Spring is a great time to eat berries now that they are in season, especially strawberries. Eating berries offers many health benefits and a wide range of nutrients. They have a low glycemic index and are lower in sugar than most other fruits. They are also considered a heart-healthy food. The bright colors of berries come from polyphenols. Those are antioxidants which are far more powerful than vitamin C and other common antioxidants found in supplements. The brightness and different colors of berries reflect different kinds and amounts of polyphenols. Consuming many different kinds of polyphenols is beneficial so it is good to eat different varieties of berries.
In addition to their antioxidant characteristics polyphenols help repair tissues throughout the body. Also, studies have been shown that eating berries may help decrease a person’s cancer risk. A study of strawberries has shown they have strong, protective effects on cancer cells of the liver.
Another important benefit of berries is that they can lower LDL cholesterol in the blood which can enhance the function of arteries and reduce the risk of heart attack. They can prevent LDL cholesterol from becoming damaged or oxidized. They can help control blood sugar levels, important for the prevention of diabetes. A study of more than 200,000 people showed an 18% decrease in type 2 diabetes risk by eating strawberries. They can improve blood sugar and insulin response when eaten with foods high in carbohydrates or included as a ingredient in a smoothie.
Berries are high in soluble fiber which slows the movement of food through the digestive tract and absorbs toxins. This can lead to reduced hunger and make you feel fuller longer. One cup of berries is low in calories. By increasing your fiber from eating berries you could absorb up to 130 fewer calories a day. This can help maintain weight management.
The antioxidants in berries can help reduce skin wrinkling and damage by controlling free radicals. They protect skin by blocking production of enzymes that can break down collagen when skin is damaged by the sun. Collagen is needed to allow your skin to remain firm and stretch. Without it, skin tends to develop wrinkles and sag.
Of course, fresh raw berries are considered to be the healthiest. They are delicious as a snack, added to breakfast or used as a dessert after a meal. They can be added to almost any type of diet, including the Mediterranean, vegetarian and vegan and even people on low-carb and keto diets. A 1/2 cup serving has less then 4 grams of digestible carbs.
Berries are highly nutritious and provide many health benefits and they taste great!