Eat Berries To Boost Your Health

Author: Dominic Londesborough

Berries are a fantastic source of nutrients, as well as being versatile and tasty.

Strawberries are a rich source of vitamin C, an antioxidant vitamin. Antioxidants mop up free radicals, unstable molecules that cause cell damage. Another valuable micronutrient in strawberries is ellagic acid, a phytochemical (plant-based chemical) that may help fight cancer by blocking cancer cells.

Of all the fruits, raspberries are one of the best sources of soluble fibre. Soluble fibre is a form of non-starch polysaccharides (chain of sugars) that is gel-like in consistency, and helps lower bad cholesterol (LDL) in the bloodstream. Like strawberries, raspberries are also very high in vitamin C, and are classed as a superfood.

Blackberries are rare among fruit because they contain significant amounts of vitamin E. This vitamin is an antioxidant, like vitamin C. It also contains a powerful compound called alpha-tocopherol which helps prevent plaque forming in the arteries, thins the blood, and therefore helps prevent heart disease. Vitamin E also helps boost our immune system, as well as promoting healthy skin.

Blueberries are another great source of vitamin C. Rrecent studies have shown that blueberries contain a compound that helps lower bad cholesterol. A compound in blueberries - pterostilbene - has been identified by scientists in the US who ran tests on rats, as being of possible value in the fight against colon cancer, but further tests are needed to confirm this effect in humans.

Cranberries are rich in vitamin C, as are all berries. A particular role of cranberries, particularly cranberry juice, is their use to treat urinary tract infections and cystitis. Cystitis is a bladder infection, where you feel the urge to urinate but are able to pass only a few painfully burning drops. It can progress to kidney pain if left untreated. Cranberries drunk in concentrated juice form is the most effective remedy. The bacteria that is the main cause of cystitis is E. coli, and cranberry juice is very effective at flushing this bacteria from the urinary tract.

Goji berries have been in the news over the last couple of years as being the latest superfood, eaten by celebrities, and generally heralded as a magic berry. Is it all hype, or are they as fantastic as the claims suggest? These small, round, red berries are grown in China, the Himalayas, and Mongolia. Their taste is not unlike raisins, and they can be eaten raw or in dried form.

It's true that they're rich in vitamins (Beta-Carotene, B1, B2, C). Unusually for a fruit, goji berries are a source of essential fatty acids. There is no doubt that this berry is rich in vitamins and minerals, which may help slow the aging process and help prevent certain cancers, but more studies are needed before the most enthusiastic claims are proven.

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