Berries just make your whole body happy!
They bring a bright, colorful burst to a morning plate, afternoon bowl (with a little cinnamon), or healthy dinner dessert.
But, as if that isn’t enough all by itself, berries have so much more going on …
They just happen to be little powerhouses of nutrients — low in overall sugars, high in phytonutrients, flavonoids, antioxidants and vitamins A, C and E. They aid skin vibrancy and collagen production, and are rich in resveratrol which is reported to be good for heart health, cancer, Alzheimer’s, cognitive function, and weight loss — even (sishhh) ED.
Because You Asked:
When the original article posted, one reader asked for a little more about the cancer fighting benefits of berries. So getting specific, berries have been shown to reduce markers associated with tumor growth in animals and people with several types of cancer — it’s reported that consuming just 10oz of berries a day can help preserve your DNA. And, DNA damage is associated with cancer development.
Let’s take a closer look behind what makes six popular berries so amazing!
Blueberry – That deep blue color correlates with high amounts of phytonutrients — which are excellent at neutralizing cellular-level, free-radical damage. In case you want to look younger, blueberries keep your collagen matrix from deteriorating (collagen break-down causes wrinkles). A 2008 study from Tufts University places blueberries at the top of their list of natural antioxidants — that’s out of fifty common fruits and vegetables. So, go ahead and toss some blueberries on your plate or in your blender or juicer!
Strawberry – Rich in vitamin C, strawberries provide a great immunity boost! They also reduce hyperacidity and that makes them great for fighting gout and reducing uric acid build-up. Strawberries are rich in folate, iodine, quercitin, and kaempferol plus many more flavonoids. In one 30-day experiment, participants who took in 17oz of strawberry pulp daily benefited from a nearly 40% reduction in oxidant markers! (Wow!) This makes them potential cancer preventatives and brain function enhancers. So, why not try a few before reading or studying, or toss them into the blender with your juice?
Cranberry – Famous for making thanksgiving table memories, cranberries notably contain a type of sugar that wipes out bacterial infections in the urinary tract. And, interestingly, native North Americans drank cranberry juice to treat bladder and kidney diseases. Cranberries’ additional benefits are linked to cancer prevention, immune boosting, and lower blood pressure. There is a WARNING though: many dried cranberries sold in grocery stores contain loads of sugar or corn-syrup which can negate cranberries’ positive benefits! So, juicing fresh cranberries just makes sense!
Raspberry & Black Berry – Next to blueberries and pomegranates, blackberries and raspberries have the highest antioxidant activity of commonly consumed fruits. Anthocyanin is the pigment responsible for the deep red, purple, and blue colors in blackberries, blueberries, cranberries, raspberries, and strawberries, and it is a powerful antioxidant that mitigates free-radical damage, in particular free-radical damage to your skin. Think about that the next time you’re headed to the pool or beach!
Acai Berry – Acai (pronounced “ah-sah-ee”) is a small purple-black berry native to the rainforests and jungles of South America. And even though they’ve seen an explosion in popularity in the last decade, they’re very hard to source fresh (which is why you’ll usually see them in a powdered form). Like many of the other berries, Acai has a high antioxidant composition. It’s also a source of glutathione which is linked to cancer prevention, detoxification, improving psoriasis, and insulin resistance. Another study found that acai worked to increase the total antioxidant capacity in the blood plasma, dramatically reducing exercise-induced muscle damage, as well as improving cholesterol and triglycerides.
Now, let’s get really exotic…
Amla Berry (a/k/a Amalaki, Malacca, or Indian Gooseberry) is packed with the most vitamin C of any fruit on the planet . Like Acai, it’s almost impossible to find fresh, but you can find it in powder form. In India, they have been considered a super-food for millennia as an anti-aging marvel. Additionally, this super food increases the absorption rate of nutrients — particularly iron and calcium — balances stomach acid, strengthens and defends the liver, nourishes the brain, and loves on your heart. Added to honey, it’s great for your eyes (click on the link to find out why!) and is used in India to grow hair, prevent greying and firm the skin. Amlas taste sweet, and so its powder form mixes well with any juice!
