Berries: Berry Good for Your Health

FRIDAY FAVORITE

by Becca Egan, BS, NASM-CPT

It shouldn’t be a secret that berries are good for you. Berries have been shown to have a greater impact on your health, and heart health than many of their fruit friends.

Berries are high in antioxidants. We’ve been hearing that word a lot lately, antioxidants. What exactly are antioxidants? We know they’re good, but why? Here’s a quick and easy definition: Antioxidants are man-made or natural substances that may prevent or delay some types of cell damage. Antioxidants are found in many foods, including fruits and vegetables.

Here are a list of everyone’s favorite berries and their super powers!

Blueberries

These babies are PACKED with antioxidants and a phytonutrient called anthrocyanins (which give blueberries their deep blue color). These help to neutralize damage from free radicals in our cells. Blueberries also help to reduce our chances of various diseases such as heart disease, cataracts, varicose veins, hemorrhoids, glaucoma, and peptic ulcers. So let’s take a page out of the book from the girl from Willy Wonka and eat so many blueberries that we turn into one!

Acai Berries

The acai berry (pronounced: ah-sah- ee) is a relatively new-found health hero. The acai berry was traditionally used as a powerfully healing, energy-boosting fruit so that should tell you how important it is. Due to their strong antioxidant content, acai berries are also related to slowing the process of aging (along with that - aging related ailments) and preventing diseases related to cellular oxidative damage. One acai berry holds ten times the amount of antioxidants as grapes, and two times the amount of blueberries!

Strawberries

Not just a delicious fruit to put on cereal, ice cream, yogurt, in cakes and pies, and in your favorite summer drink or cocktail. This fruit is as good for you as is good tasting. Studies have shown that strawberries may also help protect the brain with a powerful antioxidant capacity. Strawberries reduce macular degeneration of the eyes, and are an excellent source of potassium, fiber, many B vitamins, vitamin C, vitamin K, manganese, iodine, folate, omega-3 fatty acids, magnesium and copper. Red berry for the win!

Cherries

This fruit is probably most associated with pie or the famous Ben and Jerry’s ice cream flavor: Cherry Garcia. Cherries are high in anthocyanins and bioflavonoids, substances related to reducing the joint and muscle discomfort. Cherries also contain melatonin, an important natural chemical related to healthy sleep rhythms and maintaining a youthful appearance. Just make sure you’re getting your cherry fill from the actual fruit and not JUST the ice cream or pie that contain it.

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