Best Berries

Best Berries
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Compared to popular fruits such as apples, bananas, and mangoes, which of the hundreds of different berries tested have the most and least antioxidant power: blackberries, blueberries, cranberries, crowberries, dog rose berries, grapes, raspberries, strawberries, or Tahitian noni juice?

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A plant-based diet protects against chronic oxidative stress-related diseases, but which plant foods are the best? Berries are the healthiest fruits, and this study analyzed more than a hundred different berries and berry products.

Just to give a sense of scale, this is how many antioxidants are in America’s two most popular fruits: bananas and apples. Now, the most popular fruit in the world is mango, which does better. But none of these are a match for the berries: here’s a cup of strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, cranberries, and blackberries.

Now that’s pretty much where most of us have to leave it, unless you have access to crowberries. Or—whoa!—dog rose berries. But getting back to what we can actually buy in a store, you see, I keep changing the scale here on the right.

What about goji berries? I’ll cover those in an upcoming video on dried fruit. What about a shot of Tahitian noni juice? Doesn’t even make it up to banana. And sadder than even that is a cup of green grapes, which, technically, are berries, but nutritionally, are the Wonder Bread of the fruit kingdom.

What about açaí berries? There was actually an açaí study that caught my eye last year in the Journal of Experimental Gerontology. Açaí fruit pulp improves survival on a high-fat diet. I thought, how interesting, until I reread the title more closely: “Açaí…improves [the] survival of flies on a high fat diet.” Why would you even want to do that? I imagine the researchers out collecting flies from some fast food dumpster or something.

Unfortunately, açaí wasn’t tested in this study. Hopefully they’ll come back next year and make it the 3,140th.

In the meanwhile, I encourage everyone to eat berries every day, to always have bags of frozen berries in their freezer. Whichever ones you like—but, as we learned in this study, we can get more than twice the bang for our buck choosing blackberries, for example, over strawberries.

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by MaryAnn Allison.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

 

A plant-based diet protects against chronic oxidative stress-related diseases, but which plant foods are the best? Berries are the healthiest fruits, and this study analyzed more than a hundred different berries and berry products.

Just to give a sense of scale, this is how many antioxidants are in America’s two most popular fruits: bananas and apples. Now, the most popular fruit in the world is mango, which does better. But none of these are a match for the berries: here’s a cup of strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, cranberries, and blackberries.

Now that’s pretty much where most of us have to leave it, unless you have access to crowberries. Or—whoa!—dog rose berries. But getting back to what we can actually buy in a store, you see, I keep changing the scale here on the right.

What about goji berries? I’ll cover those in an upcoming video on dried fruit. What about a shot of Tahitian noni juice? Doesn’t even make it up to banana. And sadder than even that is a cup of green grapes, which, technically, are berries, but nutritionally, are the Wonder Bread of the fruit kingdom.

What about açaí berries? There was actually an açaí study that caught my eye last year in the Journal of Experimental Gerontology. Açaí fruit pulp improves survival on a high-fat diet. I thought, how interesting, until I reread the title more closely: “Açaí…improves [the] survival of flies on a high fat diet.” Why would you even want to do that? I imagine the researchers out collecting flies from some fast food dumpster or something.

Unfortunately, açaí wasn’t tested in this study. Hopefully they’ll come back next year and make it the 3,140th.

In the meanwhile, I encourage everyone to eat berries every day, to always have bags of frozen berries in their freezer. Whichever ones you like—but, as we learned in this study, we can get more than twice the bang for our buck choosing blackberries, for example, over strawberries.

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by MaryAnn Allison.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

 

Images thanks to Scott Bauer, topicchio, USDA, Jeff Kubina, Fir0002, CjboffoliNIH via Wikimedia Commons, and Sonja Þórey Þórsdóttir.

Doctor's Note

Check out my other videos on fruit, and don’t miss all my videos on ranking foods

Also, check out my associated blog posts for additional context: Açaí to Zucchini: antioxidant food rankingsCoffee CaveatsFighting Inflammation with Food Synergy98% of American Diets Potassium DeficientHibiscus Tea: The Best Beverage?; and Which Common Fruit Fights Cancer Better?

