For a healthy snack option, you can't beat berries!
Two items that appear most often on people’s health to-do lists are
to 1) lose weight and 2) get healthier. But with so many snack options
appearing at every turn, the temptation to give in (and give up) is an
While snacking seems to be a permanent feature of the American diet, it
is possible to turn the urge to snack into a habit that’s actually
good for you. And studies show that colorful, snackable berries make for
a powerful ally in preventing disease and improving overall health.
growing kids and ideal for packing in lunches, berries are among nature’s top
“super foods” that have been shown to provide an impressive
number of benefits to the human body. And since berries are as loaded
with flavor as they are nutrients, they are deeply satisfying, especially
for those who have a sweet tooth.
To keep this healthy habit going, have berries close at hand for whenever
the snack attack hits. And don’t forget to include them in everyday
dishes like cereal, salads and smoothies, as well as in
recipes for healthy homemade granola bars and desserts. Berries are nature’s
best snack, so they can be – and should be -- enjoyed often.
Here are five of the top reasons why berries are your healthiest snack option.
Berries May Curb Cancer
Blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, cranberries and blackberries are
loaded with antioxidants and polyphenols, such as flavonoids, which are
powerful anti-cancer compounds. Flavonoids are often cited in cancer-prevention
diets, and are the focus of continuing studies related to cancer prevention.
Vitamins A, C and E protect cells from damage and have also been linked
with lower risks of cancer. Natural foods that are highly colored, such
as berries, deep green leaves and orange yams, are considered central
to the “eat the rainbow” anti-cancer diet.
Berries Help Prevent Heart Disease
The same antioxidants that help to prevent cancer are also helpful in preventing
heart disease. In addition, berries contain Resveratrol, a type of natural
phenol, thought to help lower inflammation and prevent clogged arteries.
Studies show that a diet rich in raw fruits and vegetables, including
berries, can reduce one’s chances of having a heart attack.
Berries Help Prevent High Blood Pressure
In addition to heart disease, inflammation is thought to contribute to
high blood pressure, a serious health risk. Researchers and dietitians
alike recommend a diet high in fresh fruits and vegetables to reduce inflammation,
with an emphasis on berries. A recent study in the
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that eating one cup of strawberries or blueberries per week can reduce
the risk of developing high blood pressure.
Berries May Help with Alzheimer's Disease
The super-antioxidant qualities in berries offer hope against
Alzheimer’s, too. According to the Alzheimer’s Society, increased intake of
antioxidants such as those in berries may help prevent certain changes
in the brain that cause Alzheimer’s. Research in this area is still
in its early stages, but some data suggests that the polyphenolics in
berries may also prevent the buildup of damaging toxins in the brain.
And a study in the
Annals of Neurology found that, of women over age of 70, those with the highest berry intake
postponed cognitive decline by over two years.
Berries Help Prevent Weight Gain
In addition to the satisfying sweetness of berries mentioned above, berries
are high in fiber and water, which helps people feel full quicker. And
that feeling of fullness is probably the most important part of managing
one’s diet plan. For those who simply must have something sweet
to satisfy cravings, berries provide the best option, since they contain
fewer carbs and sugars than most other fruits. For instance, blackberries
and raspberries are full of great flavor, but contain the lowest sugar
of all the berries. So enjoy!
Do you have any berry snack ideas? Please leave a comment below.
This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical
care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.