What’s a key component in some of your favorite desserts or snacks? If you said chocolate, well, yeah, us too. However, the second most commonly requested item in a dessert is berries! Besides being delicious, berries also have numerous health benefits. Whether your favorite berry is a blackberry, loganberry, or mulberry, each berry offers its own unique blend of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Some believe that berries can even help fight cancer, elevating them from a tasty snack to tiny, juicy warriors!
Top 5 Health Benefits of Berries
Antioxidant Rich: The antioxidants in berries protect cells from being damaged by free radicals. Free radicals, which are unpaired atoms, are unstable and damage cells throughout the body. Antioxidants stop the free radicals by giving them electrons, making them a stable and neutralized pair instead of an unstable single atom.
Anti-Aging: Say "thank you" to those antioxidants! One common theory of aging states that free radicals (remember them?) damage the DNA over time, leading to memory loss, grey hair, wrinkles. Like we mentioned above, the antioxidants in berries help to neutralize free radicals! In other words, incorporating lots of berries into your diet could help you look and feel younger.
Vitamin and Mineral Packed: Every berry packs a huge punch of vitamin C, as well as many other vitamins. Vitamin C can keep the heart healthy, blood pressure normal, and help the body absorb iron. The vitamin C found in berries can also fortify your immune system.
Full of Fiber: We all know the benefits of fiber! The fiber in berries can improve the digestive track.
Cancer Fighting: While not proven, some research has shown that eating berries may lower your risk of getting cancer, and even fight against cancer cells and tumors. In some cases, researchers have also noted a potential link between cancer or tumor shrinkage when an increased amount of berries are added to your meal plan.
The Best Berries & Fun Ways to Eat Them
As we saw above, all berries are good for your health! Of course, you can get the benefits of berries any way you eat them, especially eating them raw in a salad or as a snack—but that's not always exciting! Below, we have listed three of our favorite berries to fight cancer with easy, healthy, and super yummy recipes to go with them!
These natural gems are packed with antioxidants that can help to prevent cell damage and boost the immune system; BIG things come in small packages!
Recipe: Flax Blueberry Pancakes
1 1/2 cups dry pancake mix
1/2 cup flaxseed meal
1 cup skim milk
In a medium bowl, stir together the pancake mix and flaxseed meal. In a separate bowl or measuring cup, whisk together the milk and eggs. Pour the liquid into the dry ingredients, and stir just until moistened.
Spoon 1/4 cupfuls of batter onto the hot skillet. Sprinkle with as many blueberries as desired.
Cook until bubbles appear on the surface, then flip and cook until browned on the other side.
Who says taking your vitamins has to be a chore? Strawberries come “jam”-packed (Get it?) with a tremendous amount of Vitamin C, potassium, folate, and manganese, along with various antioxidant compounds. Some studies have shown possible links between strawberries and a decrease in cancer cell growth.
Recipe: Quick and Healthy Strawberry Frozen Yogurt
4 cups frozen strawberries
3 Tablespoons agave nectar or honey
1/2 cup plain yogurt (non-fat or full fat)
1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Add the frozen strawberries, agave nectar or honey, yogurt and lemon juice to the bowl of a food processor. Process until creamy (about 5 minutes).
Serve the frozen yogurt immediately or transfer it to an airtight container and store it in the freezer for up to 1 month.
Known for packing a punch of flavor, raspberries are the perfect nutrient-filled treat to curb your sweet tooth. Antioxidants and vitamins B, C, E, and K are just a few components your body can use to help fight cancer. In fact, studies have shown the antioxidants in raspberries paired with additional vitamins can help repair cell damage caused by chronic illnesses, cancer included.
Recipe: Raspberry & Almond Overnight Oats
1/2 Cup Old Fashioned Oats
1/2 Cup Almond Milk
1 tbsp Maple Syrup or Honey
1 tbsp Chia Seeds
1/4 Cup Rasberries (frozen or fresh work here)
1 tbsp Chopped Almonds
Put the oats, almond milk, maple syrup/honey, and chia seeds in a sealable container. Stir together. Seal container and chill in fridge overnight or at least 2 hours.
In the morning, add in the raspberries and almonds, and dig in! You can also add more almond milk if necessary to get your desired texture.
Berries are indeed a harmonious flow of sweet, tangy, and just plain healthy. Adding more berries into your diet is a simple way up your intake of antioxidants and vitamins. What’s your favorite type of berry or recipe? Let us know in the comments section below!