Blueberries, blackberries and strawberries are a rich source of vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants that have been cited in reducing risk factors for certain cancers, inflammatory diseases, age-related disorders, and cardiovascular and metabolic diseases. The power of their nutritional value comes from their rich, dark colors. Blueberries and blackberries both have the highest levels of antioxidant power, and strawberries boast the most vitamin C per serving of any fruit—even oranges. These fruits are low in fat, high in nutritional density and can easily be incorporated into any diet.
Antioxidants such as carotenoids (lutein, zeaxanthin) and flavanoids (rutin, resveratrol, quercetin) aid in maintaining eye health, reducing the risk of macular degeneration, cataracts and myopia. Anthocyanin, selenium and copper, all antioxidants, offer healing properties for neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease by preventing brain cell damage and restoring neuron health. These antioxidants, along with ellagic acid, also offer benefits in reducing cancer risk. Antioxidants are important because they offset the damage caused by free radicals in the body that are often the culprits of oxidative stress leading to chronic disease such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes.
The high fiber content of berries aids in digestion and overall gastrointestinal health. Fiber also plays a role in reducing “bad” cholesterol and lowering overall serum cholesterol and blood pressure levels, keeping the cardiovascular system in tip-top shape. Blood glucose levels are also affected by fiber intake in diseases such as diabetes.
Berries contain a high quantity of vitamins A, B complex, C and E, which help to boost the immune system and reduce inflammation. These vitamins are also considered antioxidants and help fight the effects of oxidative stress leading to chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and certain cancers.
Jill Quinn has been in the health and fitness industry for 12 years as a trainer, teacher and life coach. Specializing in Pilates, clinical exercise, wellness and prenatal fitness, Quinn has helped numerous clients tap into their potential and reach their goals. She has a master's degree in exercise science from Florida Atlantic University.