Available in a wide variety of colors and flavors, berries are not only a great addition to smoothies and desserts, but they have many health benefits as well. Packed with vitamins, antioxidants, and other good nutritional elements yet low on the calorie scale, this fruit type is routinely ranked among the top 10 super foods.
The Global Healing Center recommends seven berries that are packed with high nutritional value. Five of them are listed here.
- Blueberries: The second highest food in antioxidants, blueberries come loaded with vitamin C; in a single serving, you can get about one-fourth of your daily requirement. According to the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council, you also get your daily amount of fiber in the same serving.
- Strawberries: Phenols are an antioxidant phytonutrient that protects your heart from disease, and these bright red gems have a lot of them. Strawberries are best known for their anti-inflammatory effects but are also an excellent source of vitamins C, B, K, and contain the healthful omega-3 fatty acids.
- Goji: Goji berries are credited as cancer fighting bombs, and although there is no hard evidence to support this claim, they are indeed full of goodness. The dark red berry is a favorite of the inhabitants of Nepal and Tibet for the 18 amino acids, four major vitamins, 21 trace minerals, and large amounts of beta carotene.
- Acai: Although somewhat over-touted when it comes to actual health benefits, the acai berry is indeed linked to slowing the process of aging. Additionally, a single acai berry has twice the amount of antioxidants as blueberries and 10 times the amount as grapes. Legend has it the acai provide powerful healing and energy-boosting elements as well.
- Cherries: This symbolic fruit has a wide spectrum of positive effects. Cherries contain chemicals that reduce symptoms of arthritis and migraine headaches, help maintain healthy sleep rhythms, and promote a youthful appearance. They also have cancer fighting antioxidants, though at a lower amount than the other berries.
Recent research has revealed new information regarding the benefits associated with berries and the human brain. According to an article on the subject by WebMD, eating berries at least once a week can protect your brain from memory loss related to aging. The primary source for these benefits is blueberries as they contain the highest level of the antioxidant anthocyanidins, a chemical that promotes blood flow to the brain.
The Mayo Clinic challenges some of the common misconceptions about the acclaimed acai berry and its alleged powers of weight-loss and anti-aging. Although nutritionist Katherine Zetasky agrees that the berry is high in antioxidants, fiber, and heart-healthy fats, she notes that most of the claims made about the other benefits are largely unproven because of the limited research available.
Dr. Ed Rabin, a Biose Chiropractor, examined the claims of the wonderful cancer fighting powers of the goji berry. Although there are certainly benefits from the berry, there has only been one clinical study showing the relationship between goji and cancer — and that was written in Chinese. Translated to English, the study still didn’t prove conclusively that the two were connected, but the trend has definitely taken the health-conscious world by storm.
Neither the acai nor goji berry is bad for your health, but the primary concern is the pocketbook and faith. Those who believe wholeheartedly in the supposed benefits of the juices can be sorely disappointed when the berries fail to save them from cancer or other health issues. When you attach a stiff price tag to the berry and slap a brightly colored label on it advertising benefits that don’t exist, that’s where the real problem lies. In general though, berries are extremely beneficial to your overall wellbeing.