Blueberries, blackberries, raspberries and strawberries are among the tastiest—and healthiest—fruits you can eat.
They’re loaded with fiber and they pack a strong punch of antioxidants and other important vitamins and nutrients that fuel your body.
There are plenty of reasons to keep berries in your fridge, said Holly Dykstra, RD, a registered dietitian with Spectrum Health.
“Berries are well known for their high nutrient value and their ability to promote heart and brain health and prevent or slow disease progression,” Dykstra said. “They are incredibly tasty and also versatile. Berries can be enjoyed fresh in entrees or desserts, dried in salads or cereals, or frozen in smoothies or cooked in sauces.”
Dykstra recommends making berries a kitchen staple so you can enjoy them on a regular basis.
Here are 10 reasons to eat more berries:
1. Rich in antioxidants
Blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries have the highest antioxidant activity of any fruit. In addition to protecting your body’s cells, plant compounds found in berries may reduce risk of disease.
2. Good for gut health
Rich in fiber and probiotics, berries are good for your gut. Try to make them a regular addition to snacks, salads and meals to toughen your tummy.
3. Improves blood sugar levels
Berries may help improve blood sugar and insulin response when eaten with higher-carb foods, or simply included in smoothies. Toss a handful into your next smoothie to add fresh fruit flavor.
4. Full of fiber
Fiber can help slow down digestion, leading to reduced feelings of hunger and increased feelings of satisfaction and fullness. Try a scoop of berries on a cup of low-fat cottage cheese or low-fat yogurt at snack time.
5. Packed with vitamins and nutrients
Berries, especially strawberries, are high in vitamin C. One cup of strawberries provides 150% of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin C, making it a bona fide immunity-booster.
6. Great for heart health
Berries can lower cholesterol levels and improve heart health, Dykstra said.
Mixing and matching berries into your favorite cereal or oatmeal recipes is a great way to help lower cholesterol and increase your intake of fruits.
“Berries are a wonderful choice if you’re trying to follow a heart-healthy eating pattern,” Dykstra said.
Eating a cup of blueberries each day offers nutrients that can help reduce risk factors for cardiovascular disease, among other benefits.
7. Versatile superfood
Berries can be found in a variety of different nutrition plans, including the cardiometabolic, paleo, low carb and Mediterranean diets. These plans all offer healthy recipes that incorporate superfoods such as berries.
8. Available year-round
Blueberries, raspberries, strawberries and blackberries can typically be found at your local grocer throughout the year. They also add a dash of color to your snacks and meals during the cold winter months.
Keep in mind that berries are easy to store and they last quite some time. They can be frozen to use later in smoothies and juices.
9. Maintains healthy weight
Given their fiber and liquid content, berries give you a sense of fullness—and feeling sated is an important part in managing a healthy diet.
10. Low-calorie snack
The calorie count for 3.5 ounces of berries ranges from 32 calories for strawberries to 57 for blueberries. “These are some of the lowest-calorie fruits you can choose, which means they offer more nutrients bite-per-bite than many other fruits,” Dykstra said.