If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here.

56 responses to “Best Berries

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  1. Please feel free to post any ask-the-doctor type questions here in the comments section and I’d be happy to try to answer them. Check out the other videos on fruits and don’t miss all the videos on ranking foods. And there are 1,449 subjects covered in the rest of my videos–please feel free to explore them!




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    1. Let me preface
      my question with just saying that since I stumbled onto nutritionfacts on
      youtube I found it absolutely fascinating. Please keep up the good work. My question is about the antioxidant content of aronia
      also known as black chokeberry (sounds like something only Chuck Norris would
      dare to eat :)). I’ve heard that they are very potent and some
      articles go as far as to say that aronia berries have the highest antioxidant capacity among berries but I
      have never seen any research quoted in any of these articles. I would like to
      know if maybe you encountered any research that included aronia berries. The
      berries themselves have a rather specific, a little tart taste but one you
      freeze them they lose tartness and become sweeter. Here in Europe (I’m from Poland) they are more
      popular than in America and commonly used for juices and jams. I got so caught
      up is searching the web for information about the best superfruit to boost my immune system that
      I forgot that half of my freezer is stuffed with aronia fruit from my garden.




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  2. So does this mean that you favor only purchasing foods with the highest antioxidant power (e.g. never buying strawberries when blackberries can be bought instead)?

    I wonder if any controlled studies have been performed on humans that show that an increased intake of foods with higher antioxidant power necessarily improves human lifespan or health? Please refer to these studies..thanks.

    Also I am wondering if there is any nutritional benefit that comes from eating a mixture of berries (e.g. eating a mix of strawberries,raspberries and blackberries rather than the equivalent amount of pure blackberries), despite lower average antioxidant power than pure blackberries?




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    1. There are indeed just the kinds of studies you mentioned recently published and I have some videos coming out on them–stay tuned!




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  3. You seem to be stressing the of anti-oxidant rich foods because it is believed that they “prevent against chronic oxidative stress-related diseases” which I take to me diseases related to aging. But according to a study you can find at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16677102 , “Available studies do not support the hypothesis that antioxidants control the rate of aging” Apparently, antioxidants are too slow acting to prevent free radical damage in vivo, although this may not be true of the body’s own antioxidants such as glutathione,catalase and SOD. So, a better strategy might be a diet or supplements which improve the body’s status of these.
    Another paper by the same authors at
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22006472
    suggests that a methionine restriction diet may be more effective in preventing free radical damage. Just the same, I’m planning on continuing to eat berries every day.




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  4. Thanks, I will check that out. It may answer a question I have about juicing, namely why juice at all, and instead simply eat the whole fruit.




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  5. Have you seen any studies about mulberries? My kids are interested since mulberries are seen as “trash trees” in our urban setting, but my kids love them. I looked up the nutrition data and they look great, especially high in iron.




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  6. Hi Michael,
    As someone who has just been diagnosed with prostate cancer (gleason score 6) finding your website is amazing. I’ve no idea how you finance this site but you are a man on a mission. Please keep up the great work.My anger is that I have got to age 52, with a disease which may kill me, before finding out what your site reveals i.e everyone should be on a plant based diet with no meat, diary or sugar intake. Anyway:-) My question for you is regarding Tom Seyfrieds work on cancer where he advises a 2 week fast and then a restricted ketogenic diet (eating mostly “unhealthy” foods). Have you come across this? And what are your thoughts? If you don’t know about his work, there is an excellent interview here http://cancer-insights.asu.edu/2012/05/asu-psoc-worksop-wednesday-march-21st-friday-march-23rd-2012-2/#interviewsand his superb book is available here…http://www.amazon.com/Cancer-Metabolic-Disease-Management-Prevention/dp/0470584920/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1350739615&sr=8-2&keywords=tom+seyfriedIf you get a chance to check it out, I would be very interested in your thoughts.Many thanks,Iain 




