The latest dietary guidelines from the USDA recommend that adults eat anywhere from 5 to 13 servings of fresh fruit and vegetables each day. A single service would be a single piece of fruit. Have you ever eaten five apples in a day? You might have better luck getting in those servings with berries. It only takes one-half cup of any berry to be a serving. That is easy to take in especially when the berries are in season. Just why should you focus on berries? Because they are the ultimate power food and here are six reasons why:
They’re Loaded with Antioxidants
When it comes to having antioxidants, berries win the race every time. Why do antioxidants matter? Those are the compounds that take aim at harmful molecules called free radicals. A build-up of free radicals can lead to oxidative stress. That, in turn, can trigger chronic diseases like heart disease, type 2 diabetes and even cancer. So, yes, berries matter for the antioxidants.
They Can Improve Blood Sugar Response
Berries have been sown to improve a person’s blood sugar and insulin levels. That works best when the berries are combined with carbs like you would with a smoothie. It might seem odd that something so sweet can actually reduce your blood sugar and insulin response but that is what happens.
They’re High in Fiber
Fiber helps to keep food flowing through your digestive system and berries are a terrific source of fiber. That includes the important soluble fiber, which can beat back your hunger pangs and make you feel full. All that fiber also helps reduce the number of calories in each meal. Fewer calories = less weight.
They Provide a Nutrient Boost
Along with the antioxidants, berries also provide a potent nutrient boost in the form of vitamins and minerals. Among the “stars” in the berry, the family are strawberries which are very high in vitamin C. Just one cup of strawberries gives you 150% of your daily recommended level of vitamin C.
They Can Help with Inflammation
Chronic inflammation can contribute to diabetes, obesity and heart disease. Berries have been found to have powerful anti-inflammatory properties. Lowering inflammation can have a positive impact on all kinds of health issues.
They Can Help Lower Cholesterol
You LDL cholesterol is the “bad” cholesterol. That is the artery-clogging molecules you want to keep out of your body. Berries can help lower that cholesterol number by stopping those molecules from becoming oxidized.
Add them to salads. Have them handy for snacks. Get them into your smoothies. It is time to get berries back into your diet.