Ask anyone and they’re bound to say that one of their favourite fruits is a berry. Strawberries, blackberries, cranberries, blueberries, the list is almost endless. So, it’s no wonder the berry family of fruits reigns supreme in many people’s hearts.
Aside from being delicious, these fruits pack a punch in the nutrition department. In fact, berries are considered “superfoods” – which essentially means that they are foods that are nutritionally dense, good for the body and give you a little more bang for your buck.
Berries as Superfoods
Superfoods have been gaining popularity in recent years because of the many positive effects they can have on the body. While all veggies and fruits are beneficial and great to include in your diet, there are a select few that are more packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. One of these is the berry.
The berry family of fruits stand front and centre when it comes to nutritional value. Even green leafy vegetables and citrus fruits don’t stand a chance against berries. The attention and accolades that berries have been receiving have all been backed up by science and studies. For example, there has been a link made between women who eat at least 3 servings of berries a week have a lower risk of experiencing a heart attack. The reason behind this is that some berries have anthocyanin, a powerful antioxidant that can potentially improve blood vessel function and may even lower blood pressure.
If you’re really wanting to make the most of super berries, there are a few that leave everything else in the dust when it comes to health benefits – keep reading to learn more about our favourite berries here at Superfoods Australia.
Is it a-kai? A-say? The right pronunciation for this exotic berry is ah-sa-ee. It grows in the Amazon rainforest of South America and grows on palm trees. South Americans enjoy acai berries in a variety of ways: the fruit is turned into a pulp. Fresh, clean water is added to dilute it a bit and it is often eaten with meat, dried shrimp, fish, and manioc. Acai berries don’t have a strong flavour profile, making it a versatile ingredient in most dishes.
What makes acai berries amazing is how high its antioxidant content is. Antioxidants help get rid of free radicals in the body. Too many free radicals can lead to many healthy issues in the future. Certainly, any help in eliminating them is a huge welcome! Acai berries contain an antioxidant called polyphenols and have 10 times more of this than its cousin, blueberries.
Aside from antioxidant power, acai berries are an excellent source of oleic acid or omega 9. Omega 9 is known to reduce bad cholesterol levels in the body.
Acai berries can’t be eaten raw in Australia, and this is because they are imported to Australia from South America. So, you will notice that most acai berries available in the market today are freeze dried or bought in a frozen pulp. There are acai berries in capsule forms, making it a convenient way to include it into your diet. If you have the chance to enjoy it raw, then you’re in luck: raw acai berries have the highest concentration of its nutrients.
Discover more about Acai berries and their benefits here.
It seems like South America is full of powerful superfoods since another favourite super berry of ours, the maqui berry, is grown in Chile. In fact, some indigenous tribes like the Mapuche people have sought after the maqui berry for centuries. They weren’t wrong about the fruits because it turns out that it is one of the most powerful superfoods there is.
Maqui berry is a deep purple fruit that grows abundantly in the wild. It has a tart taste and may take some getting used to. Like the acai berry, it is best eaten raw so that its nutritional value is best utilised by the body. However, freeze dried maqui berry is often the easiest form to find it in and still contains many of the vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants we need.
It is naturally packed with Vitamin C which is a known immunity booster. It also contains iron, calcium, and potassium. Polyphenols, a component that supports heart health, is also found in maqui berries. For antioxidant activity, the fruit has anthocyanins.
If you want to learn more about the benefits of Maqui berries, you can check out our article – “Six Fascinating Health benefits of the Maqui Berry”.
To round out our list of favourite berries, we want to tell you a bit about the Elderberry. Considered to be a natural remedy, use of the elderberries dates all the way back to the times of Hippocrates where people would eat or drink elderberries for either a bit of a natural nutritional boost or to fix minor ailments like colds and flus. To drink the elderberries, they would be made into a syrup.
Unlike the previous two berries, the elderberry is native to Europe, but was also used in places like America, North Africa, and parts of Asia. Like the Acai & Maqui berries, the elderberry is incredibly rich with antioxidants, giving it immunity boosting properties.
So, what can it do for you? Well in addition to the antioxidants it is packed with, the elderberry also contains vitamins A, B, and C, as well as “bioactives” like tannins and flavonoids. And what does all this mean for you? Well, the vitamins are handy in helping you fight off infections, and it’s also believed they can help reduce the severity of illnesses like fevers and headaches. While the bioactives are said to be anti-inflammatory that can help with preventing the onset of cell damage.
And on top of all of this, elderberries also contain high levels of fibre, which is helpful when it comes to digestion and reducing your risk of colon cancer.
If you’re looking to learn more about elderberries, you can do so right here, we’ve even given you a recipe for the cold and flu fighting elderberry syrup!
Berries in general are an awesome addition to your diet. As fruits they can be eaten fresh or frozen. Add them to your porridge, cereal, or smoothie not just for their nutritional value but also for their flavours.
Or you can add super berries, like the Acai, Maqui and Elderberry to your diet for that extra immune boost. You can shop for these super berries online with us at Superfoods Australia – and when you shop online with us you have access to a huge range of superfoods, fast shipping Australia-wide and AfterPay. It really couldn’t be easier to add superfoods to your diet today!