7 Wonder Berries That Are Great for Your Health ...

Here a berry, there a berry, everywhere a berry! Load up on these delicious, healthy berries listed by Wambui and you're sure to have a long, healthy life!

I am always on the lookout for foods that can help my aging brain stay alert. Berries are some of the best power foods not only for the brain but for your overall health. The Center for Disease Control recommends eating between 1.5 to 2.5 cups of fruits every day. Here are some of the berries that will give you the most antioxidant bang for your buck.

1. Blueberries

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This small blue fruit is highly loaded with antioxidants. Antioxidants protect our cells against the effects of free radicals. Did you know that free radicals can be detrimental to your cells and may contribute to heart related diseases, cancer and other illnesses? The richer the color, the more antioxidants they have. Loaded with Potassium and vitamin C, blueberries are also a source of fiber. Most of us rarely meet the recommended amount of daily fiber. Researchers say that just a handful of this brain food a day can ward off age related cognitive decline. Choose those that are plump, with an even color and make sure they don’t stick at the bottom of the container as that is a sign that they could be moldy. I like to throw a handful in my oatmeal or fruit salad and I'm good to go.

2. Cranberries

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This is one fruit with a history as rich as its health benefits. Used by Native Americans as red dye, they are a must have in the American and Canadian Thanksgiving meal. Known for their juice - a home remedy for blocking urinary track infections (UTI), cranberries rank high in promoting antioxidants and have anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer benefits. The phytonutrients in cranberries help lower your chances of inflammation.

3. Raspberries

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Like blueberries, raspberries are an excellent source of vitamins and minerals. We know that consuming fruits in vitamin C helps our bodies develop a strong immune system that fight infectious diseases. In addition to vitamin C, raspberries contain vitamin B-6 and folic acid which help the body break down carbohydrates, protein and fats. Raspberries are red-pink in color but also come in other colors such as black, purple, orange and even yellow and white! Buy those that are plump, shiny and make sure they are not wrapped tightly as this squeezes the fruit.

4. Strawberries

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The consumption of strawberries can help increase good cholesterol and lower blood pressure. Of course they should not be a replacement to your daily course of therapy. Strawberries are commonly available in red but there are other varieties such as gold, purple and black. Use them to make jams, squashes, syrup, ice cream or other confectioneries. Look for medium sized ones as they have more flavor compared to the large ones. 8 large strawberries can count as 1 cup and contain more vitamin C than an orange.

5. Blackberries

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Grown in temperate climates, blackberries are also rich in vitamins and minerals. Low in sugar and glycemic index these delicious little fruit can make a great snack especially for those with diabetes. Blackberries are also said to have phytoestrogens - estrogen-like chemicals that aid in the relief of PMS. Choose those that have fully ripened with a deep purple color.

6. Elderberries

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To be honest, this is one berry that I have not had. But after learning about all the medicinal benefits that they provide, including fighting colds, yeast infection, improving vision as well as lowering cholesterol, I will definitely be eating away this fruit come August when they are said to ripen.

7. Cherries

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This red fruit that is mostly available in the summer has been linked with the fight against diabetes and heart diseases. Scientists say that drinking just one glass of cherry juice gives you the same benefits as consuming 23 portions of vegetables and fruits! Psst! don’t tell this to my kids though – they are finally starting to enjoy eating their greens. However they love cherries and it makes a great snack for them at summer camp.

Which of these berries do you incorporate in your daily diet? The more any of these berries make their way into your refrigerator, the more diseases you will fend off, feel better and look great.

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