Foods That Heal – Berries

Foods That Heal - Berries

Greetings friends. Who doesn’t like berries? They are sweet, tangy, yummy little nutritional marvels! Seriously, they are a superfood and if you are not including these in your daily diet you are missing out on some tasty and highly beneficial foods that can greatly aid in your well being. Now there are literally dozens of varieties of berries out there to choose from so for the purposes of today’s article I am going to focus upon the most common 6 that are consumed these being; strawberries, blue berries, raspberries, blackberries, boysenberries and cranberries. I know many will be saying that there are others like goji and acai but for most folks the ones above are the most common.

 

 

Health Benefits of Berries

Berries contain many and varied nutrients the most prominent being vitamins and antioxidants. These antioxidants help to reduce inflammations in the body and eliminate cellular wastes that may contribute to long term chronic health conditions such as arthritis, cancer and more. The significance of adding these nutrients to your diet can not be understated as more research is done, more positive and significant findings are showing us that including these nutrient in our diets may well go a long way towards chronic disease prevention.

  • Strawberries contain more vitamin C in a one-cup serving than one orange and are particularly high in folic acid.
  • Blueberries contain 20 types of anthocyanin – antioxidants that give berries their blue-violet and red colors. Other berries contain only three or four types.
  • Blackberries, Raspberries and Boysenberries each contains 8 grams (g) of fiber in one cup – one-third the daily recommended amount (25 g).
  • Cranberries not only combat urinary tract infections by preventing Escherichia coli bacteria from sticking to cells in the urinary tract, but they also are a natural probiotic, supporting healthy bacteria that grow in the gastrointestinal tract and aiding in digestion.

Further Health Benefits of Berries

  • Berries Keep You Mentally Sharp – Women who eat about two servings of strawberries or one serving of blueberries a week experienced less mental decline over time than peers who went without these nutrition powerhouses, research published in the Annals of Neurology found. In the study, researchers reviewed data from 16,010 women over age 70. Those with the highest berry intake postponed cognitive decline by about two and a half years. “We think that the effect might be related to a class of compounds called anthocyanidins, which is a type of flavanoid,” explains study author Elizabeth Devore, ScD, an associate epidemiologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and a professor at Harvard Medical School in Boston. “These compounds, found almost exclusively in berries, are known to cross the blood-brain barrier and locate in learning and memory centers in the brain.”
  • Berries May Help Manage Diabetes – Berries are sweet, but not the kind of sweet that should upset diabetics. “Because they come with fiber, they can use that in a diabetic diet as a serving of fruit,” Copperman says. In general, it’s better to eat fruit whole rather than drink juice, which is much higher in sugar and doesn’t contain fiber. And even though the health benefits of berries still count when they are included in another food, the nutrition boost is better when you choose fresh blueberries over a blueberry pie or a muffin.
  • Berries Might Prevent Parkinson’s – People who eat at least two servings of berries a week have a 25 percent less chance of developing Parkinson’s disease than their peers, according to research published in the journal Neurology. The same research showed that men with the highest intake of flavanoids — which are plentiful  in berries — reduced their risk by 40 percent. Besides eating them plain, you can also get your berry servings by adding them fresh or frozen to other high-nutrition foods such as porridge, cereals and yoghurt.
  • Berries Could Boost Heart Health – Even people with a strong inherited risk for heart disease may find that a diet plentiful in raw fruits and vegetables, including berries, can reduce their chances of having a heart attack, according to a study published in PLoS Medicine. Researchers looked at diet and heart attack numbers among 27,000 people of diverse backgrounds and found that loading up on fruits and vegetables seems to modify the genetic risk carried in the 9p21 gene which is known to be related to heart disease. The research supports  primary nutrition advice to patients: “Eat a rainbow.” Beyond the blueberries, include as many different-colored fruits and veggies in your diet as possible.
  • Fight Cancer With Berries – Flavanoid packed berries, such as blueberries and raspberries, may one day lead to more effective cancer-prevention strategies. Research published in the Journal of Pharmaceutical and Biomedical Analysis suggests that flavanoids and other compounds found in berries may help reduce colon cancer risk.  Again nutritionists stress any cancer-preventing benefit is enhanced by the inclusion of many different colors of fruits and veggies.
  • Alzheimer’s Prevention – Berries’ antioxidants might be allies in the fight against the effects of aging diseases like dementia on the brain that might be behind changes leading to the cognitive decline associated with Alzheimer’s. Data reported at a recent meeting of the American Chemical Society suggests that berries contain chemical compounds called polyphenolics, which could help prevent Alzheimer’s disease by cleaning up the damaging build-up of toxins over time.
  • Fight Urinary Tract Infections – Cranberries are the berry most often associated with urinary tract health, but it seems that nutrition-dense blueberries seem to be helpful as well. Because it’s a good idea to eat a variety of foods instead of overdoing it on just one kind, include cranberries and many other berries in your overall eating plan. And though it’s generally recommended to eat whole berries, at least in this instance, drinking juice might be helpful as well.

So as you can see my friends berries are really a very useful healing food as well as tasting superb. Why not try adding some of these little bundles of goodness to your diet today.

Until next time, be well.

Craig Hitchens – MST & Holistic Naturopath

 

Sources:

http://www.arthritistoday.org/what-you-can-do/eating-well/benefits-of-eating-well/berries-benefits.php

http://www.everydayhealth.com/diet-nutrition-pictures/amazing-health-benefits-of-berries.aspx

My own clinical knowledge.

 

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The information contained in this article is accurate at the time of posting but may change thereafter. The information provided on the various natural health subjects from this website of www.craighitchenstherapies.com  is for informational purposes only and should not be considered as any form of medical advice. The information in the article this disclaimer is linked from is not meant to treat, diagnose, prescribe or cure any ailment. Always check with your health professional before taking any products or following any advice that you believe may conflict with other forms of health care. Always consult your health care professional before you start, stop or change anything that has been previously prescribed. Certain herbs and holistic remedies are unsuitable to take if you are pregnant or nursing and must always be cleared by your health professional before use.

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