackerel, berries like blueberries and strawberries, ginger, avocado, broccoli and dark chocolate.
Multiple ways to use berries
There are hundreds, maybe thousands of ways to include berries in your daily diet. Use them as a sweet snack in the afternoon or mix them in your salad for flavour and colour. Or why not try mixing them in your smoothie, or sprinkling them over your breakfast cereal or yoghurt? You can also use them for various desserts and cakes, where they add flavour, colour and sweetness.
Eat them fresh or buy them frozen?
Fresh berries are high on taste, colour and nutrients. But prolonged storage or cooking can reduce this quite a bit. That’s why it’s a very good idea to eat your fresh fruit straight away, or buy it frozen instead.
By using frozen berries you reduce the loss of especially vitamin C that otherwise takes place over a short period of time when storing fresh fruit and berries.
Did you know
that blackcurrants contain 181 mg vitamin C per 100 g? In comparison, oranges contain only 61.2 mg vitamin C per 100 g.
that berries may help prevent or reduce wrinkles? Because of the high amount of antioxidants in berries, they help fight free radicals that are known to cause skin damage.
that raspberries contain 8 g of dietary fibre per 100 g? In comparison, carrots contain 2.3 g per 100 g while tomatoes contain only 1.4 g per 100 g.
that a legend says if you find a double strawberry and break it in half and share it with someone, you will soon fall in love with each other?
that strawberries are actually not berries? They are commonly referred to as berries, but, from a botanical point of view, they are an aggregate accessory fruit.