July Is National Berry Month
There’s a reason so many summer dishes and desserts feature fresh berries…strawberries, blackberries, blueberries and raspberries are among the many berry varieties that reach their peak during the summertime. And while berries are undeniably delicious, they’re also nutritious, packing a serious punch when it comes to vitamins and minerals.
In fact, berries are among the most nutritious foods you can eat and offer an abundance of notable health benefits. Here are just a few reasons to incorporate more berries into your diet, not just in July, but year-round.
They’re a prime source of antioxidants
Antioxidants help protect your cells from “free radicals,” which are potentially harmful substances that contribute to heart disease, cancer and other health issues. Blueberries, blackberries and raspberries, in particular, contain high levels of antioxidants, and studies have repeatedly shown that they can help lower oxidative stress levels, too.
They’re high in fiber
Berries are also a solid source of soluble fiber, meaning they help reduce hunger pangs and keep you full longer. This, in turn, helps you avoid engaging in mindless snacking or overindulging in other foods, which can lead to weight loss over time.
They help fight inflammation
Studies show that eating berries can also fight inflammation, which is your body’s way of responding to an infection or injury. Research shows that eating strawberries, in particular, helps lower inflammatory markers associated with heart disease.
Some are “superfoods”
You might have heard that blueberries are a popular “superfood,” or a food that offers superior health benefits due to its high nutrient density. In fact, blueberries contain 25 different anthocyanins, which are certain types of antioxidants that help protect your health and immune system. While blueberries and other superfoods offer benefits for heart health, they can also improve mental health and reduce high blood pressure, among other benefits.
They boost heart health
Berries offer clear benefits for your heart, and as an added bonus, they’re tasty, too. You already know that blueberries are a great source of antioxidants, but blackberries also contain high levels of antioxidants and fiber. While strawberries, raspberries and cranberries offer health benefits, too, one of the heart-healthiest, most nutritious berry options out there is the black raspberry, which has high nutrient density and antioxidant levels despite containing very little sugar.
They help with weight loss
Some fruits are better for weight loss than others, and berries make the cut. For starters, they have lower GI contents than other fruits. They also have high water content, which can help you stay hydrated and satiated on hot summer days. Research also shows that eating berries also helps you avoid overconsuming later, with one study showing that women who ate 65 calories of berries as a snack ate less during their next mealtime than women who did not.
Easy Ways to Incorporate More Berries into Your Diet
Tasty and versatile, berries are an easy, nutritious addition to any breakfast, lunch, dinner or snack. Sprinkle some on top of cereal or yogurt or blend some into a smoothie for a healthy start to the day, or mix some into a salad or side dish or end things on a sweet note with a slice of berry pie or a cup of fresh sorbet.
Berries are at their best each year during July, so there’s no better time to incorporate more blueberries, blackberries, strawberries and other berry varieties into your daily diet. Buy them frozen or enjoy them fresh, but be sure to get your fill this summer!