By Angela Wilson | Community Health and Human Services Intern
I am sure we have all heard the phrase, “You are what you eat”, (Ludwig). But what does this phrase really mean? In short, it means that we must eat foods that benefit our bodies so that we can be healthy and fit. Heart disease, diabetes, and other cardiovascular diseases disproportionately affect the African American community so it is imperative that we examine the benefits of consuming certain fruits which may significantly lower our chances of getting these diseases. This commentary will address the health benefits of strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries.
Strawberries are very rich in antioxidants and are an excellent source of vitamin C , manganese, folate, and potassium. Vitamin C strengthens the body’s defense and protects it from free radicals ( harmful molecules), which has been linked to many chronic diseases. Manganese is an element that assists in building bones, wound healing, and reproductive health. Folate and Potassium are important for normal tissue growth, cell function, and essential bodily functions such as regulating blood pressure. Strawberries are 91% water and have a very low carb content. They also have a significant amount of fiber, (approximately 26%), which improves digestive health by feeding the friendly bacteria in your stomach. Lastly, evidence suggests that strawberries lowers the spike in blood sugar after consuming a meal, thereby aiding in blood sugar regulation.
Blueberries contain some of the highest anti-oxidant levels which contribute to their ability to neutralize some of the free radicals that cause damage to your DNA. They also protect cholesterol in your blood from becoming damaged. Bad cholesterol (LDL), increases your risk for heart disease and stroke. Blueberries are strongly linked to reduced levels of LDL, which makes them very good for your heart. Anthocyanin, one of the powerful antioxidants in blueberries has significant beneficial effects on insulin sensitivity and glucose metabolism. This plays an instrumental role in reducing inflammation and aiding in the protection of conditions like cancer and diabetes.
Raspberries are very low in sugar and are considered to be antioxidant powerhouses because of their high vitamin C content. One 100-gram portion of raspberries provides 23 milligrams of vitamin C, which is approximately 30% of the recommended daily allowance for women. They are associated with a lower risk of chronic stress related diseases such as heart disease and cancer. Raspberries support good digestive health due to their high fiber content and they also reduce the amount of insulin needed to manage blood sugar levels.
As you can see, these fruits are key components to good health and well being and should be incorporated into our diets as we strive to become healthier, stronger, and happier while protecting our bodies from chronic diseases and illnesses.
Bjarnadottir, A. (March 2019). Strawberries 101: Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits. https://www.healthline.com. Retrieved February 27, 2023.
Ritcher, A. (January 2023). 10 Proven Health Benefits of Blueberries. https://www.healthline.com Retrieved February 27, 2023.
Sachdev, P. (September 2022). Health Benefits of Raspberries. https://www.webmd.com Retrieved February 27, 2023.