Out of all the possible types of food, berries are probably one of the healthiest and most widespread on planet earth.  If I had to choose only three varieties of foods to eat, berries would be one of them.  They are loaded with powerful phytonutrients, minerals, vitamins, fiber, and great TASTE!  Various varieties of berries can be found on almost every continent, from pole to pole, and they grow well without any tending; I think they are one of God’s greatest food gifts to us.  While fresh berries can be expensive, frozen berries are almost just as nutritious and more versatile.  Also, since berries grow wild in most places, they are one of the few foods that can still be gathered for free if you’re willing to invest a little bit of labor (also a great opportunity to get outdoors for fresh air and sunshine).  Read below for some of the nutrients found in berries and their amazing benefits:

Flavonols:  Flavonols are a class of flavanoids, which are pigments that help plants perform secondary functions like filtering UV rays, attracting pollinators, and protecting against diseases.  A few of the most plentiful flavonols in berries are kaempferol, quercetin and myricetin.  In humans, these flavonols have been found to have significant health benefits. Quercetin and kaempherol may help reduce the severity of mild allergies, improve cadiovascular health, have anti-inflammatory effects, and improve athletic endurance.  Myricetin has shown the potential to increase fertility, improve cholesterol ratios, and act as an anti-carcinogen.  

Ellagic Acid: Ellagic Acid is an organic compound and an anti-oxidant.  Preliminary studies have found that ellagic acid (found in high concentrations in the seeds of blackberries, raspberries, and strawberries) has potential antiproliferative effects and cardiovascular benefits.
Anthocyanins: Anthocyanins are the red, blue, and purple pigments found in high concentrations in blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, black raspberries, and acai berries.  Anthocyanins in berries may be particular effective against mouth, throat, and colon cancer.  There’s reason to believed that they might also help prevent Alzheimer’s and other age-related diseases.
Vitamins and minerals: In addition to the numerous phytochemicals berries contain, they can also be a great source of Vitamin C, Vitamin K, folate, potassium, and manganese (they also contain small amounts of almost every other vitamin and mineral).

It’s important to remember that the organic compounds listed above aren’t always effective when isolated as supplements.  Whole foods, like berries, contain hundreds of nutrients that work synergistically to improve absorption and utilization of these important compounds.  

With all these health benefits in such a tasty, low calorie, high-fiber food, what are you waiting for?  Berries are delicious in cereal, in smoothies, in baked goods, and as a simple snack.  Look for them fresh, frozen, and freeze dried. 

Eat. More. Berries!

Ellagic Acid’s Antiproliferative Effects
Quercetin and Allergies
Black Raspberries and Cancer

Originally posted 2013-01-07 21:38:00.


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