Monday, October 23, 2006 - 4:35pm By Allison Stevens, MS, RD
Berries are incredibly nutritious. They are full of vitamins and minerals and are especially rich in fiber and vitamin C. On top of that, they have no fat and tout the lowest carbohydrate count of almost any fruit. More and more, research is showing that berries may help to slow down the aging process, boost immunity, and protect against chronic diseases and many cancers (see Berries: Do They Prevent Cancer). Different berries boast their own unique health benefits, so variety in your diet is important.
Health benefits of berries
Raspberries may help cancer prevention
These small, sweet, slightly tart berries contain large amounts of ellagic acid-a compound that studies show are potent for cancer prevention.
For further information on the benefits of eating berries for cancer prevention see the following article from TheDietChannel: Berries: Do They Prevent Cancer?
Strawberries are high in vitamin C
A handful of bright, red, juicy strawberries provides more vitamin C than an orange!
Blueberries help fight disease
Researchers analyzed 60 fruits and vegetables and found that blueberries had the highest level of antioxidants-powerful disease fighters that protect cells from free radicals which may cause diseases like cancer.
Cranberries for urinary tract infections
Aside from being a staple at the Thanksgiving table, cranberries contain proanthocyanidins, which are substances that stop bacteria from sticking in the urinary tract. They can prevent, or treat, urinary tract infections.
The health benefits of berries are not limited to those listed above. Berries come in a wide variety of favors, shapes and sizes, and have their own unique health benefits. Some of the more popular berries include Marionberries, gooseberries, huckleberries, chokeberries, currants, loganberries, boysenberries and many more! Snatch them up in the supermarket when you can, otherwise a trip to the local farmer's market is often well worth the effort.
When to eat berries
Berries are delicious, fresh, and most plentiful in July, with the berry season spanning from May to August. However, frozen or dried berries-available year round-are often equally delicious and offer just as much nutrition (this is because the berries are frozen or dried at the fruit's climax, preserving all the nutritious offerings).