Berry, berry good
Not only is the berry family juicy and delicious – making the perfect cooling summer dessert – they are also known for their health benefits, with many clinical studies providing evidence of their healing and medicinal qualities.
Berries have anti-ageing effects, can lower blood pressure and give you a healthy heart.
Scientists have yet to confirm how and why berries positively affect our health in the way they do. But according to a report in Science Daily and research underway at Aarhus University’s Department of Food Science by Christian Clement Yde, the key is all within the fruit’s colour and polyphenols, or -antioxidants.
Each type of berry is slightly different: for example, the contrast in colour between blueberries and strawberries is created by different pigments and polyphenols and provides each berry with a unique nutritional profile that will have differing health benefits.
We may have yet to understand why, but we do already know what each berry can do for our health.
So, which berry will best address your specific health challenges and concerns?
Contain lots of antioxidants that provide anti-inflammatory benefits. Can also help maintain a healthy cardiovascular system. Another fascinating area of expertise for strawberries is blood sugar management. Research has shown that consumption of strawberries helps minimise blood sugar spikes when eating sugary foods.
Contain high levels of ellagic acid, an antioxidant which can prevent cancer, according to the American Cancer Association. They are particularly beneficial for the prevention of cervical, esophageal and colon cancer. Raspberry ketones also boost metabolism and help the body burn fat.
Ranked No 1 out of 60 fruits and vegetables for their antioxidant content by a study at Tufts University in the US. Blueberries are also well documented for their ability to lower the risk of both Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease.
A fountain of youth, a claim substantiated by their ability to boost human growth hormone production, which naturally decreases as we age. They are also an adaptogen – meaning they help create balance in the body.
A favourite of your urinary tract as they help prevent and treat infections, cranberries also possess lots of antioxidants that can aid in cancer prevention while promoting the health of the liver and the heart.
Blackberries are rich in anthocyanin pigments that can help reduce the risk of stroke and cancer and are a solution to gout.
Laura Holland is a well-being consultant and nutritional therapist. For more information, go to
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