From raspberries to blueberries, few foods outside the berry family receive more recognition for their high concentrations of antioxidants.
In addition, most berries are great sources of fibre, while acai berries contain specific amino acids which help promote muscle performance, endurance and energy production.
What are antioxidants?
Antioxidants are found naturally in plant-based foods such as berries, tomatoes, coffee and cocoa beans.
When an antioxidant finds its way into the body it slows down and sometimes even prevents cell damage caused by oxidants.
Oxidants are free radicals that you find in the environment, but they are also produced naturally in your body to help fend off viruses and microbes, but if you have them in excess, they can contribute to certain illnesses and heart disease.
What berries should you eat?
The simplest and most effective way to expose yourself to more antioxidants is through your diet, and berries top the list of food types rich in antioxidants. Try to include the following berries into your diet regularly.
Blueberries rank very highly for their antioxidant capacities among all other fruits and vegetables. The small berries are also a good source of dietary fibre and an excellent source of vitamins C and K, and manganese.
Research indicates that blueberries may reduce memory decline, heart attack risk, and may provide other anti-aging benefits.
Açai berries are natives to South American rain forests and have an amazing nutritional profile. They are a good source of antioxidants, fibre and are in high in essential fatty acids – which aid heart and nervous system health. They also contain amino acids which help promote muscle performance, energy production, endurance and strength.
The South American berries are also a source of vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, C and E.
Raspberries are another good source of dietary fibre, in fact they are one the highest fibre containing foods, with up to 20 percent fibre per total weight.
They are a great source of vitamin C, manganese, B vitamins 1–3, folic acid, magnesium, copper and iron.
As for the antioxidants, raspberries contain the all-important anthocyanins, ellagic acid, quercetin, gallic acid, cyanidins, pelargonidins, catechins, kaempferol and salicylic acid.
Goji berries, are natives to Asia and are claimed to boost the immune system and brain activity. They contain high levels of vitamin C, vitamin B2, vitamin A, iron, selenium and other antioxidants, notably polysaccharides.
Due to their Asian origin they are usually bought dried, but are also available is powder or juice.
Blackberries rank well for antioxidant strength, with notable levels of polyphenolic compounds, such as ellagic acid, tannins, ellagitannins, quercetin, gallic acid, anthocyanins and cyanidins.
They are also notable for their high levels of dietary fibre, vitamin C, vitamin K, folic acid and manganese.