Berries are among the healthiest foods you can eat.
They’re delicious, nutritious, and provide a number of impressive health benefits.
Here are 11 good reasons to include berries in your diet.
Berries contain antioxidants, which help keep free radicals under control.
Free radicals are unstable molecules that are beneficial in small amounts but can damage your cells when their numbers get too high, causing oxidative stress.
Berries are a great source of antioxidants, such as anthocyanins, ellagic acid, and resveratrol. In addition to protecting your cells, these plant compounds may reduce disease risk
One study showed that blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries have the highest antioxidant activity of commonly consumed fruits, next to pomegranates.
In fact, several studies have confirmed that the antioxidants in berries may help reduce oxidative stress.
One study in healthy men found that consuming a single, 10-ounce (300-gram) portion of blueberries helped protect their DNA against free radical damage.
In another study in healthy people, eating 17 ounces (500 grams) of strawberry pulp every day for 30 days decreased a pro-oxidant marker by 38%.
SUMMARYBerries are high in antioxidants like anthocyanins, which may protect your cells from free radical damage.
2. May help improve blood sugar and insulin response
Berries may improve your blood sugar and insulin levels.
Test-tube and human studies suggest that they may protect your cells from high blood sugar levels, help increase insulin sensitivity, and reduce blood sugar and insulin response to high-carb meals.
Importantly, these effects appear to occur in both healthy people and those with insulin resistance.
In one study in healthy women, eating 5 ounces (150 grams) of puréed strawberries or mixed berries with bread led to a 24–26% reduction in insulin levels, compared to consuming the bread alone.
Moreover, in a six-week study, obese people with insulin resistance who drank a blueberry smoothie twice per day experienced greater improvements in insulin sensitivity than those who consumed berry-free smoothies.
SUMMARYBerries may improve blood sugar and insulin response when consumed with high-carb foods or included in smoothies.
3. High in fiber
Berries are a good source of fiber, including soluble fiber. Studies show that consuming soluble fiber slows down the movement of food through your digestive tract, leading to reduced hunger and increased feelings of fullness.
This may decrease your calorie intake and make weight management easier.
What’s more, fiber helps reduce the number of calories you absorb from mixed meals. One study found that doubling your fiber intake could make you absorb up to 130 fewer calories per day.
In addition, the high fiber content of berries means that they’re low in digestible or net carbs, which are calculated by subtracting fiber from total carbs.
Here are the carb and fiber counts for 3.5 ounces (100 grams) of berries:
- Raspberries: 11.9 grams of carbs, 6.5 of which are fiber
- Blackberries: 10.2 grams of carbs, 5.3 of which are fiber
- Strawberries: 7.7 grams of carbs, 2.0 of which are fiber
- Blueberries: 14.5 grams of carbs, 2.4 of which are fiber
Note that a typical serving size for berries is 1 cup, which converts to about 4.4–5.3 ounces (125–150 grams) depending on the type.
Because of their low net carb content, berries are a low-carb-friendly food.
SUMMARYBerries contain fiber, which may increase feelings of fullness, as well as reduce appetite and the number of calories your body absorbs from mixed meals.
4. Provide many nutrients
Berries are low in calories and extremely nutritious. In addition to being high in antioxidants, they also contain several vitamins and minerals.
Berries, especially strawberries, are high in vitamin C. In fact, 1 cup (150 grams) of strawberries provides a whopping 150% of the RDI for vitamin C.
With the exception of vitamin C, all berries are fairly similar in terms of their vitamin and mineral content.
Below is the nutrition content of a 3.5-ounce (100-gram) serving of blackberries:
- Calories: 43
- Vitamin C: 35% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI)
- Manganese: 32% of the RDI
- Vitamin K1: 25% of the RDI
- Copper: 8% of the RDI
- Folate: 6% of the RDI
The calorie count for 3.5 ounces (100 grams) of berries ranges from 32 for strawberries to 57 for blueberries, making berries some of the lowest-calorie fruits around.
SUMMARYBerries are low in calories yet rich in several vitamins and minerals, especially vitamin C and manganese.
5. Help fight inflammation
Berries have strong anti-inflammatory properties.
