You’ve probably heard by now that dark chocolate is actually good for you thanks to a host of compounds it contains, including antioxidants. Add another yummy treat to the “good for you” list: berries.Just one cup of berries provides all the disease-fighting antioxidants you need each day. Antioxidants “mop up” free radicals, which damage cells and contribute to chronic illness like cancer, heart disease and Alzheimer’s disease. Free radicals also speed aging. Antioxidants are found in leafy vegetables, fruits, wine, and chocolate. Antioxidants are also found in certain vitamins and minerals, such as vitamins A, C and E, zinc and selenium.
Cranberries, blueberries and blackberries rank highest in antioxidant levels. Apples follow closely behind. On the color wheel, the purple-blue-red-orange spectrum contains the most antioxidant-rich fruits.
Berries are also a rich source of polyphenols and contain high levels of heart-friendly Vitamin C. According to a recent study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, a diet rich in berries can boost levels of good cholesterol (HDL) and lower blood pressure. The study concludes that regular consumption of berries plays a role in heart disease prevention.
Berries can be a “fountain of youth” of sorts, too, thanks to anthocyanin, the blue-red pigment in blueberries and strawberries. This powerful antioxidant works with vitamin C to protect and repair skin cells.
So fill up that fruit bowl and dig in for health – and beauty!