Top 5 Fruits within the berry family you should try

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Berries are small, spherical, soft fruits that come in various colors, primarily blue, red, or purple. They have a sweet or sour flavor and are commonly used in jams, preserves, and desserts.

What Defines a Berry?

A berry is a fleshy fruit without a stone (pit) generated from a single flower with one ovary, according to botany. Grapes, currants, and tomatoes, as well as cucumbers, eggplants (aubergines), and bananas, are considered berries under this classification, although certain fruits, such as strawberries and raspberries, are not.

The botanical definition includes many fruits that are not commonly known or referred to as berries, such as grapes, tomatoes, cucumbers, eggplants, bananas, and chili peppers. Fruits commonly considered berries but excluded by the botanical definition include strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries, which are aggregate fruits, and mulberries, which are multiple fruits. Watermelons and pumpkins are giant berries that fall into the category “pepos”. A plant-bearing berry is said to be bacciferous or baccate.

Berries are eaten worldwide and are often used in jams, preserves, cakes, or pies. Some berries are commercially important. The berry industry varies from country to country as do types of berries cultivated or growing in the wild. Some berries such as raspberries and strawberries have been bred for hundreds of years and are distinct from their wild counterparts, while other berries, such as lingonberries and cloudberries, grow almost exclusively in the wild.

While many berries are edible, some, such as deadly nightshade and pokeweed, are dangerous to humans. Others, including the white mulberry, red mulberry, elderberry, are poisonous when unripe but edible when fully ripe.

Why is Strawberry not a Berry?

Strawberries and raspberries aren’t technically berries in the botanical sense because they are aggregate fruits generated from a single flower with several ovaries. True berries are simple fruits with multiple seeds that grow from a single bloom with one ovary.

Reasons to love berries

Its anti-oxidative nature

Antioxidant-rich foods can help you enhance your health, protect your skin and hair, avoid diseases, and slow down the aging process. Antioxidants are found in all fruits and vegetables, but nutrient-dense berries are among the finest sources. Free radicals can harm our cells and DNA, and antioxidants battle them. Antioxidant-rich foods, such as berries, are like ammunition for your warriors!

They make great appetizers and desserts for your parties

You have a million items on your to-do list while throwing a party. Berries are a low-maintenance food, which makes hosting a lot less stressful. Simply wash the berries, unpack them into a lovely bowl, and serve. It doesn’t get any more straightforward than that!

They reduce inflammation

Berries protect the body from injury and additional inflammation, or chronic inflammation, due to their antioxidant content.

They are great for your heart

Although all berries appear to be heart-healthy, studies reveal that blueberries may lower the chance of a heart attack. Berries, on the other hand, are high in fiber and can help to decrease cholesterol levels. This is beneficial to those who have a family history of heart disease.

Berries are juicy and high in water. Foods heavy in fiber and water also make you feel full, causing you to eat less, making them ideal for weight loss. Fibre also helps to decrease cholesterol and aids in the clearance of waste from the digestive tract.

5 Types of Berries

  • Blueberries
  • Goji berries
  • Raspberries
  • Cranberries
  • Grapes

1.     Blueberries

Blueberries - Fruits in the berry family

Blueberries are a category of perennial flowering plants with blue or purple berries that are extensively dispersed and pervasive. Within the genus Vaccinium, they are categorized in the section Cyanococcus. Cranberries, bilberries, huckleberries, and Madeira blueberries are all members of the Vaccinium genus.

Blueberries are delicious, healthful, and widely consumed. They are often referred to as superfoods because they are minimal in calories and extremely beneficial to your health. Many people consider them to be their favorite fruit since they are so good and convenient.

Nutritional value

One cup of fresh blueberries contains:

  • 84 calories
  • 0 g of cholesterol
  • 1.1 g of protein
  • 0.49 g of fat
  • 21.45 g of carbohydrate
  • 3.6 g of dietary fiber
  • 14.74 g of total sugars

Blueberries also provide:

  • 9 milligrams (mg) calcium
  • 0.41 mg of iron
  • 114 mg of potassium
  • 9 mg of magnesium
  • 18 mg of phosphorus
  • 1 mg of sodium
  • 0.24 mg of zinc
  • 9 mg of folate

Health benefits of blueberries

1.     They are highly nutritious

Blueberries are high in vitamin K1, vitamin C, manganese, and anthocyanins, which are important plant chemicals.

