Bountiful Beautiful Beneficial Berries!
Berries come in a variety of colors, shapes, and sizes but are typically small, round and either blue, red, or purple. They can range from being sweet to sour in taste and are often used in desserts, jams, and preserves.
Most berries tends to have a very good nutritional profile, and are typically high in vitamin C, fiber, and anti-aging antioxidant polyphenols. Besides supplying a splash of vibrant color and yummy taste, incorporating more berries into your diet may help to prevent and reduce the symptoms of many chronic diseases.
Blueberries are among the popular choices of berries for many reasons such as being a great source of vitamin K and antioxidant anthocyanin polyphenols. One cup of blueberries contains 84 calories, 3.6 grams of fiber, 16% of the daily recommended value for vitamin C, 24% of the DRV for vitamin K, and 22% of the DV for manganese. They may assist in weight loss, help to reduce oxidative stress, lower the risk of heart disease, improve aspects of heart health, and improve insulin sensitivity to help lower the risk of type 2 diabetes.
Raspberries are a great choice for dietary fiber and anti-aging antioxidant ellagitannins polyphenols. One cup contains 64 calories, 8 grams of fiber, 36% of the DV for vitamin C, 8% of the DV for vitamin K, and 36% of the DV for manganese. They may help to reduce oxidative stress, improve heart health, reduce blood pressure, decrease blood cholesterol, and reduce inflammation.
Goji berries/wolfberries have been used as both food and medicine in traditional Chinese medicine, and they are becoming popular in the Western world. One ounce contains 98 calories, 3.7 grams of fiber, 15% of the DV for vitamin C, 42% of the DV for vitamin A, and 11% of the DV for iron. These berries also contain high levels of zeaxanthin, which is important to eye health, and the antioxidant polyphenols may help to increase metabolism and weight loss.
Strawberries may be the most common berry around the globe. One cup contains 46 calories, 3 grams of fiber, 97% of the DV for vitamin C, and 24% of the DV for manganese. Strawberries may help to reduce the risk of heart attack by reducing factors such as blood cholesterol, triglycerides, oxidative stress, inflammation, and blood sugar levels to improve heart health.
Bilberries are very similar to blueberries and are often confused. One ounce contains 43 calories, 4.6 grams of fiber, 16% of the DV for vitamin C, and 12% of the DV for vitamin E. They may help to reduce inflammation, blood sugar, lower bad cholesterol while increasing good cholesterol, and assist in weight loss to improve heart health and lower the risks of heart disease.
Acai berries are popular due to being rich in anti-aging antioxidant content. One ounce of puree contains 70 calories and 5 grams of fiber. These berries can contain 10 times more antioxidant polyphenols than blueberries. Acai berry can help to increase blood antioxidant levels, reduce oxidative stress, lower blood sugar levels, insulin, blood cholesterol, and may help to reduce the symptoms of osteoarthritis.
Cranberries may have a sour taste but they are very healthy. One cup contains 46 calories, 3.6 grams of fiber, 16% of the DV for vitamin C, and 12% of the DV for manganese. They do contain antioxidant polyphenols but most are in the skin. These berries are known to help reduce the risk of urinary tract infections, and help to reduce the risk of other infections. They may also help to lower cholesterol, blood pressure, oxidative stress, and stiffness of the arteries.
Grapes are actually berries and are a great source of anti-aging antioxidant polyphenols. One cup contains 104 calories, 1.4 grams of fiber, 5% of the DV for vitamin C, and 18% of the DV for vitamin K. Grapes may help to lower blood pressure, heart rate, blood cholesterol, and oxidative stress to improve heart health. They may even help to improve memory and driving performance.
Most berries are low in calories while being high in fiber, antioxidants and vitamin C. Most berries have been shown to carry health benefits such as lowering blood pressure, cholesterol, and oxidative stress to improve heart health, assist in weight loss, and decrease the risk of type 2 diabetes. All of these benefits make it worth having a few portions a week as a healthy snack, dessert or addition to any meal.
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