Inflammation is your body’s defense against infection or injury.
However, modern lifestyles often lead to excessive, long-term inflammation due to increased stress, inadequate physical activity, and unhealthy food choices.
This type of chronic inflammation is believed to contribute to conditions like diabetes, heart disease, and obesity.
Studies suggest that the antioxidants in berries may help lower inflammatory markers.
In one study in overweight people, those drinking a strawberry beverage with a high-carb, high-fat meal noticed a more significant decrease in certain inflammatory markers than the control group.
SUMMARYBerries may help reduce inflammation and decrease your risk of heart disease and other health problems.
6. May help lower cholesterol levels
Berries are a heart-healthy food.
Black raspberries and strawberries have been shown to help lower cholesterol in people who are obese or have metabolic syndrome.
In an 8-week study, adults with metabolic syndrome who consumed a beverage made from freeze-dried strawberries daily experienced an 11% drop in LDL (bad) cholesterol.
What’s more, berries may help prevent LDL cholesterol from becoming oxidized or damaged, which is believed to be a major risk factor for heart disease.
In a controlled study in obese people, those eating 1.5 ounces (50 grams) of freeze-dried blueberries for 8 weeks noticed a 28% reduction in their oxidized LDL levels.
SUMMARYBerries have been shown to lower LDL (bad) cholesterol levels and help protect it from becoming oxidized, which may reduce your risk of heart disease.
7. May be good for your skin
Berries may help reduce skin wrinkling, as their antioxidants help control free radicals, one of the leading causes of skin damage that contributes to aging.
Though research is limited, ellagic acid appears responsible for some of the skin-related benefits of berries.
Test-tube and animal studies suggest that this antioxidant may protect skin by blocking the production of enzymes that break down collagen in sun-damaged skin.
Collagen is a protein that is part of your skin’s structure. It allows your skin to stretch and remain firm. When collagen is damaged, your skin may sag and develop wrinkles.
In one study, applying ellagic acid to the skin of hairless mice exposed to ultraviolet light for eight weeks decreased inflammation and helped protect collagen from damage.
SUMMARYBerries contain the antioxidant ellagic acid, which may help decrease wrinkling and other signs of skin aging related to sun exposure.
8. May help protect against cancer
Several antioxidants in berries, including anthocyanins, ellagic acid, and resveratrol, may reduce cancer risk.
Specifically, animal and human studies suggest that berries may protect against cancer of the esophagus, mouth, breast, and colon.
In a study in 20 people with colon cancer, eating 2 ounces (60 grams) of freeze-dried raspberries for 1–9 weeks improved tumor markers in some participants, though not all.
Another test-tube study found that all types of strawberries had strong, protective effects on liver cancer cells, regardless of whether they were high or low in antioxidants.
SUMMARYBerries have been shown to reduce markers associated with tumor growth in animals and people with several types of cancer.
9. Can be enjoyed on nearly all types of diets
Berries can be included in many kinds of diets.
Though people on low-carb and ketogenic diets often avoid fruit, you can usually enjoy berries in moderation.
For example, a half-cup serving of blackberries (70 grams) or raspberries (60 grams) contains less than 4 grams of digestible carbs.
Liberal amounts of berries can be incorporated into paleo, Mediterranean, vegetarian, and vegan diets.
For people who want to lose weight, the few calories in berries make them ideal to include in meals, snacks, or desserts.
Organic and wild berries are now widely available in many parts of the world. When they’re not in season, frozen berries can be purchased and thawed as needed.
The only people who need to avoid berries are those who require a low-fiber diet for certain digestive disorders, as well as individuals who are allergic to berries. Allergic reactions to strawberries are most common.
SUMMARYBerries can be enjoyed on most diets, as they’re low in calories and carbs and widely available fresh or frozen.
10. May help keep your arteries healthy
In addition to lowering cholesterol, berries provide other benefits for heart health, including improving the function of your arteries.
The cells that line your blood vessels are called endothelial cells. They help control blood pressure, keep blood from clotting, and perform other important functions.
Excessive inflammation can damage these cells, inhibiting proper function. This is referred to as endothelial dysfunction, a major risk factor for heart disease.