HERE’S WHERE YOU CAN HELP. . .
For two years, I’ve scoured the Internet seeking sources that can back up the health and benefit claims of fruits, vegetables, and supplements (sometimes called “boost”).
In the chart below are the health claims I and others have discovered about berries. Where you see a footnote, you’ll find a link to the source. If there is not a footnote, then that means that the specific health claim is made, but neither I nor anyone I know has been able to locate sources of research or credible anecdotes to back up the claim.
So, if you are aware of a direct source of research or anecdotes to back up the claims, please post them in the comments. I’ll check them out and if they meet our standards, I’ll make sure that they’re included in the next edition of the blog and give you a shout-out!
Reported Health Benefit Claims of Berries
|Promotes cardiovascular health |
|Promotes digestive health |
|Helps the immune system|
|Is an antioxidant |
|Improves blood circulation|
|Is an anti-inflammatory|
|Prevents Alzheimer’s||Improves cardiovascular system|
|Antioxidant ||Cognitive benefits|
|Lowers blood pressure ||Prevents diabetes|
|Lowers blood sugar||Improves eyesight|
|Improves brain health||Strengthens nervous system|
|Prevents some forms of cancers||Prevents neurodegenerative diseases|
|Prevents anemia||Improves eyesight|
|Has anti-aging properties||Prevents kidney stones|
|Is an anti-inflammatory ||Is a probiotic|
|Prevents atherosclerosis ||Promotes healthy skin|
|Prevents some forms of cancer ||Prevents stomach ulcers |
|Improves cardiovascular system ||Prevents venous disorders|
|Lowers cholesterol ||Prevents urinary tract infections |
|Improves immune system||Improves oral health |
|Prevents diabetes |
|Is an anti-inflammatory|
|Is an antioxidant|
|Helps prevent atherosclerosis|
|Supports lowering blood sugar|
|Helps prevent and slow cancer |
|Assists weight loss|
|Lower risks of several chronic diseases including hypertension, Crohn’s disease, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and Alzheimer’s disease|
|Helps prevent Alzheimer’s disease||Lowers cholesterol|
|Is an anti-anemic||Coagulates|
|Is an anti-inflammatory||Promotes digestive health|
|Is an antioxidant||Is a diuretic|
|Lowers blood sugar||Promotes heart health|
|Promotes brain health||Strengthens immune system|
|Prevents and combats cancer||Improves mental health|
So, let’s hear it for berries! They’re ‘living proof’ that some things that taste sweet and good can also be great for you!
- Andres-Lacueva, Cristina Shukitt-Hale, Barbara, Galli Rachel, Jauregui, Olga, Lamuela-Raventos, Rosa, Joseph, James A. Anthocyanins in aged blueberry-fed rats are found centrally and may enhance memory. Nutritional Neuroscience. 2005 April. vol.8 issue2, pages 111-120.
 The juice does not kill the bacteria, but rather “… offer[s] more hydration and possibly wash[es] bacteria [away] … ” says, Dr. Timothy Boone, PhD, from Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine.
Steve: Today with Dr. Davis it’s time to talk about berries, my favorite thing to eat every day.
Dr. Davis: Who doesn’t like blueberries and strawberries? Both blueberries, strawberries, — all the berries families — are high in antioxidant, especially blueberries. They’re high in antioxidants. Some of those being phenols and anthocyanins (those are just different types of antioxidants).
Steve: Cyanins, anthocyanins, are those antioxidants?
Dr. Davis: Exactly. And so it’s great for anti-cancer. And when we say anti-cancer, it’s because they’re antioxidants; they help protect the cell from oxidative reaction.
So people hear “free radicals.”
Free radicals means that a loss of an electron hits a cell and causes damage and breakdown in DNA.
Oxidants damage the DNA, and antioxidants protect [cells], and the body. And so blueberries and strawberries are — and in fact all berries are — some of the best antioxidants, which are the best anti-cancer preventatives there are.