Berries are a delicious and widely available food source that is not only juicy and packed full of flavor. They also contain lots of essential nutrients. We all know the importance of including fresh fruits in our diets, but did you know that eating berries can actually help to boost your brain power?
There are many different nutritional properties within berries that provide numerous health benefits, however it is the flavonoids that need to be praised for their brain boosting ability.
Flavonoids are a polyphenolic molecule that is found in a variety of different fruits and vegetables. They are especially present in berries of all kinds, and are highest in blueberries in particular. They have several different functions, including being responsible for the variety of different shades of blues, reds and yellows that berries grow in. Comprised of 15 water soluble carbon atoms, flavonoids can be divided into 6 major subtypes including; isoflavonoids, flavones, chalcones, anthoxanthins and anthocyanins.
Flavonoids are believed to not only have an antioxidant effect on the brain and the cell signalling pathways, research also suggests that these flavonoids work to help improve the ability to gain and maintain information as well as support general cognitive function. This means that by eating berries you are essentially improving your reasoning and decision making skills, your numerical ability and your verbal comprehension! It is no wonder that doctors are recommending these delicious fruits be included in the diets of students who are studying!
This brain boosting potential of berries has been known for a while, however studies are now showing a possible link between flavonoids and a slowing down in the decline of mental function that is often an inevitable result of old age. Scientists now believe that it is possible they may even help prevent disorders such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease.
More Than Just A Brain Boost
Eating berries won’t only help support your brain function, they have also been found to help support many other areas of health including:
- Neutralize the free radicals that are linked to the development of cancer cells
- Promote healthy cell regeneration which slows down the aging process
- Promote healthy skin, hair and nails
- They have anti-inflammatory properties which can assist in the management of conditions such as arthritis
- Support healthy immune function
- Help reduce bad cholesterol levels
- Support healthy digestive function
Apart from the numerous health benefits that have already been mentioned, berries are also packed full of a variety of nutrients that are essential to a healthy diet. Some of these include:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin B (1, 2,6)
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin E
- Vitamin K
- Pantothenic Acid
Berries come in different colors, sizes and with different flavors, all of which have varying amounts of these different nutrients. Some of the more common berries available in most supermarkets include: strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, mulberries, blackberries, cranberries, goji berries and acai berries.
Delicious And Diverse
Even if you are not a fan of berries (but seriously, who doesn’t love them?), that doesn’t mean you can’t find a way to include them in your diet in an enjoyable way. They are wonderfully diverse and are great in salads, in sauces, with ice cream or yogurt, dried, or in healthy smoothies. They can be eaten fresh off the tree or vine, but they also freeze well, so you can enjoy berries all year round!