When it comes to good news and health benefits, berries just about have it all. Many berries come with antioxidants known as anthocyanins, which help keep the brain sharp as you get older, while others have ellagic acid, a property known for combating cancer. All berries have an excellent amount of fiber in them, which is helpful for regulating the digestive system. Of course, if you still need more reasons to give berries a chance, consider these five crucial health benefits of common berries you'll find at any grocery store. Not only are berries good for your heart and mind, but they're good for your skin and bones and everything else in between.
Full Of Antioxidants
Antioxidants are quite the hot topic these days and for a good reason. We have learned how much they help fight against the toxins in our bodies. As we already mentioned, berries have antioxidants, which are important for fighting against excessive free radicals, which refer to molecules that occur naturally as part of an individual's metabolism. However, they're unstable and make fighting against bacteria and viruses more difficult. In excessive amounts, free radicals also damage the cells, but they're weak to antioxidants.
One study has shown raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries have the most antioxidants except for pomegranates. Other studies have shown berries' antioxidants can help relieve oxidative stress. If you don't already get enough antioxidants in your diet or have otherwise struggled to find good sources thereof, look no further than a handful of berries.
The compounds found in all types of berries could soon help the healthcare industry fight against cancer and the aging process itself. A new study has shown the naturally occurring pigments in berries could be essential to figuring out this treatment, and to help prevent cancer. The pigments found in berries are responsible for their beautiful colors, but they are also a type of flavonoid, which can give us insight into fighting cancer.
Raspberries, cranberries, blueberries, and blackcurrants have all been a focal point for cancer researchers for several years. It is worth noting most of the research conducted so far has been in a laboratory, and not with animals, meaning the results have actual value to humans. There is some debate about how well humans can absorb these antioxidants, but there continues to be growing evidence in favor of anthocyanins benefiting us by fighting some diseases. Regardless, there's little reason not to start incorporating berries into your diet; it just makes sense.
Lowered Risk Of Heart Disease
Berries are a very heart-friendly food. Strawberries and black raspberries, in particular, have been proven to assist with the metabolism, lowering cholesterol in the obese and those who suffer from metabolic syndrome. One study involving adults with this syndrome had its subjects consume a freeze-dried strawberry beverage once a day for eight weeks, and researchers discovered an eleven percent drop in low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (the 'bad' kind). Not only that, but berries may stop the healthy levels of cholesterol from becoming damaged, which is a huge contributor to heart disease.
With that in mind, having three servings of berries per week can result in a lowered risk of heart disease. Another study from the University of East Anglia in the United Kingdom and the Harvard School of Public Health in the United States found women, in particular, can reduce their risk of having a heart attack by thirty-two percent just by eating three servings of strawberries or blueberries per week.
Helps Control Blood Sugar
Are you a big fan of strawberries, blueberries, or blackberries? Whatever your favorite berry is, it's certain to be loaded with antioxidants, fiber, vitamins, and nutrients. They're also packed full of flavor, which makes them the perfect choice to satisfy a sweet tooth. Berries are also an excellent source of potassium, vitamins C and K, and manganese. Not only that, but berries also have the benefit of potentially regulating insulin and blood sugar levels. What do we know?
Based on test-tube and human studies alike, the compounds found in berries can help protect the body from high glucose levels, and improve both insulin sensitivity and how the body responds to high-carbohydrate meals. Most importantly, it seems these effects also occur for those who do not have diabetes, meaning it is possible to help control blood sugar before it becomes a problem. The bottom line is clear: individuals who consume berries on a regular basis are likely to improve their blood sugar as well as their body's insulin when eating high-carb meals.
Blueberries and other berries can also help the brain keep healthy, thanks to numerous beneficial compounds that directly attack free radicals that would otherwise attack the brain. A study from 2012 suggests berries can actually change how the brain communicates with the rest of the body. This means it is possible to prevent inflammation inside the brain that would normally damage the structure, while also improving brain cognition and motor control. Researchers have wondered if this interesting interaction is directly caused by the interaction of the compounds found in all berries, or if it is due to unique properties within each berry type that seems to be the same.
For example, another study conducted by the United States Agricultural Research Service discovered eating blueberries can increase how many brain cells are born in the hippocampus. This matters because the hippocampus continuously replaces its neurons, unlike most parts of the brain. Older rats were given supplements of blueberries equivalent to a cup for humans for a total of two months, and their overall brain cognition greatly increased while also experiencing improve memory.