This week’s BeBetter Challenge is to incorporate berries into your diet! Aside from being refreshing and able to satisfy your sugar cravings, berries have a wide variety of health benefits.
Because berries are rich in antioxidants, they protect your body from free radicals that can damage cells, proteins, and DNA. A diet rich in antioxidants can not only protect against aging, but can also prevent the development of diseases like cancer that result from oxidative DNA damage. Blueberries are especially high in antioxidants and have been shown to directly increase antioxidant levels in the body.
Berries serve as a great snack, especially when dieting, because they are low in calories and high in nutrients. A serving of mixed berries is only 70 calories, so you can feel guilt-free when opting for a second serving! With a high fiber and liquid content, berries help you feel satiated longer than empty high calorie snacks. They can also aid in weight loss because they have high levels of phytochemicals, which also help protect cells from damage.
On top of being rich in antioxidants and nutrients, there are also some brain benefits that come with eating berries. Berries have been proven to keep us mentally sharp, as shown by studies published in the Annals of Neurology. Studies show women who eat about two servings of strawberries or one serving of blueberries a week experienced less mental decline over time than their peers who went without eating berries. Of the 16,010 women over age 70 that took part in this study, the women with the highest berry intake postponed cognitive decline by about two and a half years.
So, what are you waiting for? Buy some berries, either fresh or frozen, and enjoy!
Here are some ideas how you can incorporate berries into your diet:
Berry infused water
Gather your favorite combo of berries and place them in a glass bottle. Feel free to add some mint leaves if you’re feeling fancy! Add some water, cover the glass, and let the flavors sit for at least 30 minutes.
Fruit salad… yummy, yummy! Slice up some strawberries and combine them with fresh blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries. Mix them together and enjoy!
Frozen berries are a great alternative for late night ice cream cravings! You can easily buy a premade mixture of frozen berries at the grocery store or buy some fresh fruit and freeze them yourself!
No smoothie is complete without some berries! Throw your favorite berry mix into the blender and top off with some nutrient-dense vegetables. Smoothies are a perfect way to cool down on a hot summer day.