Berries have been found to improve endothelial function in studies in healthy adults, individuals with metabolic syndrome, and people who smoke.
In a controlled study in 44 people with metabolic syndrome, those consuming a daily blueberry smoothie showed significant improvements in endothelial function, compared to the control group.
Though fresh berries are considered healthiest, berries in processed form may still provide some heart-healthy benefits. Baked berry products are considered processed, whereas freeze-dried berries are not.
One study found that although baking blueberries reduced their anthocyanin content, total antioxidant concentrations remained the same. Arterial function improved similarly in people who consumed baked or freeze-dried berries (57).
SUMMARYBerries have been found to improve arterial function in several studies in healthy people, those with metabolic syndrome, and people who smoke.
11. Delicious alone or in healthy recipes
Berries are undeniably delicious. They make a wonderful snack or dessert, whether you use one type or a mix of two or more.
Though they’re naturally sweet and require no additional sweetener, adding a bit of heavy or whipped cream can transform them into a more elegant dessert.
For breakfast, try berries topped with either plain Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, or ricotta cheese, along with some chopped nuts.
Another way to include berries in your diet is as part of a salad.
To discover the nearly endless versatility of berries, browse the internet for healthy recipes.
SUMMARYBerries are delicious when served alone, with cream, or in healthy recipes.
The bottom line
Berries taste great, are highly nutritious, and provide many health benefits, including for your heart and skin.
By including them in your diet on a regular basis, you can improve your overall health in a very enjoyable way.
6 Secrets of Asian Diet That You Should Try
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the prevalence of obesity in the United States was 42.4%, and that was back in 2017~2018. That’s a very concerning piece of statistic because obesity has been linked to numerous health problems.
There are several factors to blame for the prevalence of obesity today, but one of the main reasons is the diet followed by most people. To put it simply, people are not eating healthy.
One possible solution to the obesity problem is for people to explore the Asian diet.
Secrets of the Asian Diet
Obesity is not that prevalent in Asia. In places like Japan, people tend to live very long lives. It has something to do with the diet that people follow. If you want to reap the benefits of the Asian diet for your health then here are some of its secrets that you should be aware of.
Secret # 1: Use Smaller Bowls and Plates
Don’t use large plates and bowls when you are eating. Asians mostly use smaller serving vessels for their meals, which translates to smaller portions and fewer calories. Finish what’s in your first bowl, then stop and decide if you really want to eat more.
Secret # 2: Use Less Oil
One of the reasons why the western diet is so unhealthy is because it relies too much on frying foods. While it is okay to eat fried foods from time to time, eating them on a daily basis can be a problem. The Asian diet does not rely too much on fried foods, and you should seriously consider that for your diet.
Secret # 3: Don’t Eat Until You Are Full
This is a very good practice that originated from China which can prevent you from overeating. According to this concept, you should stop eating once you feel that you are 80% full. There is some scientific truth behind this concept because the brain does not recognize right away that your stomach is already full, which is why people have a tendency to overeat.
Secret # 4: Cook Your Vegetables
Asians rarely eat raw vegetables. There are two reasons for that. The first reason is safety. Raw vegetables may have contaminants that can make you sick. Cooking them removes that possibility. Also, cooked vegetables are easier to digest than raw ones. Eating raw vegetables can slow down the metabolism of the body, which can lead to weight gain.
Secret # 5: Eat Lots of Grain
Asians love eating rice, wheat, and other types of grain. But they don’t just eat rice; they also have a wide variety of rice that they include in their diet. Each variety has its own nutritional value and you can really benefit from eating as many varieties as you can.
Secret # 6: Go for Less Meat
The western diet emphasizes meat, and while that has its benefits, too much of that can be a bad thing too. Follow the Asian diet that emphasizes grains and vegetables.
This does not mean that you only have to cook or eat Asian dishes. The idea is to follow the healthy ideas connected with the Asian diet.
8 Coffee Myths and the Truth About This Popular Beverage
Around 64% of American adults drink coffee on a daily basis. That’s a lot of coffee, and Americans are not alone in loving this beverage. During the 2020-2021 period, 60-kilogram bags of coffee were used around the world.
