Food is information so what you eat matters. Choosing foods that assist the body in calming inflammation promotes our bodies ability to live healthier, longer. One of the ways to do that is by eating antioxidant rich foods to promote our mitochondrial health. Berries are a great source of antioxidants that can assist in our healthy aging.
What is inflammation and why is it bad?
Inflammation is a natural response of your immune system to fight off infections, injuries, and toxins. It helps your body heal and protect itself from harm. However, sometimes inflammation can become chronic, meaning it lasts for a long time or occurs frequently. Chronic inflammation can damage your cells and tissues, and contribute to various diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, cancer, and Alzheimer's disease.
Some factors that can trigger or worsen chronic inflammation include stress, lack of exercise, smoking, alcohol, pollution, and foods that cause inflammation. These foods are typically high in refined carbohydrates, saturated fats, trans fats, added sugars, and artificial additives. Examples of inflammatory foods are processed meats, fried foods, pastries, soda, and candy.
On the other hand, some foods can help reduce inflammation by providing antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, fiber, and phytochemicals that modulate your immune system and prevent oxidative stress. These foods are usually plant-based, whole, and minimally processed. Examples of anti-inflammatory foods are fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes, whole grains, herbs, spices, and fatty fish. When following the principles of the mediterranean diet you'll be enjoying all of these beneficial ingredients.
Do strawberries reduce inflammation?
Strawberries are one of the most anti-inflammatory fruits you can eat. They are rich in vitamin C, which is a powerful antioxidant that boosts your immune system and protects your cells from free radical damage. Vitamin C also helps synthesize collagen, which is a protein that keeps your skin, bones, joints, and blood vessels healthy.
Like other fruits and veggies strawberries contain fiber, which helps lower your blood sugar levels and cholesterol levels. Fiber also feeds the beneficial bacteria in your gut, which play a key role in regulating your immune system and preventing inflammation.
But what makes strawberries stand out among other fruits are their phytochemicals. These natural compounds are what give plants their color, flavor, and aroma. They also have biological activities that can affect your health in various ways.
Strawberries are particularly high in a type of phytochemical called anthocyanin. Anthocyanin is a pigment that gives strawberries their red color. It also has anti-inflammatory effects that may reduce your disease risk. According to a 2019 study, anthocyanin has links with a lower risk of heart attacks. Another phytochemical found in strawberries is ellagic acid. Ellagic acid is a polyphenol that has been found to contain antioxidant and anti-cancer properties. It may also help prevent DNA damage and inhibit tumor growth. A 2018 review of research suggests that phytochemicals found in berries may help delay cancer development and progression.
What are the other benefits of eating strawberries?
Besides reducing inflammation, eating strawberries may have other positive effects on your health. Some of these benefits include:
- Improving your blood pressure and blood flow. Strawberries are a good source of potassium, which helps regulate your fluid balance and blood pressure. They also contain nitrate, which is a compound that helps relax your blood vessels and improve blood flow.
- Enhancing your brain function and memory. Strawberries are rich in flavonoids, which are phytochemicals that can cross the blood-brain barrier and modulate your brain activity. Flavonoids may help improve your cognitive function, learning, and memory by enhancing your neuronal communication and neurogenesis.
- Supporting your eye health. Strawberries contain lutein and zeaxanthin, which are carotenoids that accumulate in your retina and protect your eyes from oxidative stress and blue light damage. They may help prevent or delay age-related macular degeneration, which is a leading cause of vision loss in older adults.
- Boosting your immune system. Strawberries are one of the best sources of vitamin C, which is essential for your immune system. Vitamin C helps stimulate the production and function of white blood cells, which are the cells that fight off infections and diseases. Vitamin C also enhances the absorption of iron, which is a mineral that supports your immune system and oxygen transport.
How many strawberries should you eat?
When it comes to food as medicine it's important to eat a wide variety of plant foods. Strawberries are not the only berries that have anti-inflammatory properties. Other berries, such as blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, and cranberries, are also potent in antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity. Studies have linked increased berry consumption with lower risks of heart disease, Alzheimer's disease, and diabetes. Other research shows that the fruit’s bioactive compounds lower system-wide inflammation and, when a regular part of the diet, help prevent numerous chronic conditions, such as heart disease, stroke and type-2 diabetes.
As for dosage - there is no definitive answer to how many berries you should eat per day to reap their anti-inflammatory benefits. However, some studies have used doses ranging from 150 grams (about 1 cup) to 500 grams (about 3 cups) of fresh or frozen berries per day. This will depend on your caloric needs and personal diet plans.
You can enjoy berries as a snack, as part of a salad, or blended into a smoothie.You can also eat them fresh or frozen, depending on the season and your taste.
Here's an easy way to add more berries into your daily life and reap all the amazing longevity benefits! Here's a delicious recipe for a healthy breakfast protein shake.
If you want to enjoy the anti-inflammatory benefits of strawberries in a delicious and satisfying way, you can try this easy vegan protein smoothie recipe. It is high in protein and low in sugar, making it a perfect breakfast or post-workout drink.
- 1 cup of unsweetened almond milk
- 2 scoop of vanilla vegan protein powder
- 1/2 avocado (pitted and skin removed)
- 1 cup of frozen strawberries
- 1/4 cup of frozen blueberries
- 1 tablespoon of almond butter
- A handful of spinach
- Add all the ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth and creamy.
- Adjust for consistency - Enjoy!
I hope you've enjoyed learning how to integrate healthy nutrition for longevity into your diet. You can always reach out to us if you have questions and don't forget to take a look at our organic programs.