I recommend one daily serving of berries (half cup fresh or frozen berries, or a quarter cup dried) and three daily servings of other fruit (a medium-sized fruit, a cup cut-up fruit, or a quarter cup dried). Why do I single out berries?
Berries are the healthiest fruits—due in part to their plant pigments. They evolved to have bright, contrasting colors to attract fruit-eating critters to help disperse their seeds, and the same molecular characteristics that give berries such vibrant colors may account for some of their antioxidant abilities. Berries are second only to herbs and spices as the most antioxidant-packed food category. As a group, they average nearly 10 times more antioxidants than other fruits and vegetables, and exceed 50 times more than animal-based foods.
Berries offer potential protection against cancer, a boost to the immune system, and a guard for the liver and brain. An American Cancer Society study of nearly 100,000 men and women found that those who ate the most berries appeared significantly less likely to die of cardiovascular disease. Indeed, for disease prevention, berries of all colors have “emerged as champions,” according to the head of the Bioactive Botanical Research Laboratory. The purported anticancer properties of berry compounds have been attributed to their apparent ability to counteract, reduce, and repair damage resulting from oxidative stress and inflammation. Berries may also boost our levels of natural killer cells, a type of white blood cell that’s a vital member of the immune system’s rapid-response team against virus-infected and cancerous cells.
Special antioxidant pigments in berries and dark-green leafies may make them the brain foods of the fruit and vegetable kingdom. Harvard University researchers, using data from the Nurses’ Health Study, which followed the diets and health of 16,000 women, found that women who consumed at least one serving of blueberries and two servings of strawberries each week had slower rates of cognitive decline by as much as two and a half years compared with those who didn’t eat berries. These results suggest that simply eating a handful of berries every day may slow our brain’s aging by more than two years.
Image Credit: Amanda Rae. This image has been modified.
Popular Videos for Berries
All Videos for Berries
Dr. Greger’s Daily Dozen Checklist
In my book How Not to Die I center my recommendations around a Daily Dozen checklist of all the things I try to fit into my daily routine.
The Best Food for High Cholesterol
Are the apparently amazing benefits of amla—dried indian gooseberries—too good to be true?
Dr. Greger’s Daily Dozen Checklist
In my book How Not to Die, I center my recommendations around a Daily Dozen checklist of all the things I try to fit into my daily routine.
The Benefits of Açai vs. Blueberries for Artery Function
The effects on artery function of açai berries, cooked and raw blueberries, grapes, cocoa, green tea, and freshly squeezed orange juice.
The Antioxidant Effects of Açai vs. Apples
Açai berries are touted for their antioxidant power, but does that translate into increased antioxidant capacity of your bloodstream when you eat them?
Best Foods for Lead Poisoning: Chlorella, Cilantro, Tomatoes, Moringa?
All plants produce “phytochelatins” to bind up heavy metals to protect themselves from the harmful effects. So, what if we ate the plants?
The Effects of Avocados & Red Wine on Meal-Induced Inflammation
Whole plant sources of sugar and fat can ameliorate some of the postprandial inflammation caused by the consumption of refined carbs and meat.
Best Foods for Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)
Which foods and cooking methods to choose and avoid, given the role advanced glycation end products (glycotoxins) may play in Polycystic Ovary Syndrome.
Black Raspberry Supplements Put to the Test
Less than half of herbal supplements tested from a dozen companies were found to be authentic.
Parkinson’s Disease & the Uric Acid Sweet Spot
The link between Parkinson’s and dairy may not just be explained by the pesticides and lactose.
Getting Starch to Take the Path of Most Resistance
How might beans, berries, and intact (not just whole) grains reduce colon cancer risk?
Why is Nutrition So Commercialized?
Why is the field of nutrition often more about marketing products than educating people about the fundamentals of healthy eating?