Berries: Summertime Superstars

Blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, and strawberries are very much a part of summer’s bounty. Sweet and juicy, berries are a nutritious, low-sugar gift from nature.

Berries that are a deep blue, purple, or red color means they are rich in beta-carotene, vitamins C and E, and antioxidants. Berries contain the highest concentration of antioxidants of any food group.

Fighting Disease With Food

Foods are rich in antioxidants which help cells defend against harmful free radicals.  When free radicals accumulate and are left to their own destructive devices, chronic stress may set in damaging DNA and causing cellular breakdown.

It is a well-known that chronic oxidative stress may increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, heart disease, type II diabetes, and cancer.

In addition to fighting off free radicals, antioxidants promote a strong immune function, enhance the body’s defense against infection, and play a preventive role in reducing the risk of chronic conditions. Conditions like stroke, asthma, ocular disorders, macular degeneration, cataracts, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, and osteoporosis can be positively affected by antioxidants.

Eating a diet rich in foods that have richly saturated, deep colors can increase blood oxidative levels and reduce the risk of the many lifestyle related disease. These may include blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries or even eggplant, beets, kale, red cabbage, or goji berries.

Consuming 8 servings of colorful fruits and vegetables a day will provide the body a healthy dose of antioxidants to ward off free radicals and provide another barrier of protection against many diseases, including stroke, heart disease and certain cancers.

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Information presented by W(h)ealth should not be relied upon to determine diet, make a medical diagnosis, or determine treatment for a medical condition. The information is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice. Consult a doctor and/or medical professional before making any health changes, especially any changes related to a specific diagnosis or condition.

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