Because coffee is so popular, people have a lot of beliefs about it and its effects. It’s inevitable that some of the things that people believe in about coffee are wrong.
Here are 8 coffee myths that you should stop believing now:
Myth 1: Drinking coffee in the afternoon will lead to insomnia.
Yes, caffeine can keep your drowsiness away, but if you drink coffee in the afternoon, most of the caffeine in it should have been processed out of your body within four to seven hours after drinking it. That means if you drink coffee at around 3 in the afternoon, it should not affect your sleep.
Myth 2: You need boiling water on the coffee grounds.
If you use boiling water when making your coffee, the bitter oils contained in the grounds will also be extracted. Sometimes, the bitter taste of a coffee drink can be attributed to water that is too hot.
Myth 3: Coffee reverses the negative cognitive effect of alcohol
This is one of the most prevalent myths regarding coffee and arguably the most disappointing one. While it can make a drunk person more alert, it will not sober him up. This can potentially lead to a more dangerous situation in which an intoxicated person might feel alert and capable of handling tasks like driving.
Myth 4: Coffee helps in weight loss.
Caffeine can increase your metabolism but only to such a slight degree that it’s negligible. Caffeine can also decrease your appetite, but that effect is only short-term.
Myth 5: Coffee can stunt growth.
This myth has been around for a long time, and it really has no scientific basis at all. But like other myths that have been around for a long time, a lot of people believe it without really checking the truth.
Myth 6: Caffeine can be highly addictive.
You can develop a slight addiction to caffeine, but it’s not as bad as other substances. Caffeine withdrawal symptoms should only last for a day or two, and you may not even notice them.
Myth 7: Pregnant women should never drink coffee.
This one is kind of controversial, and it has coffee lumped together with alcoholic beverages. Experts actually advise pregnant women to 200 milligrams of caffeine each day which would be about a cup. It’s more of a personal choice because there is no solid evidence yet that caffeine is harmful to the baby.
Myth 8: All Coffee Are the Same
Some claim that all types of coffee are the same when it comes to alcohol content. That’s simply not true because some types have more caffeine content than others.
Tell your friends about these myths as well so they can be informed.
Nature’s Wonders: The Best Foods For Your Lungs
There is nothing scarier than the truth. In fact, the World Health Organization reported that around 235 million people are suffering from asthma, and 234,000 have lung cancer each year. Whether they smoke or not, the statistics don’t lie.
However, there is only one thing that matters most. Everyone needs to take good care of their lungs. That being said, diet is one of the major factors to optimum respiratory health. There are countless studies about foods that protect the lungs from certain diseases.
One of the best things I found out while writing this article is, some foods can reverse the effects of smoking. However, you must always keep in mind that there are foods that have opposite effects.
We hope that after you read this content, you will include these foods into your diet. Let’s get going.
The John Hopkins University researched in 2017, wherein they analyzed the lungs of people who used to smoke and how their diet affects their recovery. What they found out was quite astounding as it’s amusing. They found out that tomatoes can accelerate the recovery of the lungs.
Additionally, tomatoes can prevent the damage from getting worse. Even better, tomatoes don’t just help smokers but everyone who eats them. That’s because, according to the American Lung Association, as people age, the lungs naturally start to decline. It starts at around age 35 because the diaphragm and the inner tissues start to get weaker.
However, they found out that eating tomatoes several times a week can help delay this process.
Be careful if you are allergic to nuts. Pistachios have many amazing benefits for the lungs. In fact, a study from the American Association for Cancer Research reported in 2009 that pistachios could reduce the risk of lung cancer.
According to Dr. Ladia Hernandez, a researcher from the University of Texas said that one compound has been effective at guarding the lung against lung cancer. That compound is gamma-tocopherol. Surprisingly, pistachios are rich in gamma-tocopherol and vitamin E.
She advised two ounces or ¼ cup of pistachios a day is enough to keep your lungs healthy.
Carrots had some major scrutiny in 2008 after a study in Cancer that said beta-carotene supplements could increase the risk of lung cancer. However, there are new studies that believe those claims. One of the most prominent is research from 2017 that reported eating carrots can lower the chances of lung cancer.
