Health Benefits of Berries
Berries are a great food to include in your paleo diet on a regular basis, for so many reasons. Berries can offer a lot of the sweet flavor you might be missing from your typical dessert choices that aren’t paleo-friendly options. They’re also full of nutrients, antioxidants, vitamins and fiber, and there are many ways to incorporate them into your paleolithic cooking. Studies have shown that consuming berries on a regular basis can slow down the aging process and help prevent diseases such as cancer and heart disease.
One of the most valuable qualities of many berries is that they are full of antioxidants. Antioxidants work against the oxidation of the body that can speed-up the aging process, and lead to diseases such as Alzheimer’s, cancer and dementia.
Blueberries are a popular choice, for both their great taste, as well as the fact that the tiny berries are a nutritional powerhouse. Blueberries are full of vitamin C, as well as manganese. They’re also a great source of fiber, which is an important component of keeping your heart healthy and your cholesterol low. Blueberries are also one of the best sources of antioxidants, as far as berries go.
Strawberries are another common choice of berries, and they are very low in sugar. In fact, strawberries are among the lowest in sugar fruits. Strawberries also contain a chemical compound called phenol, that is an anti-inflammatory. Inflammation in the body can lead to complications such as arthritis and asthma. The Archives of Ophthalmology also released a recent study showing that consuming three or more servings of strawberries per day can help prevent age-related macular degeneration of the eyes.
Raspberries, in addition to having the health benefits found in blueberries and strawberries, also contain Xylitol, which is a sugar substitute. Xylitol is absorbed more slowly than regular sugar, and doesn’t cause a spike in blood sugar levels, like traditional sugar does, so it can be beneficial for people with diabetes. Blackberries are very similar to raspberries, and they also offer additional health benefits, including the strengthening of blood vessels, which can aid in the prevention of heart disease and eye problems. They also help to relieve inflammation in the intestines, reduce hemorrhoids and aid in stomach disorders.
Although blueberries, strawberries, blackberries and raspberries may be among the most common berry choices for many people, cranberries are actually one of the most beneficial foods for overall health and disease prevention. Cranberries can help prevent infections, such as those in the urinary tract and research has shown they’re also beneficial in killing bacteria found in plaque on the teeth, as well as bacteria that can lead to stomach cancer and ulcers. There is also early research being performed that shows it’s possible that cranberries can increase levels of good cholesterol, and lower levels of bad cholesterol, and they may help prevent the development or growth of tumors.
There are great, delicious was to get the health benefits of berries into your paleo diet. A few examples include, berry smoothies, topping your salads with various berries, as a snack with balsamic vinegar and nuts, or mixed in with vegetables, which works particularly well when cranberries are used.