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Berries

6 deliciously healthy berries and recipes

Berries are vibrant, full of flavour, and can be used in a wide range of sweet and savoury recipes. They are also packed with healthy vitamins and other nutrients that protect us from illness. With the help of a dietitian, we explore the top six healthy berries and share delicious recipe ideas.

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1. Blueberries

Blueberries are often called a superfood because just a handful of them a day is thought to provide multiple health benefits, including improved memory, concentration, blood pressure, and faster reaction time1.

Reema Patel, a London-based nutritionist at Dietitian Fit, explains how: "Blueberries have a high level of polyphenols, specifically anthocyanins, which are a type of antioxidant. These compounds are powerful as they help to reduce oxidative stress in the body, where cells are damaged by unstable atoms called free radicals.

"Compounds in blueberries have also been shown to help reduce risk of type 2 diabetes as they can improve insulin sensitivity."

Recipe idea: Blueberry baked oats.

Blueberry baked oats

Blueberry baked oats

2. Goji berries

Goji berries look like bright red pips and their nutrients also pack a punch. Like blueberries, they are high in polphenols so can protect against cell damage and associated problems like weakended immunity, accelerated ageing, and even cancer2.

"Goji berries are also a great source of vitamin A," adds Patel, "This is important for eye health and can help reduce age-related decline in eye problems."

Recipe idea: Quinoa tabbouleh with goji berries.

Quinoa tabbouleh with goji berries

Quinoa tabbouleh with goji berries

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3. Raspberries

There are several types of raspberries, but the most widely available in the UK is the red version. The deeper the colour, the more antioxidants the raspberry contains. Black raspberries therefore have the most, followed by red and then golden raspberries3.

Patel says: "The particular antioxidant in raspberries is called ellagitannins. It's thought that black raspberries may reduce inflammation."

Inflammation in the body is linked to several long-term health issues, including cardiovascular disease and Alzheimer's disease.

Recipe idea: Raspberry and apple smoothie.

Raspberry and apple smoothie

Raspberry and apple smoothie

4. Acai berries

You may not always find acai berries in UK supermarkets, but these berries are growing in popularity and can be purchased online or in many health food stores. You may also have heard of acai bowls - a favourite dish of social media fitness influencers thanks to their picture-perfect colours and great health benefits.

"Acai berries are really high in antioxidant content. They can also support better blood sugar and insulin levels which can help with the management of diabetes4," says Patel.

Recipe idea: Acai bowl.

Acai bowl

Acai bowl

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5. Cranberries

The main investigated benefit of cranberries is their ability to fight bladder and other urinary tract infections (UTIs)5. This is because they contain a substance that helps prevent bacteria from sticking to the walls of your bladder.

However, Patel cautions that cranberry juice is much less effective, as much of the antioxidant properties are lost in the juicing process: "If possible, stick to fresh or frozen cranberries."

Recipe idea: Goat's cheese, sunflower seed and cranberry salad.

Goat's cheese, sunflower seed and cranberry salad

Goat's cheese, sunflower seed and cranberry salad

6. Strawberries

"Strawberries are incredibly healthy, with one serving containing all of your vitamin C requirements for the day, whilst being very low in calories," says Patel. "As strawberries are rich in fibre, they can help us feel fuller for longer. They are also a good source of vitamin K and magnesium."

As a result, this deliciously sweet fruit can reduce the health problems linked to heart problems and type 2 diabetes. This includes high blood pressure, carrying excess fat around your waist, high blood sugar levels, high insulin resistance, and high cholesterol6.

Recipe idea: Vegan strawberry pancakes.

Vegan strawberry pancakes

Vegan strawberry pancakes

Patient picks for Healthy eating

Further reading

  1. Wood et al: Wild blueberry (poly)phenols can improve vascular function and cognitive performance in healthy older individuals.

  2. Ma et al: Goji berries as a potential natural antioxidant medicine: an insight into their molecular mechanisms of action.

  3. Sadik et al: Comparison of the nutritional proprieties of commercial strawberries, red and black raspberry consumed in Morocco.

  4. Silva et al: Açaí (Euterpe oleracea Mart) consumption and prevention of chronic diseases: is there an association? a preliminary study.

  5. Jepson et al: Cranberries for treating urinary tract infections.

  6. Basu et al: Dietary strawberries improve serum metabolites of cardiometabolic risks in adults with features of the metabolic syndrome in a randomized controlled crossover trial.

Article history

The information on this page is peer reviewed by qualified clinicians.

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