Berries are delicious, nutritious, and serve remarkable health benefits. Here are the reasons to include berries to your diet.
1. Berries Provide Nutrients
Berries are highly nutritious and low in calories. They also contain several vitamins and minerals and are high in antioxidants. Berries are high in vitamin C, particularly strawberries. One cup of 150 grams of strawberries offers vitamin C with 150 percent RDI.
All berries are relatively similar in terms of their vitamin and mineral content. Below is a 100-gram blackberry nutritional content (1):
- Calories: 43
- Vitamin C: 35% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI)
- Vitamin K1: 25% of the RDI
- Copper: 8% of the RDI
- Folate: 6% of the RDI
- Manganese: 32% of the RDI
However, the calorie count differs. Strawberries contain 32 calories per 100 grams and blueberries contain 57 calories per 100 grams. Therefore, berries are the lowest-calorie fruit you can eat (2).
2. Berries are High in Fiber
Berries contain soluble fiber, which is an excellent source of fiber. Studies show that consuming soluble fiber can slow your digestive tract motion. This can lead to a decrease in hunger. In addition, this can reduce your consumption of calories and facilitate weight management (3).
Fiber also helps to decrease the number of calories you absorb from meals. One research discovered that you could absorb up to 130 fewer calories per day by doubling your fiber consumption (4).
3. May Reduce Bad Cholesterol Levels
Black raspberries, strawberries, and acai berries can help reduced cholesterol levels in obese individuals with metabolic syndrome. In an 8-week study, adults with metabolic syndrome who consumed a daily drink of freeze-dried strawberries experienced an 11% decrease in LDL (bad) cholesterol (5, 6).
Berries can help avoid LDL cholesterol from becoming oxidized, which is thought to be a significant risk factor for heart disease. Therefore, those eating 50 grams of freeze-dried blueberries for 8 weeks observed a 28% decrease in LDL levels in a controlled study in obese individuals (7, 8).
4. May Protect Against Cancer
Several antioxidants in berries, including resveratrol, anthocyanins, and ellagic acid may decrease the danger of cancer. In addition, animal and human studies show that berries can protect against the esophagus, mouth, breast, and colon cancer (9, 10).
Eating 60 grams of freeze-dried raspberries for 1–9 weeks reduced tumor markers in some participants with colon cancer, but not all of them. Another test-tube study discovered that all kinds of strawberries had powerful, protective effects on cells of liver cancer (12).
5. May Help Maintain Your Arteries
In relation to reducing cholesterol, berries provide other heart health benefits, including improving your artery’s function. In addition, they help regulate blood pressure, prevent clotting of blood, and manage other significant tasks. Excessive inflammation may damage these cells by inhibiting proper function. This is known as endothelial dysfunction, a significant risk factor for heart disease (13).
In a study, berries have been observed to improve endothelial function in people with metabolic syndrome and people who smoke. In a controlled study in 44 individuals with metabolic syndrome, those with a daily blueberry smoothie showed important endothelial function improvements relative to the control group (14, 15).
One study discovered that blueberry-containing baked products lowered their content of anthocyanin. However, complete levels of antioxidants stayed the same. Similarly, the arterial function improved in individuals eating baked or frozen berries (16).
6. Berries Contain Antioxidants
Berries contain antioxidants that help control free radicals. Free radicals are unstable molecules, which are useful in small quantities but can harm your cells if their numbers get too high, causing oxidative stress (17).
Berries are a superb source of antioxidants such as anthocyanins, ellagic acid, and resveratrol. In addition, these plant compounds can decrease the danger of disease in relation to defending your cells (18).
One research showed that blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries, along with pomegranates, had the greatest antioxidant activity after consumption (19).
Several trials have verified that berries antioxidants can help to decrease oxidative stress. One healthy male’s research discovered that consuming 300 grams of blueberries helped safeguard their DNA from free radical damage (20, 21).
Eating 500 grams of strawberry pulp daily for 30 days reduced a pro-oxidant marker by 38 percent in another research in healthy people (22).
7. May Improve the Response of Blood Sugar and Insulin
Berries can improve the sugar and insulin content of your blood. Test tubes and human studies show that they can safeguard your cells from elevated concentrations of blood sugar, help boost insulin sensitivity, and decrease blood sugar and high-carbon insulin reaction (23).
However, both healthy people and those with insulin resistance appear to have these results. Eating 150 grams of puréed strawberries or blended fruit with bread in one research in healthy females resulted in a 24–26 percent decrease in insulin levels relative to eating bread alone (24).
In addition, obese individuals with insulin resistance who consumed a blueberry smoothie twice daily experienced higher insulin sensitivity improvements in six-week research than those who eat berry-free smoothies (25).
8. Eating Berries Can Protect Your Skin
Berries can help decrease skin wrinkling by helping to control free radicals, one of the major causes of skin harm that adds to aging (26).
Test tube and animal studies show that this antioxidant can safeguard the skin by preventing the development of enzymes that break down collagen in the skin that is damaged by the sun (27).
Collagen is a protein that forms part of the framework of your skin. Thus, it enables you to stretch your skin and stay firm. Your skin may shrink and create wrinkles with the damage of collagen.
In one research study, the application of ellagic acid to the skin of hairless mice subjected to ultraviolet light reduced inflammation for eight weeks and helped safeguard collagen against harm (28).
The Bottom Line
Berries have an excellent flavor, are nutritious and offer many health benefits, including for your heart and skin. Therefore, including them in your diet, you can improve your general health.