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  7. I love tea and drink lots of tea. Almost every day drinking tea after the meal. From what I learned, many tea contains anti-oxidants. I want to ask, is there any side effects from my habit who like to drink tea? _John, Please see my personal site about moslem fashion called gamis batik




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    1. AJeng, Only positive benefits can come from your habit so keep it up. The particular teas that are best for you include : green, black and oolong tea. Green,black, and oolong teas are high in antioxidants called flavonoids. These teas have been shown to inhibit ovarian and breast cancers. One study found that green tea was capable of suppressing cellular breast cancer and tumor progression. Tea has also been shown to decrease blood levels of LDL (bad cholesterol), thus decreasing the risk of heart disease and stroke. Stick with brewed tea bags,which have more antioxidants then instant teas. Green tea has the highest amount of antioxidants giving us just another reason to enjoy warm cups of tea during your day.

      Cameron Segura




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  8. Please help me dr. I have two small
    hot tubs
    at home. I am very pleased with
    the tubing and almost every day I
    do at home with his family. One of the diseases
    caused by the hot tub is hot tub rush. Please
    tell me how to prevent it?




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  9. Celebrate summer by enjoying all the delicious peak of the season berries.

    Blackberries may have more antioxidants than strawberries but a groundbreaking new study pitted strawberries against esophageal cancer. The result? “The progression of disease was reversed in 80% of the high dose strawberry treatment [1-2 ounces a day of freeze-dried strawberries]. By the end of the study half of those on the high dose of strawberries walked away disease free.” http://nutritionfacts.org/video/strawberries-versus-esophageal-cancer/ In fact, of all fruits strawberries have the highest Aggregate Nutrient Density Index (ANDI) score. http://www.drfuhrman.com/library/andi-food-scores.aspx

    It is important to buy organic. A test of organic strawberries versus conventional found organic berries did a superior job of blocking human cancer cell growth. http://nutritionfacts.org/video/cancer-fighting-berries-2/ Additionally, conventional strawberries were found to have the residues of 54 different pesticides http://www.whatsonmyfood.org/food.jspfood=ST and jumped to the 2nd most contaminated food from last year’s spot of fifth. Check out the 2013 list of foods to buy organic: http://www.ewg.org/foodnews/list.php

    Strawberries not your favorite? Black raspberries may result in “complete clinical regression of precancerous oral lesions.” http://nutritionfacts.org/video/black-raspberries-versus-oral-cancer/

    What about cranberries?
    They were found to be the best at suppressing cancer cell growth in
    vitro. Lemons came in second. http://nutritionfacts.org/video/which-fruit-fights-cancer-better/

    Blueberries?
    They were shown to improve memory. http://nutritionfacts.org/video/improving-memory-through-diet/

    Conclusion:
    The power of berries is amazing!

    Wish You to Get Well Bowl

    – ½ cup regular rolled oats
    – 1 cup water
    – 1 tsp Ceylon cinnamon http://nutritionfacts.org/video/the-safer-cinnamon/
    – ⅛ tsp each, ground cloves, ground ginger, nutmeg
    – ½ cup organic* strawberries, quartered
    – 1 banana, sliced
    – 1 small orange, peeled and chopped
    – 14 walnut halves
    – 2 tbsp flaxseed meal

    Bring water to a boil and cook oats with spices and fruit (only if using frozen fruit). Lower heat and simmer oats to desired consistency. Add remaining ingredients to a bowl and top with cooked oats. Stir and top with a sprinkling of uncooked oats and dash cinnamon.

    Bookmark my new Plant-Based Emporium Facebook page for all my latest recipes. https://www.facebook.com/PlantBasedEmporium?ref=stream&hc_location=timeline

    ~Complements of lovestobevegan




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  10. Is there a comparison of fresh Indian Gooseberries to Dog Rose Berries? How do other Gooseberries stack up? Just because these aren’t commonly sold and brought does not mean people can’t grow them. You should start making the suggestion of people growing their own instead of removing them from the equation.




