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Berries - A Nutritional Powerhouse

Summer is officially in full swing, and you know what that means: berry season! One of the best things about summer is its windfall of peak-season sweet blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries. They’re great to put into smoothies, bake into pies, eat with your morning oats, or simply snack on plain! Not only are berries incredibly delicious, but they're also very nutritious! In fact, many health experts consider them to be one of the healthiest foods in the world. Below, we’ve decided to dive into some of the health benefits of this amazing powerhouse which will hopefully inspire you to incorporate some berries onto your plate this summer!

One of the greatest benefits that berries have to offer is antioxidants. These little gems are full of them. The main types of antioxidants found in berries are anthocyanins, ellagic acid, and resveratrol. Antioxidants are important because they help keep free radicals under control. Free radicals are unstable molecules that are beneficial in small amounts but can damage your cells when their numbers get too high, causing oxidative stress. Due to their high antioxidant status, these plant compounds may reduce disease risk. Animal and human studies suggest that berries may protect against cancer of the esophagus, mouth, breast, and colon. They also have strong anti-inflammatory properties. Inflammation is your body’s defense against infection or injury. However, modern lifestyles often lead to excessive, long-term inflammation due to increased stress, inadequate physical activity, and unhealthy food choices. This type of chronic inflammation is believed to contribute to conditions like diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. This makes berries one of the most powerful tools in fighting certain chronic diseases.

In addition to being high in antioxidants and offering protection against some cancer, they also contain several vitamins and minerals. Berries, especially strawberries, are high in vitamin C. In fact, 1 cup of strawberries provides a whopping 150% of the RDI for vitamin C.

With the exception of vitamin C, all berries are fairly similar in terms of their vitamin and mineral content. A typical 3.5-ounce serving of berries contains 45 calories, 32% of the RDI of manganese, and: 25% of the RDI of Vitamin K. Berries are a good source of fiber, including soluble fiber. Studies show that consuming soluble fiber slows down the movement of food through your digestive tract, leading to reduced hunger and increased feelings of fullness.

Not only are berries good for your insides, but they may also benefit your appearance too! Berries may help reduce skin wrinkling, as their antioxidants help control free radicals, one of the leading causes of skin damage that contributes to aging. Research is still relatively limited, however ellagic acid appears responsible for some of the skin-related benefits of berries. This antioxidant may protect the skin by blocking the production of enzymes that break down collagen in sun-damaged skin. Collagen is a protein that is part of your skin’s structure. It allows your skin to stretch and remain firm. When collagen is damaged, your skin may sag and develop wrinkles. So, with keeping these facts in mind, what are you waiting for? Go grab some berries!



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