Love Berries? Check Out The Health Benefits of Four Well-known Berries
by Lou-Ann Jordan Sep 7, 2022
In the Caribbean, we love our fruits, and much like our tropical ones, berries are well-loved. Though grown in colder climates, the temperature difference has not stopped their prevalence in our region.
Strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, and the less popular blackberries are just a few that can be found throughout the Caribbean. In fact, some locals have taken to growing them in their gardens, and there is a strawberry farm in Jamaica. In any event, most of us rely on our supermarkets or greengrocers to get our hands on them.
Whether frozen or freshly packaged, these flavourful fruits are as much loved as mangoes, papaya, pineapple, and bananas. Usually, they are enjoyed similarly too, either as a snack, eaten with cereal, or blended to make smoothies. One reason why they are so well loved is that they pack a wallop of antioxidants. Also known for having a low sugar content, they are the most highly recommended by dietitians. But there is more you can gain health-wise from eating these juicy wonders.
Often, our primary concern is whether they are organic or not, and while that is critical, it’s equally important to have an idea of each fruit’s health benefits. Let’s look at four common kinds of berries and their specific benefits to get you started.
Who doesn’t love these red, juicy, heart-shaped berries? Fresh strawberries make an excellent snack and, when paired with bananas, offer a tasty combination for a smoothie. It doesn’t take much to make this berry a favourite, but the nutritional factors can sway doubtful minds. Strawberries are high in vitamin C, folate, potassium, and manganese.
Health tip: Strawberries are low in sugar and aid in heart health and glucose control. Also, WebMD credits them with lowering blood pressure and enhancing brain health.
These may not be as popular as strawberries, but they are equally tasty and healthy. These berries are high in fibre, containing much more than strawberries and blueberries. Still, like strawberries, they have vitamin C and manganese, but they do offer the added benefit of vitamin K.
Health tip: Studies have shown that raspberries can lower oxidative stress caused by lifestyle practices such as exercise, alcohol consumption, smoking etc. Adding these berries to your diet can also help to reduce heart disease risk factors.
Tiny and sweet, blueberries contain more sugar than any other berry, which makes them a terrific natural sweetener for juices, smoothies, or desserts. Blueberries are considered a superfood because they are packed with vitamins and minerals. Additionally, they offer some fibre content, though not as much as raspberries and blackberries.
Health tip: Remember it’s a superfood, so the benefits are numerous. These little berries can help in the healthy functioning of arteries. They boost the immune system and lower the risk of Type 2 diabetes. Furthermore, Healthline states that studies have shown that consuming blueberries improves patients’ sensitivity to insulin.
Of the various berries mentioned, blackberries may be the least familiar. Like raspberries, in shape and size, they are a very dark purple that appears black. When ripe, these berries are incredibly juicy, despite being low in sugar. Blackberries, compared to other berries (and not only those noted here) are touted as having the highest fibre content. They are equally high in vitamins A, C and K.
Health tip: A small bowl of blackberries is an excellent choice for a healthy snack. You can actually benefit from having it daily because it helps boost brain activity, and its anti-inflammatory properties help protect against heart disease.
We know we’ve only scratched the surface; there are many other types of berries, all chockful of antioxidants and other nutrients. However, we thought these four offered a good place to start. Next time you’re at the frozen section in the supermarket, or buying fresh produce, look out for any of these. Consumed in moderation, you can enjoy the numerous health benefits they offer.
Sources: Fitore, Healthline, Johns Hopkins Medicine and WebMD.