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  11. Hello Doctor Michael,
    I read your blog & it is very helpful. Right now I need your guidance to treat a cancer patient. My sister aged 55 years just one month back diagnosed for stage-4 esophageal cancer. The moment it diagnosed Doctors said it is already at last stage. After doing endoscopies, CT scan, X-rays etc Doctors said no treatment is possible as the patient condition is not healthy to go for chemoteraphy or radiation. So now the patient is at house only. We got it installed a tube in the esophagus to ease the swaollowing of food & now she can eat food. So at present no treatment is being given & the condition is deteriorating day by day. Hence I request you to advice us is there any possibilty to treat the cancer at this stage with any natural remedies. If so please inform me what we can do at this stage. That is, what are the best fruits, best dry fruits which can reverse the cancer cells at this stage. I request you to kindly help me to save my sister out from this deadly decease.

    Rgds,

    Rajanna K V
    email-rajannakv2000@yahoo.com




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  12. Dr. Greger continues to believe that berries are healthier for us to eat than other fruits. Unfortunately, scientific studies involving real populations of real people do not agree with Dr. Greger’s claims:
    http://dietanddisease.blogspot.com/2012/02/berries-do-not-decrease-cancer-risk.html

    Because berries and cherries are moderately high in tannins (and therefore, they have moderately high ORAC antioxidant scores), this strongly indicates that foods that have high ORAC antioxidant scores do not prevent cancer that well (although tannins do have other health benefits). I swallow 4,000mg of triphala tablets every day. Triphala is even higher in powerful tannin antioxidants than berries or cherries.




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  13. Just a reminder that this is just antioxidant level comparison (not trivial but). If we are talking about cancer fighting, strawberries may win.




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  14. Just received my order of raw organic dried gooseberries (golden berries) WOW! Deliciously bitter-sweet. Found them at Raw Food World, not to expensive.




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  15. I am currently taking black currants and am considering switching to aronia berries due the increased nutritional values. However, I read on the amazon buy site that the black aronia berries taste “like dirt and ten people had very negative replies. Any one here ever tried or tasted black aronia berries. they have the highest anthocyanins per USDA site. 1430/100grams vs 478/100 grams for black currants.




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    1. Hi Don. I’ve never tasted an aronia berry so not sure. I might recommend eating fresh fruit/berries and leaving the powders alone. More benefits from the whole fruit.




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    2. Hi Don
      I tried black aronia berries. They are rather tart (not particularly flavorful)
      Still I enjoyed them: they can balance a sweeter taste in a smoothie or something.




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  16. I understand how it helps narrow the scope of the research and is most applicable to all of those who are completely dependent upon others to grow and sell them berries. BUT what about all of us who have a spot of dirt and some sunshine and are able to grow our own berries? I just learned in the comments to another video that goji berries aren’t difficult to grow. I’m interested in growing Indian Gooseberries as well as anything else that will broaden and enhance and add character my daily berry habit. Plus we all know that commercially produced plant products are generally far lower in nutritional value and FLAVOR of those grown at home or captured in the wild. That may be my bent today: research and compose a list of berries exotic or otherwise that might be grown in my area (SE US, Zone 7 I think). If anyone has a good source for this, let us know. I’ll try to report back.

    For the record, wild Blackberries are now ripe here, wild Raspberries have come and gone (and are my FAVORITE-the store bought kind aren’t even close). I planted Blueberries this years and will plant Strawberries next year-and maybe much more. Pawpaws and Persimmons and Mulberrys grow wild here too. I eat those as well-but of course nutritional data will ever be scarce on those.




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  17. This latest information about the ORAC values of common fruits is a delight to find, and revises many presumptions about the healthiest berries. For that matter, I did not know rose hips also goes by the name “dog rose berries”.




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    1. Dried fruit is good for finer and antioxidants. Just be cautious about the sugar content as it is so much more concentrated than in fresh fruit.