One cup of fresh blueberries contains 85 calories, 1 gram of protein, no fat, and around 20 grams of carbohydrate, with 4 grams of fiber. In addition to roughly a quarter of the daily minimum target for immune- and skin-supporting vitamin C, that same amount contains over four ounces of water. They also supply a quarter of the daily manganese need and nearly a third of the daily vitamin K requirement. The latter nutrient promotes collagen creation for healthy skin and joints, as well as maintaining strong bones.

2.     It prevents the oxidation of LDL Cholesterol

The effects of oxidative stress are not restricted to your cells and DNA. When your “bad” LDL cholesterol is oxidized, it becomes an issue. The oxidation of “bad” LDL cholesterol is an important stage in the development of heart disease. Blueberries’ antioxidants have been linked to lower levels of oxidized LDL. As a result, blueberries are excellent for your heart.

A study found that, over eight weeks, a daily 2-ounce (50-gram) intake of blueberries reduced LDL oxidation by 27% in obese persons.

Another study found that eating 2.5 ounces (75 grams) of blueberries with a major meal significantly lowered LDL cholesterol oxidation.

3.     Healthy aging

A diet high in fruits and vegetables can help prevent age-related disease and cognitive decline, as well as a variety of other chronic diseases. Blueberries, in particular, are known for being high in antioxidants when compared to other common fruits. Antioxidants are substances that protect cells from oxidative damage caused by aging, persistent sun exposure, environmental pollutants, and stress.

4.     It helps regulate blood sugar

Blueberries have a low Glycaemic Index due to their low sugar content and high fiber content (GI). This, combined with its high flavonoid content, may aid in improving insulin sensitivity, which is crucial for blood sugar management.

5.     It helps improve heart health

Blueberries protect against arterial hardening, a disease that increases the risk of heart attack and stroke, by reducing inflammation and oxidative stress. Over six months, research in males with metabolic syndrome evaluated the benefits of one cup of blueberries per day versus placebo. The blueberry eaters had long-term improvements in arterial function, including less stiffness, as well as improved cholesterol profiles. According to the findings, blueberries should be incorporated into dietary regimens to minimize the risk of heart disease.

2.     Goji berries

Gigi berries- Fruits in the berry family

Powdered or dried versions of these berries are commonly available. They’re also found in a variety of supplements and juice blends. Goji berries are small red fruits that are high in antioxidants and have therapeutic effects. They’re not only pretty to look at, but they’re also tasty and flavorful.

They’re a great source of nutrients, including vitamins and minerals. Goji berries are notable for containing specific antioxidants known as Lycium barbarum polysaccharides, which are claimed to have a wide range of health advantages.

Nutritional value

Just 5 tablespoons (28 grams) of dried goji berries pack:

  • Calories: 98
  • Protein: 4 grams
  • Fat: 0.1 grams
  • Carbs: 21.6 grams
  • Fiber: 3.6 grams
  • Sugar: 21.8 grams
  • Iron: 11% of the Daily Value (DV)
  • Vitamin A: 501% of the DV
  • Vitamin C: 15% of the DV

Just a serving is loaded with so many great nutrients.

Health benefits of Goji berries

1.     They are excellent sources of antioxidants

Antioxidants protect your cells from free radicals, which are dangerous substances that can cause cell damage.

The oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC) of goji berries is 3,290. This rating indicates how many antioxidants are present in a certain dish.  Goji berries have a higher ORAC score than bananas (795) and apples (2,828) but are slightly lower than blackberries (4,669) and raspberries (5,065).

Keep in mind that ORAC values are derived in test-tube research, thus the effects of these fruits may vary in the human body. Goji berries, however, have been shown to increase antioxidant levels in people.

Antioxidant indicators increased by more than 8% in 50 healthy adults who drank 4 ounces (120 ml) of concentrated goji berry juice every day versus those who did not.

2.     The antioxidants in Goji berries are great for your eyes and skin

Goji berries have a high level of an antioxidant called zeaxanthin, according to studies. Goji berries, saffron, and bell peppers all contain zeaxanthin, which gives them their vivid hue. This antioxidant helps protect your lens and retina against damage.

When cells are exposed to substances such as smoke or radiation, antioxidants protect them from breaking down. Furthermore, foods strong in antioxidants are frequently high in fiber and low in harmful fats.

The same study discovered that older persons who consumed goji berries as a daily dietary supplement for 90 days had reduced hypopigmentation and drusen, or yellow deposits, in their eyes.

Goji berries may improve eye health and protect against disorders like macular degeneration, a progressive eye disease that can lead to visual loss, according to promising studies.

In a 90-day study of 150 older persons, supplementing with goji berries raised blood antioxidant levels, avoided hypopigmentation of the macula (the center part of the retina), and helped soften fatty protein deposits under the retina.

