Berries, one of the many super foods being propagated today, is nature’s cure to some of the most pressing health problems of our time. Loaded with antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, berries can help in reducing our risk and / or propensity to develop cancer, diabetes, heart ailments, and nervous system disorders to name a few. Just how much of a good thing is good is always directly dependent upon the individual in question and his or he genetic predispositions, lifestyle, food preferences and health conditions.
In botanical terms, any fruit that is fleshy, arises from a single ovary and has two of more seeds can be considered a berry. By this definition strawberries, raspberries and cherries fail and are therefore are often referred to as ‘false berries’. Tomatoes, bananas, peppers, pomegranates, kiwis, eggplants, and lychees can all be classified as berries due to their properties. Listed below are some of the most beneficial aspects of berries:
All berries contain high levels of various antioxidants which help in controlling free radicals created by the oxidation process in our body. This in turn reduces our risk of developing cancers, heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. The number of antioxidants an individual can absorb from a fruit depends upon bioavailability. Antioxidants also help in slowing down the ageing process, keeps skin healthy and glowing, and improves mental agility.
Vitamins and Minerals
Berries are a rich natural source of several vitamins and minerals. Bananas have high levels of potassium which cater to our daily requirement for the same. Strawberries, pomegranates, kiwis and lychees all contain high levels of vitamin C which help in boosting the immune system and improving the health of our skin. Tomatoes have least number of calories compared to other berries, whilst having the highest levels of vitamin A which helps with vision. Blackberries contains manganese, mulberries have high amounts of iron and magnesium, and raspberries are an excellent source of selenium and phosphorus.
Diabetes and Weight Management
Berries are a combination of sugar, water and fibre, which enables them to help in maintaining blood sugar levels and insulin response when consumed along with high carbohydrate foods. Further, the water and fiber content gives as a feeling of fullness which reduces our propensity to snack between meals thereby aiding weight management. They make for a delicious alternative to processed sugar laden snacks and desserts.
Heart Health & Nervous System Disorders
Almost all doctors, dieticians, naturopaths, nutritionists, etc. recommend a high raw fruit and vegetable diet to those suffering from heart ailments and nervous system disorders. These raw items, berries being on the top of the list, contain a host of phytochemicals, flavonoids and polyphenols which help in managing symptoms as well as curbing our propensity to develop such illnesses. A rainbow diet, i.e., consuming as many different colours of fruits and vegetables will ensure we receive as many nutrients possible in its natural form.