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  18. “Doesn’t drying fruit oxidize it and then make it loose it’s antioxidant power?” Someone I know asked me this. How does dried fruit maintain antioxidants?




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    1. Good news, Christine! Dried fruits retains much of the antioxidant power. Just watch the calories and sugar as you likely know, both are higher in dried fruit compared with fresh.




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  19. I eat blackberries every day. It’s not possible to chew the hard seeds fully. Could those seeds cause problems?




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  20. Dr. Greger, I have been dealing with chronic Esophageal Spasms for the past eight years. I have terrible GERD and am a vegan who follows a GERD diet, but I have discovered the tartness of berries along with anything with a hint of tartness causes my esophagus to spasm. This is a day ruiner for me and I will be in pain until the next morning. I consume colorful vegetables…purple sweet potatoes, red cabbage, red beets, black rice, black lentils, black beans, etc in an effort to eat food that will provide the benefits of berries. Is this correct? Is there anything I can do better?




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    1. Here is a thought — Dr. Greger has a number of videos on Amla (Indian Gooseberry). You can pick up dehydrated amla powder for $4-5 at an Indian grocery store. The flavor of amla leaves something to be desired — so finding ways to mask the flavor can be the key for most people. The health benefits of Amla are significant even at small doses — so some people put the amla powder into a capsule and take it that way. It may be worth trying plain amla and encapsulated amla in your situation!
      Hope this helps a little!




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    1. Give it a try and see what you think. Start low and go slow in terms of increasing the amount. Feel free to come back to the site and let us know how it goes for you!




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  21. Hi Dr. Greger,

    Firstly let me say how intrigued and fascinated I am at discovering your web pages (Fantastic Work) – My question is what specific fruits and vegetables would you put together to make a smoothie that is geared at fighting cancer (Saracoma Soft Tissue in Stage 4) –
    I have started taking organic wheat grass powder, nettle juice, noni juice among others and I’m on a strict green diet. I have also just started the Dr Hulka Clark protocol for parasites which was recommended to me.

    I have recently ordered : Amazon Tonic 111 formally sold as Cansema
    Birm Biological Immune
    Beta 1 3D Glucan 500mg

    Can you suggest a basic formula on how all these can be taken correctly and most conveniently please?

    Thanks In Advance,

    Kerry :)




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  22. I eat blueberries every day, sometimes raspberries and since I was diagnosed with glaucoma blackcurrants make a showing every day!




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  23. O.K. So blackberries are the best, but I wonder whether a bowl of strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries might be even better than blackberries alone.




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  24. You never want to eat too much of the same thing because different fruits and vegetables, even if they are similar, will have different health benefits. Also, just because blackberries have a higher antioxidant content doesn’t mean they will be useful for your body. There are other factors to consider such as the absorption level of the antioxidant and where it ends up in your body versus where you need it. So yes, a bowl of mixed berries would be a good way to go.




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  25. Can you please recommend a chart of the nutritional value of fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes and anything else you recommend as part of one’s diet? Thank you.




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  26. Can you possibly eat too much blackberries? We have wild blackberries behind our house and during season I eat aroung 300-400g a day. After a week though I started to feel a bit unwell.




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  27. What an interesting question, pointing out how powerful whole foods are! You may be aware that blackberries with their dark purple skin contain resveratrol which while provides definite health advantages, MAY be powerful enough of take in excess to cause symptoms. A resource on resveratrol put out by statesMedline plus states Resveratrol is LIKELY SAFE when used in the amounts found in foods, and when taken by mouth in doses up to 250 mg daily for up to 3 months Since you’re indicated you are taking considerablely more, you may want to check out this article and cut back a bit to see if your symptoms lesson. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2982884/
    “Repeat dose study of the cancer chemopreventive agent resveratrol in healthy volunteers: safety, pharmacokinetics, and effect on the insulin-like growth factor axis.” If your symptoms disappear after tapering back a bit, you know you just overindulged a bit. Freeze the excess and enjoy throughout the year!




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