Whether you want to boost your health or enjoy a sweetly tart fruit, berries are a great option. How do you know which berries to choose? Which ones are the healthiest? In this article, we will outline what many health experts consider to be the top berries for your health. Plus, their health benefits may surprise you!
Berries are among the healthiest foods on the planet because they have incredibly high concentrations of antioxidant compounds. Incorporating them into your diet can help enhance energy levels, improve immune function, aid digestion, and optimize cognitive and cardiovascular functions. Read on to learn about the best berry options for your health.
Native to the Brazilian Amazon region, acai berries grow on acai palms. In recent years, they have become incredibly popular in the health world because of their high antioxidant content. It’s as if you can’t go anywhere without seeing an acai bowl establishment, or at least one on a restaurant menu. Acai berries are one of the best sources of antioxidant polyphenols, potentially containing as much as 10 times more antioxidants than blueberries. Consuming raw acai berries can help increase blood antioxidant levels, which help to reduce chemicals that lead to oxidative stress. Additionally, acai berry pulp may help reduce blood sugar and blood cholesterol levels in overweight individuals. Keep in mind that people typically consume acai berries in dried or freeze-dried form, which can alter the nutritional content.
Are blueberries the most well-known berries of the berry bunch? That is up for debate, but they are some of the best berries to consume if you look at their antioxidant levels. One study found that eating at least three servings of blueberries per week may save women from a heart attack. In other research, blueberries exhibited flavonoids that may have the potential to lower blood pressure and prevent hypertension. Health experts attribute these benefits to the anthocyanins in blueberries, which may enhance the function of arteries. A large observational study found that people who consume blueberries experience slower rates of cognitive decline.
It’s rare for people to consume fresh cranberries outside of the fall and winter season, so people opt for cranberry juice or dried cranberries. Fresh cranberries have the best benefits, the primary of which is the ability to reduce the risk of urinary tract infections (UTIs). Several studies found that drinking fresh cranberry juice can reduce the risk of UTIs. Researchers identified certain properties in cranberries that prevent E. Coli bacteria from adhering to the wall of the bladder or urinary tract. This is the reason cranberries may reduce the risk of infection. Additionally, cranberries may benefit heart health by helping to lower cholesterol, blood pressure, and oxidative stress.
Popular in the dessert world, raspberries offer a sweet yet slightly tart flavor that is almost unmatched. They contain ellagitannins, which are antioxidant polyphenols that help reduce oxidative stress. One study found that cyclists who consumed raspberries experienced a significant decrease in oxidative stress induced by exercise. Although red raspberries are the most commonly consumed varieties, black raspberries exhibit more impressive health benefits. For example, one study linked the consumption of black raspberries to lower risk factors for heart disease, including blood pressure and blood cholesterol. Other studies found that black raspberries may reduce inflammation in people with metabolic syndrome, but more research is still necessary.
Ahhh, the lovely strawberry is an undeniably delicious berry that exhibits bold flavor and even bolder health benefits. Strawberries contain anthocyanins, which are antioxidants that boost the body’s activity of antibodies and T-cells, which work to fight off infections. Strawberries are also rich in vitamin C, a known immune booster. One of the more impressive benefits of strawberries is that they may reduce inflammation in people with arthritis. One study found that women who ate a diet high in strawberries reduced their risk of developing arthritis by 33%, compared to those who did not eat strawberries. Eating strawberries may also help lower cholesterol levels. In fact, studies show that daily consumption of strawberries can lower cholesterol by up to 12%.
Goji berries, or wolfberries, are native to China and used in traditional medicinal practices. Nowadays, they are a popular ingredient in breakfast cereal, trail mix, and acai bowls. Goji berries exhibit high levels of vitamin A and zeaxanthin, both of which are imperative for eye health. One study found that older adults who consumed 14 grams of goji berry formulation were able to reduce age-related decline in eye health. A similar study suggested that eating goji berries may raise blood zeaxanthin levels, a sign that they may improve vision. Like the other berries on this list, goji berries are naturally rich in antioxidant polyphenols. One study found that drinking goji berry juice daily for two weeks increased metabolism and reduced waist size in overweight people.