Berries – Fitness Superfood #4

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Berries 101: A power packed superfood to keep you young and healthy

Welcome to day 4 of our 12 day series showcasing the top 12 superfoods to help you with your fitness and nutrition goals.

Today I want to cover all the healthy nutrition benefits of eating berries.

In particular:

  • Blueberries
  • Raspberries
  • Strawberries
  • Blackberries

Berries - Fitness Superfood #4

By now you’ve probably heard most of the obvious health benefits of eating berries.

But there are many additional nutrition benefits that are not as obvious.

Lets jump into them.

#1. Reduce Muscle Soreness After Your Workouts:

Berries are an excellent post-workout food as they are great for speeding up recovery after an intense workout.

They provide the body with much needed antioxidants to help remove a lot of the waste caused by working out.

Once this waste is removed, the body can get to work repairing, recovering, and re-building sore muscle tissue.

#2. Helps You Lose Weight

The antioxidants in berries has been shown to help reduce the excessive production of the fat storing hormone insulin, when consuming higher carbohydrate foods.

So if you’re eating higher glycemic foods, you can lower the glycemic response by simply adding berries to your oatmeal or use a natural strawberry jam on your toast.

Managing your insulin production is also very important for lowering the risk of diabetes.

Berries are also high in fiber and key nutrients that can help improve you hunger control hormone, leptin.

By keeping your hunger in check, you’ll be less likely to binge of fattening foods, which can you with being in a calorie deficit.

Plus, berries are a sweet little snack to keep your sugar cravings in check.

When it comes to weight loss, berries are also a much better fruit choice than dried fruits.

Dried fruits have a much higher glycemic response and can wreck havoc on your blood sugar levels when eaten in excess.

#3. Lowers Inflammation, Fights Cancer and Disease, and Keeps You Looking and Feeling Young

Berries - Fitness Superfood #4

Inflammation occurs in the body when oxidative stress, causing free radicals, accumulates over time.

Free radicals essentially wreck havoc on your cells and DNA, similar to a rusting vehicle.

This can cause the body to age prematurely.

Although the body can produce some antioxidants on its own, it can’t produce enough to properly fight free radical formation from smoking, pollution, and over consumption of sugary foods.

During exercise, the body is also placed under higher levels of oxidative stress that can create free radicals.

By consuming antioxidant rich foods like berries, you’re fueling the body to give electrons back to the unstable free radical atom.

This process can help:

  • neutralize inflammation
  • lower blood pressure
  • fight free radical damage
  • reduce the risk of cancer and disease, like heart disease
  • lower LDL cholesterol
  • keep you looking and feeling younger.

Also by lowering the inflammation in the body, it can reduce the production of the stress hormone cortisol.

When cortisol is produced in excess, you tend to crave more refined, high carbohydrate foods, thus increasing your risk of fat gain.

#4. Help Improve Gut Health and Brain Function

Berries - Fitness Superfood #4

The healthy combination of antioxidants and fiber can also help improve the functioning of the healthy bacterial, called microflora, in the gut.

A healthy gut and digestion is extremely important for a healthy metabolism and weight loss.

In addition to gut health, berries have also been shown to be a brain healthy food.

They can improve blood flow to the brain and lower the risk of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.

Are Frozen Berries as Healthy as Fresh Berries?

Yes.

There is no significant nutritional difference in fresh berries versus frozen berries.

In fact, we typically have more frozen berries as they are cheaper and they last longer as you can buy them in bulk.

How to Add More Berries into your Diet:

Berries are a very versatile food as they can be added to so many different meals and snacks including:

  • Salads
  • Smoothies (including your post-workout shake)
  • Homemade healthy baked goods, cereals, pancakes, and desserts

What About Berry Juice?

We prefer to eat the full berry as the processing of juice can remove some of the nutrients and fiber.

This can increase the glycemic response while limiting the health benefits.

However, there are some no sugar added, concentrated pure berry juices that are better than others, but they tend to be more expensive.

Since the berry juice is concentrated, you can add water to it, thus using less of it, and keeping the extra calories to a minimum, if weight loss is your goal.

If you can afford it, pure berry juice can be a good source of antioxidant rich liquid for your post-workout protein shake, and can help speed up recovery.

But don’t worry, adding water with frozen berries to your post-workout protein shake tastes delicious and does the job just fine.

How Much Fruit Can I Eat a Day?

Unlike fibrous vegetables, we don’t consider fruit, including berries, a free food.

Due to the sugar content, we recommend most people moderate the amount of fruit they eat in a day.

Some people can over consume fruit which, when eaten in excess, wreak havoc on your metabolic system.

I typically recommend three servings of fruit per day for males and two servings per day for females.

If you’re looking to add volume to your meals and snacks, focus on eating more fibrous green vegetables.

Once again, these are free foods, so eat as much as you like!

Focus on a Wide Variety of Antioxidant Rich Foods

There are many antioxidant rich foods that you should consume in your daily diet, so don’t just rely on berries.

You should also be eating a full range of healthy foods to ensure you are getting all the necessary vitamins and minerals your body needs.

There is not just one food that contains all the necessary vitamins and minerals in the proper portion.

Therefore, eat a wide selection of healthy foods to effectively fight free radical damage.

Other antioxidant rich fruits include cherries and red grapes.

Here’s a easy and delicious recipe for my antioxidant rich superfood smoothie.

Berries - Fitness Superfood #4

So that’s it guys.

Come back tomorrow for fitness superfood #5.


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Brad Gouthro is the founder of Live Lean TV, a media company focused on helping men and women “Live Lean” 365 days a year. Brad’s programs and content have helped millions of people all over the world learn how to get in shape, and more importantly, sustain it for life.

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