I recommend one daily serving of berries (half cup fresh or frozen, 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 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. They 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 any. These results suggest that simply eating a handful of berries every day may slow our brain’s aging by more than two years.
The information on this page has been compiled from Dr. Greger’s research. Sources for each video listed can be found by going to the video’s page and clicking on the Sources Cited tab. References may also be found at the back of his books.
Image Credit: Amanda Rae. This image has been modified.
Popular Videos for Berries
Benefits of Blueberries for Heart DiseaseBlueberry tea is put to the test for cholesterol lowering.
Benefits of Blueberries for Mood and MobilityRandomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trials of… blueberries!
Benefits of Blueberries for the BrainBlueberries can significantly improve cognitive performance within hours of consumption.
Dr. Greger’s Daily Dozen ChecklistIn my book How Not to Die, I center my recommendations around a Daily Dozen...
The Benefits of Açai vs. Blueberries for Artery FunctionWhat are the effects of açai berries, cooked and raw blueberries, grapes, cocoa, green tea,...
The Antioxidant Effects of Açai vs. ApplesAçaí berries are touted for their antioxidant power, but does that translate into increased antioxidant...
Black Raspberry Supplements Put to the TestLess than half of herbal supplements tested from a dozen companies were found to be...
Berries vs. Pesticides in Parkinson’s DiseaseBerries counteract the neurotoxic effects of pesticides in vitro, potentially explaining why berry consumption is...
How Much Fruit Is Too Much?Does the threshold for toxicity of fructose apply to fruit or just to added industrial...
If Fructose Is Bad, What About Fruit?Does the fructose naturally found in fruit and fruit juice have the same adverse effects...
Inhibiting Platelet Aggregation with BerriesThe number one killer of Americans may be not eating enough fruit. Even if we...
How to Slow Brain Aging by Two YearsThe consumption of blueberries and strawberries is associated with delayed cognitive aging by as much...
Antioxidant-Rich Foods with Every MealTo stay out of oxidative debt, we need to take in more antioxidants than we...
Boosting Natural Killer Cell ActivityBlueberry consumption may double the population of our cancer-fighting immune cells, and the spices cardamom...
Reducing Muscle Soreness with BerriesAnti-inflammatory phytonutrients in berries may explain why cherries can speed recovery after a marathon—by reducing...
Clinical Studies on Açaí BerriesAn independent review of the effects of açaí berries was recently published, including studies on...
Strawberries vs. Esophageal CancerA randomized phase II clinical trial on the ability of strawberries to reverse the progression...
Black Raspberries vs. Oral CancerBlack raspberries may cause complete clinical regression of precancerous oral lesions (oral intraepithelial neoplasia).
All Videos for Berries
Oatmeal Diet Put to the Test for Diabetes Treatment
What are the extraordinary, lasting benefits we may get from a few days of an oatmeal diet?
The Best Diet for Fibromyalgia and Other Chronic Pain Relief
Anti-inflammatory diets can be effective in alleviating chronic pain syndromes.
The Best Diet for Cancer Patients
What diet should oncologists recommend?
The Best Diet for Healthy Aging
Swapping just 1 percent of plant protein in place of animal protein was associated with signiﬁcantly less age-related deﬁcit accumulation.
Foods to Help Protect Your Arteries from Saturated Fat
If you’re going to have something unhealthy, is there anything you can eat with it to help mediate the damage it may cause?
Blocking the Cancer Metastasis Enzyme MMP-9 with Beans and Chickpeas
Which legumes are best at inhibiting the matrix metalloproteinase enzymes that allow cancer to become invasive?
The Healthiest Type of Potato
Are yellow-fleshed potatoes healthier than white? And, what about the glycoalkaloid toxins?
Which Foods Are Anti-Inflammatory?
Foods that reduce inflammation. What does an anti-inflammatory diet look like?
Extra Virgin Olive Oil for Arthritis
What happened when topical olive oil was pitted against an ibuprofen-type drug for osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis?
Elderberry Benefits and Side Effects: Does It Help with Colds and the Flu?
How effective are flu shots, elderberries, echinacea, and cranberries?