When we think of berries, we think of dessert, like garnishings on a cake or something to throw into a fruit salad. But now we know that their value in our diets are so much more! And the more berries we eat, the better! Recent research on the health benefits of eating berries such as blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, cranberries, strawberries and others reveals that these delectable little fruits help fight or prevent cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular disease, stem the aging process and mental deterioration, and even help shrink hemorrhoids!
Research at the Hollings Cancer Center at the Medical University in South Carolina has shown, for example, that ellagic acid found in red raspberries kills or causes cancer cells to die, and may significantly inhibit the growth of skin, colon, esophageal and lung cancer in mice. According to the American Diabetes Association berries in general are ideal fruit for diabetics because berries are high in fiber and low in calories and carbohydrates, release sugars slowly, making them low on the glycemic level.
Blueberries, with anthocyanins, vitamins A, C, B and E, zinc, copper and magnesium among others, help maintain our immune system, fight free radicals that destroy cells, and with high amounts of lutein, help improve vision. In addition, according to the Alzheimer’s Association, blueberries help keep the brain sharp, combating the development of Alzheimer’s disease.
Cranberries by virtue of their proanthocyanidins are known to help keep the urinary tract clear of bacteria and thus prevent and cure urinary tract infections.
Strawberries, packed full of Vitamin C, folic acid, potassium and manganese can improve heart function by reducing blood pressure. Research has also shown that eating strawberries (preferably organic) on a regular basis can help boost memory, reduce the risk of cancer, as well as inflammation from lupus and rheumatoid arthritis.
Blackberries and blueberries, as well as black and red currant berries have been found to help shrink inflamed hemorrhoids, reduce pain and to tone and strengthen hemorrhoidal veins.
Berries may not always be found on our grocery shopping lists because of their comparatively higher prices, especially when making our choices of which fruit to buy: A 12 ounce package of frozen raspberries at $3.00 or a package of blueberries at $3.98 may seem too much to pay in comparison to a five pound bag of apples for the same price. However, we may not even flinch when putting down approximately the same dollar amount or more for a package of cookies or donuts, which, of course, have little redeeming health value when we consider their content in saturated fats, cholesterol, sugar, with practically no vitamins or minerals or even fiber.
Berries, on the other hand, have it all. They are high in fiber, low in calories, with no fat grams, packed full of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, worth every cent, especially when compared to the “cost” of a triple bypass or cancer chemotherapy. . . .