Miracle foods: Berries

Can you imagine a pill that contains a synergy of multiple nutrients and phytonutrients, polyphenols (powerful antioxidants), salicylic acid, vitamins C, E, B, potassium, magnesium, fiber, carotenoids, iron, riboflavin, niacin,


raspberriesCredit: wikipedia

and more? Also, taking this pill doesn’t cause any side effects, it is delicious and you can take as much of them as you want?  I guess you really can call it a magic pill, and the good thing that nature already made it for you. The magic pill is a berry.

In my family it is definitely a challenge to make my children eat spinach or salmon. Try to explain two year old wonderful benefits of fish and vegetables. But as long as my boys eat a bowl of berries every day I don’t have anything to worry about. Berries are true miracle food: everybody loves them and they are packed with health benefits.  One serving of blueberries, for example, has the same amount of disease-fighting antioxidant as five servings of apples, carrots or broccoli.

Blueberries are often called “brain berry”, because eating these berries can slow and even reverse many of the degenerative diseases associated with brain aging, like Alzheimer’s and dementia. Blueberries are particularly rich in anthocyanins, antioxidant phytonutrient from flavonoid family. Anthocyanins are what gives the blueberries their intense, blue-purple color and they are the ones that have been linked to blueberries’ brain healing powers. Research confirmed that blueberries can help your brain not only communicate better, but also produce new brain cells. It is especially encouraging, because for a long time it was believed that brain’s degenerative diseases are irreversible.

All berries are rich in pectin, soluble fiber, which can help to promote digestive health. It can help with both diarrhea and constipation. Soluble fiber also stops bile acid (a stomach acid used for digestion) from transforming into potentially cancer-causing form. And because soluble fiber slows digestion, it can help control sugar blood level, so berries are perfect choice for diabetics. Elderberries have the most fiber, about 10 grams for 1 cup.

Another powerful antioxidant found in berries is ellagic acid. Research shows that ellagic acid can prevent cellular changes that can result in cancer; people who have diet high in ellagic acid are three times less likely to develop cancer than those who don’t have any or very little. Raspberries and strawberries have highest content of ellagic acid, which tend to be concentrated in seeds. Ellagic acid is only one of many other cancer fighters; berries also have flavonoids, tannins, prenolic acid and lignans, which also have been credited with anti-cancer benefits. Strawberries are linked to inhibiting liver-cancer cell growth; blueberries are found to limit colon cancer cells’ ability to multiply.

Berries are rich in vitamin C, which is a well- known antioxidant.  Getting enough of vitamin C can help prevent heart disease, cancer, cataracts; vitamin C also boosts your immune system, protecting you from infections.

Women who suffer from urinary  tract infections know about healing powers of cranberries. Blueberries and lingonberries are found to have the same effect. 16 ounces of unsweetened cranberry juice a day can help you stay free of UTIs.

How get the most of your berries:

  1. Eat them fresh. Cooking berries destroy majority of vitamin C.
  2. Eat them whole. Even juices are also beneficial, most commercial juices don’t have fiber and have added sugar, which adds unnecessary calories.
  3. Buy at the pick. Choose the berries that in season. Sometimes it is better to buy frozen berries, which were picked ripe and instantly frozen, than “fresh” berries that has been picked weeks before prime and shipped thousands miles.