The Amazing Health and Fat Loss Benefits of Berries
Who doesn't love berries? Especially when it comes to summer, when we find them in everything from fruit salads to cocktails and even topping our stack of Sunday breakfast treat pancakes. But what if I told you that berries weren't just juicy little parcels of natural sweetness? What if I told you that their health benefits extend further than just being full of vitamins, and that they could help weight loss…?
Well, some studies suggest that berries can aid weight loss, but first, lets look at their other amazing health benefits…
Immune Boosting Powerhouses
Berries are full of 'phytonutrients', which are beneficial compounds found in plants. There are over 4,000 known phytonutrients and scientists are busy studying them all. Also called flavonoids, they're responsible for giving fruits, and berries in particular, their vibrant and varied colours. So when we're advised to eat a rainbow, it's because of these different phytonutrients.
Most of them are known to have antioxidant properties. This means that they help the body combat 'free radicals', unstable molecules within the body that can cause damage to our DNA and cells and lead to disease. These nasty free radicals are introduced into the body through exposure to pollution, smoking and eating high fat, fried foods.
Antioxidants also help protect our immune system, meaning that we have stronger defences against coughs, colds and other bugs. They also help protect against health conditions such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, dementia and even certain cancers.
Cranberries and Cystitis
Cranberries are also linked with the ability to help fight urinary tract infections such as cystitis. It's thought that there's a compound in cranberries that help prevent the bacteria that cause urine infections from sticking to the walls of the bladder. If you suffer with cystitis, next time you have a bout, try drinking cranberry juice along with any other treatments you use to help reduce the severity of your symptoms.
Berries and Weight Loss!
Berries are naturally high in fibre, which helps to keep us fuller for longer. Staying full of the good stuff means not reaching for the bad stuff, which is a good recipe for weight loss!
But blueberries in particular have been linked with weight loss. Studies have suggested that they could help to reduce belly fat, the part that many of us find hardest to shift. The evidence is still young, but as blueberries are so full of nutrients, I don't see anything wrong with a handful of blueberries as a post workout snack! They'll help to hydrate you too.
Acai berries have also been linked with weight loss. Again, the evidence is still in its early stages, but since these vibrant berries are packed with anti-inflammatory antioxidants, adding these purple delights to a healthy and varied diet certainly won't do any harm.
Another berry linked with weight loss is the goji berry. It's thought these tiny berries could help us to burn fat and make the perfect breakfast granola topping.
The secret to health isn't much of a secret. It's following a healthy diet, strength training, cardio, staying well hydrated and getting plenty of sleep. Making sure you eat berries every day is an excellent addition!