The study concluded that vitamin C and carotenoids in carrots are nutrients that effectively guard the lungs against diseases and cancer. In fact, it contradicted the previous study as they find out that high amounts of beta-carotene can reduce the risk of cancer.
Here’s an interesting find. In 2011, researchers from John Hopkins University reported that oxidative stress could lead to COPD. Likewise, they found out that COPD patients are low in antioxidants. So, they tried to replenish that nutrient with broccoli.
Broccoli contains sulforaphane, an antioxidant that has seen great results in reducing COPD markers in mice. Dr. Shyam Biswal of Bloomberg School said broccoli could also clean the bacteria in the lungs with the compound sulforaphane.
That means eating broccoli will help clean your lungs, especially if you have COPD.
Surprised? Let’s continue. Cayenne contains a compound called capsaicin. Capsaicin is the same compound that gives cayenne its spiciness. However, it has another amazing benefit. According to Dr, Farshad Fani Marvasti, from the University of Arizona that cayenne can vitalize secretions in the lungs.
These secretions are responsible for the opening of airways while protecting the lungs at the same time. Likewise, further research in Experimental Biology found out that capsaicin is effective in slowing down the spread of lung cancer. However, there is no proof that cayenne can be a form of cancer treatment but can lower inflammation.
Garlic might be effective in eliminating dangerous lung bacteria. That’s according to research in PloS One in 2013. They tested allicin, a chemical present in garlic. They found out that it stopped the growth of infectious bacteria that can cause major lung infection.
In 2016, scientists from the University at Buffalo found that eating garlic can lower the risk of lung cancer in participants. Likewise, a similar study conducted by Chinese scientists reported that eating garlic lowered the risk of lung cancer by 44%.
Although onions have the notoriety for making people cry, it’s actually good for your lungs. A research conducted by Penn State University found that onions contain anti-inflammatory compounds that could ease the symptoms of asthma.
Another study conducted in 2019 by the Scientific Reports reported that red onions could relieve allergy. However, they saw an exception in pickled onions. In fact, scientists found out in a 1990 research that Spanish pickled onions can cause inflammation in asthma. That was credited to the high sulfur dioxide and acidity.
I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase, “an apple a day keeps the doctor away.” However, you can say an apple a day keeps the pulmonologist away. Well, that’s just the conclusion from the John Hopkins study. In their European Respiratory Journal, scientists found that eating apples for over ten years have reduced the onset of lung disease.
It can also help reverse the damage done by smoking, according to Vanessa Garcia-Larsen, the lead author of the research.
Moreover, in 2000 scientists from London found that eating apples five times a week can help improve the health of the lungs. They credit it to the apple’s abundance of vitamin C and antioxidants that help clean the body.
Have you heard about curcumin? It’s the compound that gives turmeric the yellow-orange color. However, the benefits don’t end there. That’s because an animal study in Carcinogenesis found that curcumin’s anti-inflammatory capabilities can stop the development of COPD and lung cancer.
Moreover, another study from 2007 reported that curcumin has protective capabilities. In fact, it could guard against lung injury, oxidative stress, and respiratory toxins.
Green tea contains a high amount of antioxidants. In fact, it’s so high that it could possibly protect the lungs. Additionally, in 2007 a review by Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine reported that green tea could delay lung cancer in smokers.
Interestingly, six years after it was backed by another study in Carcinogens. According to the study, green tea contains EGCG, which is effective in fighting cancer.
Flaxseed has shown significant results in animal experiments. A study conducted by the Journal of Pulmonary & Respiratory Medicine reported that mice consuming flaxseed have less oxidative stress in their lungs. Another competent study by the Cancer Prevention Research said that flaxseed could stop the growth of tumors in the lungs.
Moreover, flaxseed has also shown promising results with other diseases like pulmonary fibrosis.
Ginger has many benefits when it comes to the optimal function of the lungs. The American Journal of Respiratory Cell and Molecular Biology noticed that ginger cleared airways in animal studies, relaxes the muscles, and allows mucus to flow, allowing people to breathe easily and efficiently.
In 2018, Turkish scientists found that ginger can also heal lung damage caused by inflammation. They reported that ginger could stop bronchopulmonary dysplasia from spreading.
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