By Silvia Carli
Looking to add better nutrition to your plate? It could be as simple (and delicious!) as topping your oatmeal with blueberries or adding a handful of fresh blackberries to your fruit salad. The benefits of berries are many and varied—these tiny dynamos are positively packed with vitamins, minerals, fiber, and so much more.
Blueberries, raspberries, blackberries—berries might be small, but they are a true nutritional powerhouse. Berries are in season in the summer, so what better time of the year is there to enjoy a berry parfait, make a refreshing smoothie, or bake a berry pie? The sky’s the limits in terms of how you can eat them.
They’re nature’s candy, but that doesn’t mean they’re going to add pounds to your waistline. Just how good for you are berries? What do they bring to the table (pun intended)? We’ll walk you through it all below.
You’ve probably heard about the role of antioxidants in the body. They’re responsible for fighting free radicals, which means they combat aging at a cellular level. They also fight off cellular mutations (think cancer). For the more fitness-minded among us, they’re also powerful anti-inflammatory tools, helping you to recover from your workouts faster, with less discomfort.
Which berries have the highest antioxidant concentrations?
Don’t limit yourself to that list, though. All berries contain higher than usual concentrations of antioxidants, so mix things up. Toss them in your cereal, oats overnight, make a berry smoothie, indulge in a berry parfait, bake them into muffins—go nuts (yes, you should probably add some nuts to your diet, too).
Getting plenty of berries in your diet is one of the keys to being able to boost your immune system with food. In addition to berries, add in citrus fruits, nuts and seeds, yogurt, and eggs (unless you’re going vegan, in which case you’ll want to find vegan egg and yogurt options).
Fiber plays a vital role in overall health and wellness but is critical for gut health. We’re only just now beginning to understand how our gut really works, and how both soluble and insoluble fiber affects our gut biota, regularity, insulin production, and so much more. Fiber can also help to lower cholesterol, accelerate weight loss, and even fight many types of cancer and cardiovascular disease.
Which berries pack in the most fiber per serving?
Again, explore options that aren’t on the list above. Adding berries to other fiber-rich foods, like healthy cereals, bran muffins, whole-grain breads, and more can help you get all the fiber you need daily.
How much fiber per day should you consume? That varies based on several critical factors, including age, weight, nutrition and fitness goals, and more. With that being said, women should aim for at least twenty-five grams of fiber per day, and men should try to get at least thirty-eight grams of fiber daily. Sadly, most Americans only get fifteen grams per day.
Struggling to get enough fiber in your diet with the foods you eat? The benefits are simply too great to pass up. If you find it hard to eat fiber-rich foods, a supplement might be worth considering. Fiber supplement benefits are similar to what you’ll see with an increased intake of dietary fiber on your plate.
Humans didn’t understand the importance of nutrients until the twentieth century. There’s so much more to food than its taste or texture. Berries are among the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet, offering the vitamins and minerals that you need for a healthy, happy life. They’re also low in fat and calories, ensuring that they can be added to most diets. Even keto followers can enjoy berries in moderation, since their fiber content counteracts the natural sugars to some extent.
Which vitamins and minerals will you find in berries? It’s important to note that each type of berry has its own nutrient profile, but they’re all high in:
Most berries are in season during the summer months. Eating seasonal fruits and vegetables has also been linked to several health benefits. Foods are fresher, which means they have higher nutritional content. Following a seasonal diet also helps you follow a more varied eating plan, which can provide you with better nutrition all year long and help avoid nutrition deserts—long periods eating the same foods and leaving yourself devoid of important nutrients.
If the benefits we’ve explored above aren’t enough to sell you on eating more berries, consider a few additional facts:
Finally, adding berries to your diet is very simple. It might be as easy as tossing a handful into your smoothie mix in the morning or sprinkling a spoonful over your oatmeal. They’re amazingly easy to incorporate into baking and other cooking, and they lose very little of their nutritional value when cooked, too. With that being said, most are just as delicious eaten raw and can be consumed as snacks throughout the day.
These tiny sweet treats truly are nutritional powerhouses. The benefits of berries are wide-ranging, and with the many types of berries on the market, there’s a delicious way for everyone to get these health benefits.