The humble berry contains high levels of antioxidant compounds — such as ellagic acid, anthocyanins, gallic acid, pelargonidins, quercetin and cyanidins, — to name just a few! These healing compounds protect against inflammation, cancer, cardiovascular disease, and help to slow down the aging process.
Below are three of our favorite berries that offer impressive health benefits.
1. Wild Blueberries
Wild blueberries contain higher amounts of the powerful antioxidant anthocyanin, compared to cultivated blueberries. Not only are they high in disease-fighting antioxidants but they are a great support for our gut as well.
Preliminary studies show that wild blueberries help to increase bifidobacteria levels in the gut. Bifidobaceterium offer many health benefits including supporting the immune system, digestion and helping to reduce inflammation.
One study of wild blueberry consumption on gut health included 15 males between ages 37 and 55. The results showed that the participants’ gut health improved with a significant rise in bifidobacteria levels.
“After six weeks, bifidobaceterium levels were raised by 6.7 percent in the wild blueberry eaters compared with a 1.7 percent decrease in the placebo group.”
Wild blueberries are smaller than cultivated blueberries and many report that they find them to be tastier.
Blackberries, just like wild blueberries, contain high amounts of powerful antioxidants. The antioxidant properties in blackberries, in particular anthocyanins, ellagic acid and cyaniding-3-glucoside, have been shown to exert anti-cancer properties. These powerful phytochemicals help to reduce and prevent inflammation in the body.
Blackberries are also high in soluble fiber (pectin) that helps to reduce cholesterol levels. One cup of blackberries provides approximating 8 grams of fiber.
Last but certainly not least, blackberries are high in vitamin C, yet another powerful antioxidant. A 100g serving of blackberries contains 23 mg of vitamin C.
Not to be overlooked, cranberries are an antioxidant-rich food that equally deserves superfood status. Their vibrant red color is an indication of the healing phytonutrients that can be found in cranberries. These phtyonutrients help to protect the cardiovascular system and lower cholesterol. The antioxidant proanthocyanins, found in cranberries is highly anti-inflammatory and helps to protect blood vessels.
As with wild blueberries and blackberries, cranberries are high in cancer-fighting antioxidants.
As well, commonly known to help fight urinary tract infections, studies now show that cranberries contain specific antioxidant substances that help to prevent E.coli bacteria from attaching to the walls of the urinary tract.
Try adding one or more of these berries into your diet on a daily basis and notice the difference in how you feel. Add them to your smoothies, oatmeal, yoghurt, on top of pancakes or use them to make a berry sauce. Berries are a powerfully healing food, so make sure to enjoy a bowl of colorful berries as often as you can.