Most of us embark on a quest to keep our body fit, healthy, and sound amid the unending, long-winded, and constantly changing food and nutrition landscape. The mission to discover a source of youthful energy that will keep us going and even make us look and feel young is often fraught with a dizzying, sometimes incomprehensible array of “super foods”, diet and vitamin supplements, and unorthodox tips and methods. The task of having to discern which makes sense and which doesn’t can, more often than not, be daunting.
There is, however, one little, simple, and easy solution that meets a lot of your healthy needs and yet often goes overlooked, and that is, the berry. Berries are fruits which may be tiny in stature but are proverbial food and health giants amongst all the other bigger foods in terms of the amount of vitamins, minerals, and health benefits that they contain.
In order to fully comprehend just how immensely and wonderfully beneficial berries can be to you and your health, we must first define some essential concepts.
The first term is “antioxidant,” and the berry is truly rich with these. You have probably heard of vitamin supplements and other health products boasting of their antioxidant content, but just what exactly is this seemingly important component? As the word itself implies, an antioxidant is something that tries to prevent or limit the oxidation of molecules and cells in your body.
Oxidation occurs as a result of chemical reactions in your body which, in a chain reaction, create free radicals. Though they may sound harmless, free radicals can actually greatly damage the cells in your body without discretion or control. These effects can range anywhere from the degradation and advanced aging of your skin cells to serious, sometimes irreparable, damage to your major organs, such as your heart, and may even cause cancer. With this in mind, it is so easy to see why antioxidants are an important and great tool in making sure that your body is flushed free of free radicals and is as healthy as it can possibly be.
Fortunately, within this article you will discover how rich berries are with antioxidants and how easily accessible they are to you.
Another term that we need to be familiar with is “carotenoid”. Carotenoids are a form of antioxidant which serve the function of providing plants with their vibrant pigment and color. As previously mentioned, by virtue of being an antioxidant, carotenoids are essential in helping your body control and exterminate free radicals, which provide the general health benefits of having revitalized cells, protecting your heart from disease, preventing cancer, and strengthening your immune system.
In particular, carotenoids help promote better communication between cells, which may sound like a ridiculous idea, but it has been hypothesized that bad communication between cells leads to the overgrowth of cells in a certain area, which can then lead to cancer. Another factor that can be considered special with carotenoids is that they are also abundant in Vitamin A.
Perhaps one of the first things that a person will notice about berries, whether they be strawberries, blueberries, or blackberries, is that these berries have a very noticeable and eye catching color to their skins. You could easily assume that this explosion of color is just nature’s way of compensating for the berries’ small size, but the fact of the matter is, their color is actually because of a pigment called anthocyanin.
Despite the fact that this pigment is responsible for the vibrant color of berries, they are practically completely odorless and flavorless. However, anthocyanin certainly packs a punch in terms of the perks and benefits it gives to your body. Perhaps the biggest health boost it can provide is the fact that anthocyanin can greatly help in the prevention of the development of cancer and tumors. Anthocyanin is also very useful in lessening the inflammation in your body, as it can act as an anti-inflammatory agent which, in turn, benefits your body in a multitude of ways.
One such way is that the risk of heart disease is confronted and prevented, also due to the fact that anthocyanin can help maintain your blood pressure level, cholesterol level, and strengthen your overall cardiovascular system. Anthocyanin can also aid with the treatment of diabetes with its ability to regulate metabolism. Other benefits anthocyanin can offer you include improving your vision/ eyesight, relieving you of your allergies, and treating any ulcers you might have.
One chemical found in berries that is most probably not commonly known but still plays an important role in keeping your body healthy is the chemical polyphenol. Much like anthocyanin, polyphenol can also act as an effective agent in the prevention of cancer and similar diseases in your body. Berries, in particular, are a good source of polyphenol because the kind of polyphenol that is found in berries is essential in maintaining a healthy, robust, and relief-filled environment for your heart. This can lead to the reversal of heart conditions, such as releasing stress from the heart’s arteries and the relief of chronic pains, which, if left unattended, can lead to some very drastic and even fatal heart illnesses.
Polyphenol also has anti-inflammatory properties, which further reinforce the ability of berries to assist in maintaining blood pressure, metabolism, and cholesterol levels, which in turn help regulate diabetes, allergies, and arthritis.
Another unsung hero of the berry is the carotenoid vitamin lutein. Mostly concentrated in our eyes, particularly our retinas, lutein is an essential and irreplaceable necessity for good vision. Therefore, it goes without saying that having a steady supply of lutein in your diet, particularly from berries, is extremely helpful in ensuring that your eyesight becomes sharp and healthy through the prevention of macular degeneration and of eye cataracts.
Lutein is also particularly helpful in maintaining the health and youthfulness of your skin, aiding in the flushing away of dead cells and in the regeneration of new ones, due to its antioxidant properties. It goes without saying that lutein is also helpful with regard to your circular system, ensuring proper circulation, promoting healthy blood vessels, and the regulation of your blood levels. This greatly reduces the risk of heart conditions, diabetes, and even cancer from developing. There is also the possibility that lutein can help prevent colon cancer, in particular.
It truly is astonishing how such a small fruit can pack such a powerful and potent nutritional punch. Whether you have a problem with your metabolism, blood pressure levels, skin quality, or your eyesight, there is practically nothing that the inclusion of berries into your diet cannot help with.
Now, the question is how are you able to consume most of these superberries and superfruits every day? It will cost you a bomb if you were to purchase these berries fruits individually.
About the Author:
Emma Deangela is the best selling author of The Alkaline Diet Program and 80/20 Fat Loss. She has helped over tens of thousands of men and women to lose weight and transform their health with sound nutrition advice.
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