Breakfast wouldn’t be breakfast without the mandatory berries, all of which are packed full of antioxidant goodness.

Berries are also low in calories. Blueberries contain 57 calories per 100 grams; strawberries contain 33 per 100 grams; blackberries contain 43 calories per 100 grams and raspberries contain 53 calories per 100 grams.

Blueberries are packed full of antioxidants. They contain phytonutrients called anthocyanidins, which help in the process of neutralizing free radical damage to cells. Blueberries may also help prevent heart disease, cancer and other conditions such as hemorrhoids, glaucoma and peptic ulcers.

From a recent study carried out by Tufts University, where 50 common fruit and vegetables were analysed for their antioxidant properties, blueberries were consistently ranked at the top. Blueberries contain substances that slow the ageing process down and reduce cell damage that inevitably can lead to cancer.

Strawberries are high in antioxidant phytonutrients called phenols. Phenols are responsible for supporting good health and protecting us from disease. Studies have shown that strawberries may also help protect the brain in an antioxidant capacity. As well as being packed with antioxidants, they are a good source of fibre, vitamin c, manganese, vitamin K, omega 3 fatty acids, magnesium and vitamin B.

Blackberries another powerful antioxidant, contain vitamin C, E and ellagic acid, which help fight against chronic disease and cancer. Blackberries also contain a fibre known as pectin, which helps lower cholesterol. Laboratory studies have shown that Blackberries can contribute to stopping the spread of colon cancer cells as well as preventing mouth cancers.

Raspberries contain antioxidants such as Vitamin C, gallic acid and quercetin that help fight against heart and circulatory disease, cancer and age related decline. They have also been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties and are high in ellagic acid, a known chemo-preventative.

It is widely accepted that added sugars such as sucrose and fructose can be bad for our health and as fructose is naturally occurring in fruit; that eating fruit must be harmful. This is simply not the case as the amount of fructose in fruit is very small, compared to added sucrose and fructose in pre-packaged foods. It is impossible to overeat fructose by eating fruit.

The advantages of eating fruit far outweigh the disadvantages; but we must think about reducing our intake of eating foods containing unrefined sugars in pre-packaged products. Of course when anything is consumed in excess it can be harmful, but that very much depends on the dosage and does not apply to fruit.

Fruit in itself is fine. As one of our 5 a day, I believe it’s important we continue to eat them.

6 Jul, 2016

2 thoughts on “Berries

  1. This is a really informative blog.

    I remember watching a documentary a few years ago about the positive effects of Blueberries on childrens’ performance in school exams, so this and the antioxidant qualities you mention really do confirm all berries are a ‘superfoods.’

    It is a shame they are so expensive in the UK and also once picked they don’t last long, so we invariably have to buy them two to three times a week to ensure they are fresh when we eat them.

    1. I didn’t see the documentary, but what the documentary said, makes perfect sense. I think as long as we eat foods, including fruit in moderation, not too much and not too little; I think we will all benefit greatly from all types of Berries.

      Where we tend to go wrong is that we still continue to eat foods that already contain unrefined sugars, so when we eat fruit we’re increasing our sugar content. Where as packaged food contains artificial sugar, berries and other fruit contains only natural sugar and that is perfectly acceptable.

      I remember writing to one of the bigger food chains, M&S asking them to think about reducing the amount of sugar they put in their pre-packaged foods, having checked out those ingredients in-house. Not surprisingly, they didn’t agree, but considering we already have an obesity problem in the UK and the fact that most of their foods contain unrefined sugars to give those foods flavour; I think they should do something about it.

      Whilst the government aren’t insisting, neither will the supermarkets and/or the grocery stores.

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