Whether you’re a fan of fruit or not, you’ve most likely come across and even eaten a large variety of fruits. And the same is the case when it comes to berries. Berries are extremely popular and healthy fruit. Berries are popular as they are small, easy to consume, sweet and packed with essential nutrients ideal for people of all ages. Berries are fresh and a natural source of vitamins, minerals and most importantly, sugar.
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If you’re the type of person who likes something sweet or enjoys the energy rush derived from sugar, berries and other fresh fruits are the best source for you. Though berries are healthy and highly available, it’s important to know the different types and what makes each of them unique.
The three most common types of berries are strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries. Not only are they all physically different, but they all have their own nutrition profile and are great for their reasons. Let’s break down each of the berries and learn which one may suit you best.
Strawberries are a fantastic superfood filled with essential nutrients. Its sweet and sour taste often makes it a hit amongst young children. What makes strawberries popular is that they’re bigger compared to most other berries and don’t require too many pieces to get full.
Strawberries have a high vitamin C profile and are great for heart health. It also contains fibre to help aid the bodies digestive system and promote its immune system. Strawberries also contain anthocyanins that help to protect blood vessels as well as improving a healthy nervous system. Strawberries are great for summer as they are best served best chilled. Its bright red colour also makes it great for food decoration.
One cup (152 grams) of strawberries provides:
- Calories: 49
- Fibre: 3 grams
- Vitamin C: 150% of the RDI (Recommended Daily Intake)
- Manganese: 29% of the RDI
Like strawberries, raspberries are similar in colour and grow well in warmer weather. Raspberries are significantly smaller than strawberries but are incredibly dense with a good nutrition profile. Though substantially less in vitamin C as opposed to strawberries, raspberries are a great natural source of vitamin K. It is essential for blood health. It may also lower blood pressure by preventing mineralization that causes difficulty for the heart to pump blood freely.
Just like strawberries, raspberries also contain anthocyanins that also promote better blood health. Raspberries are very sweet, but can also be very sour. For those who don’t like the bitter taste, you can blend them with other fruits or eat them alongside more savoury or sweet tasting foods.
One cup (123 grams) of raspberries provides:
- Calories: 64
- Fibre: 8 grams
- Vitamin C: 54% of the RDI
- Vitamin K: 12% of the RDI
- Manganese: 41% of the RDI
Unlike strawberries and raspberries, blueberries are far less sweet. Of most fruits and foods, blueberries are one of the best natural sources of antioxidants, making it one of the most popular of all the berries. Flavonoids belong to a family of polyphenols antioxidants and are the antioxidants that give the most impact in blueberries. Antioxidants play an essential role in the body as they protect it from free radicals. Free radicals are unstable molecules that damage your cells and contribute to ageing and lead to diseases such as cancer.
Like the other berries, blueberries contain the right amount of vitamin C, K, and fibre. These are all essential nutrients for improved heart health, immune system, and general health. Blueberries are commonly seen as the healthiest berry due to their antioxidant profile and are noticeably less sweet. Though sometimes it is the pricier fruit, it’s well worth it due to its health-boosting properties and delicious taste.
One cup (148 grams) of blueberries provides the following nutrients:
- Calories: 84
- Fibre: 3.6 grams
- Vitamin C: 24% of the RDI
- Vitamin K: 36% of the RDI
- Manganese: 25% of the RDI
Other Berries to try
Acai berries contain high amounts of antioxidants, which may help reduce blood cholesterol, oxidative stress and even reduce pain.
Goji berries contain a high level of vitamin A and zeaxanthin. Both are important for healthy eye functioning and vision quality. They are common in East Asian countries and have recently become available in western countries.
Cranberries and cranberry juice are effective at preventing urinary tract and stomach infections and may benefit heart health. As cranberries are incredibly sour, it is uncommon to eat it naturally or raw. It means the most common way to consume it is to juice it with other fruits or water.
Grapes may not belong in the berry family, but they are just as healthy, just as convenient and just as tasty as berries. The seeds within the grapes and its skin contain high amounts of antioxidants and can help reduce blood cholesterol and type 2 diabetes.
Recipes with Berries
1. Fruit Salad
Berries work well when eaten along with other fruits. Mix your favourite type of berries, along with other fruits to create a fruit salad. This can be served as a summertime snack or a dessert.
2. Breakfast Smoothie
Berries are great to blend with other fruits and foods. A tasty breakfast smoothie should contain either oatmeal, yoghurt, or both along with berries and other fruits. By adding berries, you won’t just get a nutritional boost, but you’ll get the natural sweetness without having to add sugars.
3. Food Decoration
You can decorate food platters and even desserts using berries. It’s an unusual appearance, and the array of different sizes and shapes of berries make it great for cake decoration and food toppings.
So, which berries are the best? It depends on preference and the purpose of why you’re eating them. If you like something a little sweeter, strawberries are your choice. If you prefer sour, then raspberries it is! For less intensity in both, blueberries are the best choice.
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