Similarly, a study of 114 adults with early macular degeneration found that daily goji berry supplementation enhanced retinal pigment density, possibly protecting against macular degeneration progression.

3.     They support immune function

Goji berries have been used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries to prevent disease and infection, as well as to naturally boost immunity.

Drinking 4 ounces (120 mL) of goji berry juice each day for 30 days raised immune cell counts and improved general emotions of well-being in 60 older persons, according to a 30-day study.

Goji berry supplements boosted immune function in response to an influenza vaccine in a three-month study of 150 older people.

These immune-health findings are backed up by animal research. Additional research is still required.

3.     Raspberries

Raspberries- Fruits in the berry family

The raspberry is the edible fruit of a multitude of plant species in the genus Rubus of the rose family, most of which are in the subgenus Idaeobatus.

Raspberries are a popular berry that has a deep red color and a sweet, juicy flavor. Vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants are abundant in them.

Raspberries come in a variety of colors, from the traditional red and black to purple, yellow, and golden. Each berry color offers a different mix of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. They are often used in desserts and are a very good source of fiber.

Nutritional value

One cup (123 grams) of red raspberries contains:

  • Calories: 64
  • Carbs: 14.7 grams
  • Fiber: 8 grams
  • Protein: 1.5 grams
  • Fat: 0.8 grams
  • Vitamin C: 54% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI)
  • Manganese: 41% of the RDI
  • Vitamin K: 12% of the RDI
  • Vitamin E: 5% of the RDI
  • B vitamins: 4–6% of the RDI
  • Iron: 5% of the RDI
  • Magnesium: 7% of the RDI
  • Phosphorus: 4% of the RDI
  • Potassium: 5% of the RDI
  • Copper: 6% of the RDI

Health benefits of raspberries

1.     They are low in sugar

Raspberries are one of the lowest sugar fruits, containing only 5 grams of sugar per cup fresh, compared to around 20 grams in a medium apple. This makes them an excellent choice for anyone who has a sweet appetite yet wants to limit their sugar intake.

2.     They may help alleviate arthritis

Animal studies suggest that raspberries, which are high in anti-inflammatory chemicals such as anthocyanins, can help relieve arthritic symptoms. These studies also show a lower risk of developing arthritis as well as less damage to the joints in those that developed the condition. More research and human trials are needed to confirm these effects.

They are good for your digestive health cup of raspberries has 8 grams of dietary fiber, which is one-third of the daily fiber requirement. Because our bodies are incapable of processing and absorbing fiber, raspberries’ net carb value is reduced to roughly 7 grams per cup due to their high fiber content. Fiber also promotes satiety, lowers blood sugar levels by slowing digestion, and promotes digestive health. Raspberry fiber also promotes the growth of healthy intestinal bacteria. The latter is connected to improved immunity and a more upbeat attitude.

3.     They may protect against metabolic syndrome

A 2017 study indicated that mice with metabolic syndrome (a medical term for a combination of diabetes, high blood pressure, and obesity) improved their weight and insulin sensitivity after being fed a single dose of raspberries every day. These findings are backed up by a body of research, but further research is needed to validate their relevance to humans.

4.     Cranberries

Cranberries - Fruits in the berry family

Cranberries are a tart-tasting, extremely nutritious fruit. It’s for this reason that they’re rarely eaten uncooked. Instead, cranberries are often taken in the form of juice or cranberry sauce. They can also use them in things like stuffing, casseroles, and desserts. These nutrient-dense berries are also a Thanksgiving feast favorite.

Many people consider cranberries to be a superfood due to their high nutrient and antioxidant content.

Nutritional value

Fresh cranberries are nearly 90% water, but the rest is mostly carbs and fiber.

The main nutrients in 1 cup (100 grams) of raw, unsweetened cranberries are:

  • Calories: 46
  • Water: 87%
  • Protein: 0.4 grams
  • Carbs: 12.2 grams
  • Sugar: 4 grams
  • Fiber: 4.6 grams
  • Fat: 0.1 grams

Health benefits of cranberries

1.     They help in managing UTIs

Cranberries were used in conventional UTI therapies. However, studies on the impact of cranberries on UTI treatment have yielded mixed results. For example, according to a 2016 study published by medical practitioners most regularly recommend cranberries to women who have recurring UTIs.

In addition, a 2014 research of 516 people found that taking a cranberry extract capsule twice a day lowered the risk of UTIs. Cranberries include a significant amount of antioxidant proanthocyanidins (PACs), which help prevent bacteria from adhering to the walls of the urinary system. Cranberries’ PACs aid to prevent infection in this way.

