Fruits are healthy alternatives to snacks, and berries arguably top the best of them. They are delicious, compact, convenient, and full of vitamins. For those who like to add a little colour and a load of nutrients to their smoothie recipes, berries are an obvious choice. Here are 10 wonderful benefits of berries that will have you reaching for the vines:
1. They lower blood pressure
Berries contain health-promoting compounds called polyphenols, which may increase nitric acid that help to relax the blood vessels. Furthermore, the antioxidants in berries also improve the function of the inner layer of the blood vessels. Together, they help to normalise blood pressure.
2. They improve your digestive system
As great sources of fibre, berries promote digestion. In addition, their antioxidants help to optimise the good bacteria in our gut, improving our metabolism.
3. They help to optimise brain function
Studies have shown that subjects who consume more berries experience better cognitive functions and slower mental decline. This is because some berries increase blood flow to the brain, allowing it for greater levels of activation. Also, the learning and memory centres in the brain are found to contain compounds that can cross the blood-brain barrier and are almost exclusive to berries, further suggesting that the consumption of berries can help to release the compounds that improve learning and memory.
4. They help manage diabetes
Even though berries contain sugars, the amount would not cause a sugar spike. The antioxidants in berries can also help to improve insulin sensitivity so that glucose can be converted to glycogen more efficiently in order to maintain a more stable blood sugar level.
5. They help to manage your weight
Berries contain an antioxidant called ellagitannins which makes the brain more sensitive to leptin, a hormone which is responsible for making us feel full. This increases satiety and prevents overeating.
6. They help in anti-aging
Free radicals in our body can cause damage to our cells and DNA. The bad news is that they are constantly in production. Berries contain high levels of antioxidants and phytochemicals that are involved in eliminating these free radicals in our bodies, thus helping to optimise our bodily functions.
7. They potentially maintain bone health
There were studies showing that when rats consume blueberries, their bone density increased. The significant results suggest that the polyphenols in berries can help slow the breakdown of bones, ultimately saving them.
8. They protect against cancer
Berries are packed with flavonoids that help to prevent certain cancers such as those of the colon and breast. Adding the colourful fruits in the diet would be beneficial in terms of managing and fighting the disease.
9. They help combat neurological diseases
The rich amounts of antioxidants in berries can help to fight neurological diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. This is because the naturally-occurring compounds help to remove the toxic build-up that leads to such conditions.
10. They help fight urinary tract infections (UTIs)
Berries, especially cranberries and blueberries, can help to manage UTIs. This is one of the reasons why cranberry juices are high in demand and would greatly benefit one when taken on a regular basis.
Berries are colourful when ripe and full of potential. They not only add great flavours to our food and recipes, but they’re chock full of goodness that helps us in optimising our health and performance. Beautiful on the outside and inside; what’s not to love about berries?