The health benefits of fruits are numerous and well studied. Berries are among the healthiest fruits, and contain many antioxidants and nutrients that help fight cancer, lose weight and maintain overall health.
Fruits contain many nutrients and vitamins needed by our bodies in easily accessible forms. They contain less calories per volume than most foods, and yet contain many micronutrients and antioxidants. Eating fruits helps protect against some types of cancer, diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure and many more diseases and conditions. Fiber from fruits significantly contributes to healthy passing of food in the digestive tract. Blueberries are among the healthiest of fruits, and contain large amounts of antioxidative power in form of anthocyanins, providing additional protection against disease.
Fruits are often used as the epitome of healthy food. Almost everyone is aware that fruits are healthy, beneficial and good tasting. There is virtually no diet that does not include some form of fruit. The studies and research done on the subject of health benefits of fruits are numerous. Just some of the benefits of eating fruits are:
- Reduction of risk for heart disease, including heart attack and stroke.
- Protection against certain types of cancers.
- Diets rich in foods containing fiber, such as fruits, may reduce the risk of heart disease, obesity, and type 2 diabetes.
- Eating vegetables and fruits rich in potassium may lower blood pressure, and may also reduce the risk of developing kidney stones and help to decrease bone loss.
- Eating foods such as fruits that are lower in calories per cup instead of some other higher-calorie food may be useful in helping to lower calorie intake.
- Fruits are rich in antioxidants, which help the body on numerous levels
All fruits are rich in many nutrients yet they do not contain, or contain very little, fats, especially cholesterol. Another useful factor fruits provide is dietary fiber. Although fiber is not a nutrient per se, it is very important to human nutrition, as it has several roles in digestion and sugar absorption. Fiber in the diet regulates stool and secures that food is passed along the digestive tract efficiently. Fiber also binds the carbohydrates and sugars in a way, allowing for slower sugar absorptions, which in turn influences levels of insulin. Foods rich in fiber will often contribute more to the feeling of fullness, allowing you to eat less food and feel full. Fruits usually contain lesser amounts of calories per volume than most foods, but due to sugars and fiber contribute to feeling full, which is great for maintaining proper body weight. Vitamins are another class of nutrients that fruits are full of, most fruits can satisfy the larger part of your daily needs for most vitamins.
All fruits are healthy and very beneficial, however, berries among all fruits have recieved the most attention as 'superfoods'. All in all, berries are indeed among the healthiest of fruits, which are among the healthiest of foods. In numerous studies, the benefits of berries have been noted.
Most recently, researchers revealed that women who ate more than three servings of blueberries or strawberries a week had a 34 percent lower heart attack risk than those who ate less. Researchers say that the most likely reason is that the berries, like other red and blue fruits and vegetables, have high concentrations of antioxidant pigments like anthocyanin, an antioxidant that may help lower blood pressure and improve blood vessel health.
Another study found that women who eat plenty of blueberries and strawberries experience slower mental decline with age than women who consume fewer of the fruits. Berries are also very high in potassium and vitamin C among other beneficial nutrients. Their dietary bonuses include a high content in manganese, vitamin C, vitamin K and dietary fiber.
Many studies are being performed on the topic of berry health benefits. One study has shown them to be effective for vascular health and lead to a reduction in stroke risks (Wang, 2005). Other preliminary studies found blueberry consumption lowered cholesterol and total blood lipid levels, possibly affecting symptoms of heart disease.(Kalt, 2008).
Anthocyanins are the blue pigments found in all dark berries. Research has shown them to be effective at improving several aspects of health. They have shown to posses analgesic and neuroprotective qualities, reducing inflammation and irritation (Korte, 2009). As all pigments, they are powerful antioxidants, providing protection against the negative effects of free radicals. One of the major benefits of anthocyanins for eye health is their ability to help in the treatment of glaucoma. Several clinical studies have shown anthocyanin supplementation to be effective in helping the treatment and prevention of glaucoma, one of the major reasons for blindness and vision deficit (Ohguroll, 2007). In addition to helping prevent and treat glaucoma, anthocyanins and other dark pigments have shown to be effective in improving night-vision and help prevent nyctalopia, the inability to see in low light conditions. Anthocyanins also seem to have an additional benefit for eye health; increasing blood flow to the retina and thus helping maintain proper eye health in the long term. To get the optimal health benefits of berries, eat two to three types of fresh, frozen or dehydrated berries each day.
Some supplements made from and with berries might also be very helpful in getting the full benefits provided by berries. PassionProjects 'Complex Berry' contains many kinds of berries in a very accessible form that provides instant health benefits of eating many different kinds of berries at once.