However, while cranberry capsules can achieve this, cranberry juice is unlikely to have the same impact, according to a 2015 study.

This is because preventing bacterial adherence requires a high quantity of cranberry extract. Commercially available cranberry juices don’t have nearly as many PACs.

Meanwhile, a 2019 study found that even though cranberries did not appear to get rid of the bacteria that cause UTIs, combining cranberry extract with caprylic acid derived from coconut oil and oregano essential oil extract resulted in the eradication of the most common bacteria, Escherichia coli.

2.     They may reduce risks of  gastric ulcer and stomach cancer

Cranberries include a plant component that may help prevent gastric ulcers and stomach cancer caused by the Helicobacter pylori bacteria. Consuming cranberry products, which are naturally high in this component (known as A-type proanthocyanidins), appears to lessen the risk of stomach cancer by suppressing the bacteria’s proliferation.

3.     They reduce risks of cardiovascular diseases

According to some studies, the polyphenols in cranberries may help to lower the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD).

A comprehensive analysis published in 2019 indicated that including cranberries in one’s diet can help people control numerous CVD risk factors. The systolic blood pressure, which is the blood pressure during a cardiac muscle contraction, is one of them.

Cranberry supplementation was also found to help lower body mass index (BMI) and raise HDL, or “good,” cholesterol levels, according to the study.

A different study looked at 78 people who were overweight or obese. It was discovered that daily consumption of a single dose of a low-calorie cranberry beverage high in plant components improved blood sugar management, chemical indications of inflammation, and HDL lipoprotein levels.

5.     Grapes

Grapes - Fruits in the berry family
Image credit: Unsplash

A grape is a berry-like fruit found on the deciduous woody vines of the Vitis genus of flowering plants. Grapes can be eaten fresh as table grapes or dried as raisins, currants, and sultanas. They can also be used to make wine, jam, grape juice, jelly, grape seed extract, vinegar, and grape seed oil.

They’re nutrient-dense, sweet as candy, and have been a staple of civilization since the dawn of time. Grapes are served in a variety of ways to fulfill our cravings, including fresh bunches, dried snack-friendly nuggets, and their essence extracted and fermented into intoxicating elixirs.

Nutritional value

Grapes are high in several important nutrients.

One cup (151 grams) of red or green grapes contains the following nutrients:

  • Calories: 104
  • Carbs: 27.3 grams
  • Protein: 1.1 grams
  • Fat: 0.2 grams
  • Fiber: 1.4 grams
  • Vitamin C: 27% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI)
  • Vitamin K: 28% of the RDI
  • Thiamine: 7% of the RDI
  • Riboflavin: 6% of the RDI
  • Vitamin B6: 6% of the RDI
  • Potassium: 8% of the RDI
  • Copper: 10% of the RDI
  • Manganese: 5% of the RDI

Health benefits of grapes

1.     It is great for weight loss

You wouldn’t think a fruit this sweet could help you lose weight, but grapes may be able to help you do just that. They contain a natural compound that appears to make it more difficult for your cells to store fat. It may also speed up the breakdown of fat cells in your body. Just be sure you don’t eat too many. Half a cup, or around 16 grapes, equals one serving.

2.     They may protect against certain types of cancers

Grapes have a high concentration of beneficial plant chemicals that may help protect against cancer.

One of the molecules found in this fruit, resveratrol, has been extensively researched in terms of cancer prevention and treatment. It has been shown to protect against cancer by reducing inflammation, acting as an antioxidant, and preventing cancer cells from growing and spreading within the body.

On the other hand, Grapes may have anti-cancer properties due to a unique combination of plant compounds. In addition to resveratrol, grapes contain quercetin, anthocyanins, and catechins, which may all have anti-cancer properties.

Grape extracts have been shown in test tubes to inhibit the growth and spread of human colon cancer cells. In addition, one study found that eating 1 pound (450 grams) of grapes each day for two weeks reduced signs of colon cancer risk in 30 adults over the age of 50.

Grape extracts have also been shown to inhibit the growth and spread of breast cancer cells in laboratory and mice models.

While there has been little human research on grapes and cancer, a diet rich in antioxidant-rich foods like grapes has been associated with a lower risk of cancer.

3.     Grapes are great for the immune system

Grapes help the immune system through their inherent anti-microbial characteristics, in addition to the vitamins C and A noted above, which are both important for immunity. A one-cup serving contains roughly two and a half ounces of water, which is essential for hydration, circulation, and healthy blood flow, as well as waste disposal.

There are so many more different kinds of berries out there with unimaginable health benefits. Incorporating these healthy fruits into your meals as desserts or appetizers would do a great deal to your health.

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