1. Fight disease
Berries are some of nature’s best sources of antioxidants, which guard against heart disease, cancer and age-related blindness. Of the berries commonly seen on produce shelves, blueberries contain the most. For even more antioxidant power, seek out elderberries, black currants and chokeberries.
2. Boost vitamins
One cup of strawberries contains an entire day’s worth of heart-healthy vitamin C. Studies also show that people who eat one serving of strawberries per day tend to have higher blood levels of the B vitamin folate, which helps keep arteries clear.
3. Reduce cancer risk
A U.S. study found that pterostilbene, abundant in blueberries, may help protect against colon cancer, the second most common cancer in women. Both blackberries and raspberries contain ellagic acid, a phytochemical that helps prevent cancer. Cooking doesn’t seem to destroy it, so even jams, pies and crisps may confer this health benefit.
4. Provide fibre
A half-cup of blueberries contains almost two grams of fibre—about the same amount as a slice of whole-wheat bread. Also high in soluble fibres that help lower cholesterol are blackberries, raspberries and strawberries.
5. Add potassium
Black, red and white currants are all excellent sources of potassium, a mineral that helps lower blood pressure. Gooseberries are also a good source. Look for new varieties that are more palatable for eating raw.
This article was originally titled "Berry Bliss," in the Summer 2008 issue. Subscribe to Best Health today and never miss an issue!