When it comes to common fruits and vegetables, berries are one of the most nutrient-dense foods you can eat. In fact, many of their health benefits—such as being known as one of the best brain foods— rival vegetables and meats, making them an ideal addition to any weight loss or healthy diet plan. Here are five surprising health benefits of berries that can help improve your overall diet.
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1) Berries are Loaded with Vitamin C
What's so great about Vitamin C? It helps fight free radicals. This is important because free radicals are unstable atoms that can damage cells and contribute to diseases such as cancer. The Vitamin C in berries also helps boost our immune system, making us less likely to get sick. Just one serving of berries pack about half your daily requirement for vitamin C!
2) Berries Have Lots of Fiber
Berries, as a group, have one of the highest-fiber contents compared to other fruits. Fiber helps regulate the body's use of sugars, helping to keep hunger and blood sugar in check, plus berry eaters are less likely to suffer from obesity and cardiovascular disease. The best berries for fiber content include blackberries and raspberries (7 g per cup) followed by strawberries (4 g per cup).
3) Berries Can Help Lower Blood Pressure
Studies have shown that among the health benefits of blueberries, their consumption helped lower systolic blood pressure, sometimes by as much as 4.5 points. This means a higher intake could help you reduce your risk for heart disease and stroke. Not surprisingly, blueberries' ability to lower blood pressure stems from their rich antioxidant content, and antioxidants are well known for their abilities to neutralize free radicals.
4) Berries Maintain Normal Blood Sugar Levels
Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries feature a low-glycemic index (GI), which is key for long-term health. As a result, these fruits don't cause spikes in blood sugar levels, which could, unfortunately, lead to short-term and long-term issues. The good news is studies have shown that people who eat berries regularly have better glycemic control than those who don't.
5) Berries Can Even Help Fight Cancer Cells
Berries are full of polyphenols, a type of antioxidant that can kill cancer cells and prevent them from growing. Berries also contain ellagic acid, which has can slow down growth in lung cancer. Additionally, recent research has found that certain compounds in berries like blueberries can even help kill leukemia cells!
How do you make sure you get enough berries in your diet? Leave a comment and let us know!
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