There’s a particular reason why berries are one of the primary ingredients in our Nakd bars at Natural Balance Foods. Berries are highly-nutritious with an abundance of health benefits. NBF’s in-house diet-expert, Lucy-Ann guides us through the most popular and nutritious berries.
There’s a great deal to praise about berries making it difficult to choose where to begin. From the delightful colors, flavours to their unique health benefits, berries truly deserve their own category of fruits. Let’s have a glance at some of the most well-known.
Despite the fact that strawberries grow all year-round, they are still considered as to be an “iconic” summer fruit. Besides being the ideal fixture for a morning smoothie, or fruit salad, strawberries are praised by food scientists for their remarkable value in nutrition and health. Aside from nourishing our bodies with various antioxidants and strengthening our immune systems with vitamin C, manganese and carotenoid, strawberry holds exceptionally more qualities than that. It also has a compound called “plant lignans” that improves bones and hormones.
In the UK, researchers at the Institute of Food Research (IFR) have become intrigued by the cancer prevention agents in strawberries, specifically, by an antioxidant named “ellagic acid”. There’s a vast assortment of strawberries (counting both wild and cultivated) which have differing levels of ellagic acid. Strawberries are made of other valuable compounds that enhance body’s management of blood sugar and insulin.
Raspberries are full of primary nutrients, like Vitamin C and essential “phytochemicals” – two antioxidants called “ellagitannins” and “anthocyanins” are also found in raspberries (Journal of Agriculture and Food chemistry, 2012). Science has proven that red raspberry ellagitannins are powerful "free radical foragers", wiping out toxic “free radicals” that harm cells. Free radicals are groups of atoms which attach to healthy cells and cause a damaging chain reaction. Moreover, ellagitannins have a role in reducing the volume of bad cholesterol (LDL) in humans.
Scientists have made a comparative analysis of the impacts of raspberry and C vitamin on stomach, colon and breast cancer cells. The studies have found that raspberry extract has high antioxidant levels that are counteractive to tumours’ survival, thus preventing cancer cell replication.
Recently, blueberries have gained a huge popularity in our diets and are now much more than a mere “new and novel” superfood. Cherished for their taste and color, the berries are now mainly appreciated for their health properties. They are rich in antioxidants called “polyphenols” – plant compounds that reduce cholesterol, prevent cancer and Alzheimer’s disease, and improve functions of cardiovascular system.
Moreover, the Journal of Nutrition has confirmed that blueberries have particularly positive effects on people with insulin sensitivity who are at a high risk of type-2 diabetes. The Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry published extensive research showing proving that blueberry is also a “brain-food” acting as a cognitive skill enhancer.
Likewise, blueberries can be a valuable addition to a diet supporting individuals who engage in regular exercise. Molecular Nutrition and Food Research suggests blueberries are the perfect post-workout food because it inhibits muscle oxidative damage. The antioxidants present in blueberries prevent detrimental effects of excessive exercise, like damages to skeletal muscle cells that may follow an intense workout.
Regardless of your preference for raw berries or a chilled juice, including cranberries in your diet will benefit you greatly. It has become clear that a diet including a high volume of fruit and veg significantly reduces the risk for chronic disease and cancer, and cranberries have a specific role to play. Namely, they have substantial amounts of vitamin C and antioxidants that help to combat coronary illnesses, cancer and even dental decay.
Cranberries contain flavonoids called “proanthocyanidins”, these are plant chemicals which hold a high abundance of anti-microbial, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory qualities. Journal of Agriculture and Food published a study in 2011 which measured the effectiveness of these flavanoids against “periodontitis”, a serious gum infection disease. Other extensive research have concluded cranberries’ viability to keep stomach ulcers at bay as well as fighting bacterial infections. A compound called ‘proanthocyanidins” has paved a way for a development of new antibiotic drugs defeating super bacteria.
It’s important to keep your eyes peeled for cherries whilst they are in-season. Besides being so gorgeously tasty and attractively colored, cherries are considered to be another “super-food”.
Cherries are packed with antioxidants called “anthocyanins”, which increase longevity, improve cardiovascular health, and prevent cancer and dementia. Furthermore, cherry has antiaging properties which resist our cells against oxidative damage. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition in 2010 described how drinking cherry juice for one week eliminated muscle pain in long distance runners.
Blackberries are widely considered to be one of the most nutritious berries out there. Having such a high consistency in copper, folate, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, iron, niacin, zinc, vitamins, and calcium, it works wonders with the immune system.
Blackberries have high levels of Vitamin A, C and K which are vital nutrients for bright and healthy skin. It’s also enriched by Magnesium and Calcium which are essential for strong bones. The brilliant blue hue is caused by its rich source of “anthocyanins”, the powerful anti-carcinogen. On top of everything, blackberry is also another “brain-food” which helps our short-term memory due to the presence of manganese, which is one of the key nutrients for brain.
As we can see, there is a variety of berry fruits packed with essential nutrients for health. Berries are superfoods that fight diseases and improve longevity. With all this knowledge, why not dive into a punnet or two? Explore the range of Nakd bars using some of these wonderful berries such as Nakd Berry Delight or Nakd Strawberry Crunch Bar.