Berries may come in small packages, but they are highly nutritional and possess many health benefits. Most importantly, they add the perfect amount of sweetness to any diet, without any added sugar!
It may surprise you to know that raspberries, blackberries, and strawberries are not actually berries from a botanical point of view; they are aggregate fruits. They contain seeds from different ovaries of a single flower. In aggregate fruits like blackberries, the individual “fruitlets” making up the fruit can be clearly seen. A true berry is a fruit which grows from one flower with one ovary. And the largest berry in the world is really heavy: the pumpkin!
Ever wonder what the tiny hairs on raspberries and blackberries are for? They are called ‘styles’, which are serve to protect the berry from damage. Styles are completely safe for consumption.
And if you’ve ever thought your blueberries just need some washing to rid themselves of the silver color on the exterior, which is called ‘bloom’, it actually acts as a natural barrier to seal in moisture.
Blackberries are one of the few fruits that contain heart-protective Vitamin E. They are also rich in the polyphenol, tannin, which help in tightening the tissues, alleviating inflammation and ailments regarding the stomach.
Strawberries contain vitamin C, which helps keep skin firm and smooth. Strawberries also contain Vitamin A, which is vital to healthy hair and skin. They can also be used to treat headaches because they contain natural salicylates, which is an ingredient that’s found in aspirin.
Blackberries and strawberries are very high in ellagic acid which is an antioxidant which helps make potential cancer-causing chemicals inactive. Ellagic acid reduces the genetic damage caused by carcinogens like tobacco smoke and air pollution. They also contain other antioxidants that help lower cholesterol and ward off cardiovascular disease. Moreover, some of the antioxidants in berries help fight the aging process. For example, blackberries are high in the specific antioxidant, anthocyanins, which give them their colour and fight off old-age diseases.
One of the lesser known facts about berries: frozen berries may be better for you. Research from South Dakota State University found that the ice crystals formed during freezing disrupt the structure of the berry’s plant tissue, making their antioxidants more available to the body.
Furthermore, berries benefits athletes in a special way. Daily blueberry consumption has been known to significantly reduce oxidative stress and inflammation, and prevent delayed onset muscle soreness, which is usually caused by intense and regular workouts.
Berries are not difficult to add to our diet. Just sprinkle some with your oatmeal in the morning or blend some for your post-workout smoothie. They can also be added to salads, since they go well with balsamic vinegar or just eat them by themselves as a snack. However you choose to eat it, you’ll surely be surprised by these powerful fruits!