You often hear nutrition experts extol the virtues of fruits and vegetables because of their nutrient content. Eating a variety of vibrantly colored fruits and vegetables can ensure that you benefit from a wide range of vitamin, minerals and phytonutrients, which are plant-based compounds that are associated with health benefits. The USDA's My Plate that has replaced the traditional food pyramid suggests that you fill half of every lunch or dinner plate with fruits and vegetables. Certainly, most American currently fall far short of the number of servings of fruits and vegetables they (and their kids) should be consuming daily.
I attended The Berry Health Benefits Symposium and found exciting research ongoing that suggests that including a variety of berries in your daily diet can have a host of health benefits. All berries contain fiber and based on color variations, particular vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients. Cranberries contain potassium and vitamin C, and polyphenols and flavanols which are associated with helping to prevent the adhesion of certain bacteria, like E.coli, typically associated with urinary tract infections. They may also help to prevent gum disease and stomach ulcers. Cranberries also contain antioxidants so they may have implications in heart health as well. Blueberries are a good source of vitamin C and manganese. They register one of the highest levels of antioxidant activity, making them able to neutralize free radicals, which are compounds associated with many diseases including cancer, heart disease, and Alzheimer's disease. Strawberries are rich in vitamin C, Folate, and potassium and contain the phytonutrient flavanoids ellagitannins and ellagic acid, which appear to have highly anti-inflammatory properties.
Especially exciting at this particular seminar were the presentations that highlighted ongoing studies on berries and their promising health-promoting impact. Below is a list of studies currently being done on berries:
A study looking at the possible impact of berry polyphenols on recurrent breast cancer
Prevention of ulcerative colitis using raspberries
Research looking at the impact of berry consumption on triple negative breast cancer
Exploring the possible impact of berries on metabolism
A study looking at the use of whole berries (in the form of berry smoothies) to impact type 2 diabetes.
A study to assess the impact of red raspberries on bowel movement regularity
Assessment of berries and their possible impact on the aging brain
The therapeutic potential of blueberries on multiple sclerosis
The impact of blueberry consumption on heart disease and cognition
Studies looking at blueberries' positive impact on hypertension
A study looking at the possible positive impact of cranberries on metabolic syndrome
A study looking at the possible impact of proanthocyanins from cranberries on bone destruction associated with periodontal disease.
What experts can say is that fresh and frozen berries are a great health food to include in your daily diet. Add them to cereal, yogurt, muffins, burgers, salads, smoothies, or just grab a handful and enjoy!!
Published On: March 28, 2012