5 Reasons To Eat Berries!

The summer months are a wonderful time to eat fresh seasonal fruits and veggies. Berries are one of my favourite summer fruits.  Blueberries, strawberries and raspberries – they are all so good – and some of the healthiest foods to eat!

Here are 5 reasons you should be including more berries in your diet:

1. May help lower blood sugar and insulin.  Berries help increase insulin sensitivity and reduce your blood sugar response to high-carb meals. So if you’re enjoying pancakes for breakfast, adding some berries on top can reduce blood sugar spikes. Berries are also a good source of soluble fibre. Studies show that soluble fibre slows down the movement of food through your digestive tract, reducing hunger and increasing feelings of fullness, a win for weight management. 

In addition, the high fibre content of berries means you can reduce the fibre content from your total carb consumption – that they’re low in digestible or net carbs, which are calculated by subtracting fibre from total carbs.

Because fibre is not digestible, choosing high fibre carbohydrates is a great strategy for blood sugar control because you get in fewer carbs. To calculate net carbs for food all you do is subtract the fibre grams from the carbs. Net carbs = carbohydrates – fibre. Here are the carb and fibre counts for 3.5 ounces (100 grams) of berries.

  • Raspberries: 11.9 gm of carbs, 6.5 gm of fibre: net carb = 5.4 gm
  • Blackberries: 10.2 gm of carbs, 5.3 gm of fibre: net carb = 4.9 gm
  • Strawberries: 7.7 gm of carbs, 2.0 gm of fibre: net carb = 5.7 gm
  • Blueberries: 14.5 gm of carbs, 2.4 gm of fibre: net carb = 12.1 gm

2. Rich in antioxidants. Berries contain two main antioxidants: Vitamin C and anthocyanins. These antioxidants keep free radicals under control. Free radicals are unstable molecules that can damage our cells and cause oxidative stress. Blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries have the highest antioxidants – thanks to their darker pigments. 

3. Anti-Inflammatory. Berries have strong anti-inflammatory properties thanks to plant compounds known as anthocyanins. Inflammation is our body’s defense against infection or injury. Our lifestyle can also contribute to inflammation due to high stress, sedentary lifestyles and unhealthy diet choices. Studies have shown that antioxidants in berries may help lower inflammatory markers in the body and protect our cellular health.

4. Anti-aging. Berries are a good source of vitamin C, a key ingredient in anti-ageing skincare. Vitamin C is needed for collagen production as well. With age, our ability to fight off free radicals decreases. It leads to higher free radicals, which can wreak havoc on our cells, especially skin cells. In addition to aging, exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light from the sun or tanning beds, cigarette smoke, pollution, and a poor diet can increase free radical production in the skin. When your body has more free radicals than antioxidants, skin cells begin to weaken and show signs of aging. Dark berries, such as blueberries and raspberries, have a higher concentration of antioxidants which means more anti-aging benefits!

5. Enjoy them fresh or frozen.  Berries are usually available year-round in most grocery stores both fresh and frozen. Enjoy them fresh during the summer months and frozen when they are not in season. Either option contains high levels of antioxidants and nutrients. Here are some easy ways to add berries to your diet:

  • Eat them plain
  • In a salad 
  • With Greek yogurt or cottage cheese
  • Mix them into overnight oats
  • Make jam
  • Add them to smoothies
  • Add them to chia pudding 
  • Mix them into a waffle or pancake mix
  • Top cereal or oatmeal with them
  • Add them to baked goods such as muffins 
  • Purée them to make a sauce or a salad dressing
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