Berries have been shown to be some of the healthiest foods on the planet. Every month or so it seems new research is being published and new berries are being discovered and analyzed for their health giving properties.
Extremely high in antioxidants, berries rank among my favorite foods. So here is my list of different kinds of berries that are extremely high health benefits (in no specific order).
1. Goji Berries
Traditional societies link this potent berry to sexual vitality, happiness, longevity, and overall physical strength. Grown in Tibet and Nepal, goji berries have been scientifically linked to possessing the ability to fight negative health conditions and protect the liver from contaminates.
Deep red in color, goji berries are composed of 18 essential amino acids, 21 trace minerals, vitamins B1, B2, B6, and E, linoleic acid, selenium, germanium, and more amounts of beta carotene than the common orange carrot.
A study from the Chinese Journal of Oncology found that patients with cancer responded better to treatment when goji berries were added to their daily diet.
Other Names for Goji Berries: Chinese Wolfberry, Mede Berry
The blueberry is literally an antioxidant powerhouse. That famous deep blue color is related to high amounts of phytonutrients called anthocyanidins . These phytonutrients aid in the process of neutralizing free radical damage in our cells.
Over time, the collagen matrix of our tissues and cells begins to deteriorate. Blueberries help to keep this from happening, with the highest capacity for free-radical neutralization of any other berry.
A recent study from Tufts University analyzed over 50 common fruits and vegetables, looking for hard scientific data on their antioxidant capabilities. Blueberries consistently came out on top of this list. Blueberries aid in the ability of the body to synthesize vitamin C, as well as improve the integrity of capillaries and tissues.
Blueberries also help to reduce our chances of developing diseases related to inflammation of the cells. This includes a reduced risk for heart disease, many types of cancer, cataracts, varicose veins, hemorrhoids, glaucoma, and peptic ulcers.
The American Institute for Cancer Research has stated the following in reference to this powerful blue fruit: “We now know that blueberries are one of the best sources of antioxidants, substances that can slow the aging process and reduce cell damage that can lead to cancer.”
3. Acai Berries
The acai berry is a relatively new-found health treasure. Once only known in the forests of the Amazon rainforest, the acai berry was traditionally used as a powerfully healing, energy-boosting fruit.
Similar to red wine, acai berries are dense in levels of anthocyanins, a substance associated with heart health and lowered levels of cholesterol.
Due to their strong antioxidant contents, acai berries are also related to slowing the process of aging and preventing diseases related to cellular oxidative damage. In fact, one acai berry holds ten times the amount of antioxidant vitamins as grapes, and two times the amount of blueberries.
Three times smaller than the blue berry, but similar in appearance and flavor, bilberries are extremely high in antioxidant anthocyanidins.
Bilberries are a well-known fruit for helping diabetes, as anthocyanidins protect the lining in our blood vessels from being degenerated through the process of toxic oxidation. Bilberries have also been linked to possessing components that aid in the ability to increase night vision, protect the eyes, and reduce the occurrence of poor vision, cataracts, and macular degeneration.
Bilberries also hold components that increase the amount of blood flow to the circulatory vessels. This fact allows them to be useful in treating conditions related to circulatory problems such as varicose veins and hemorrhoids. Bilberries are best taken in a supplement or extract form.
Other Names for Bilberries: Huckleberry, Wineberry, Dyeberry
With over 600 varieties of strawberries on the earth, you won’t have to look hard to find this deep-red health booster. Like most other berries, strawberries are high in antioxidant phytonutrients known as phenols. Phenols are responsible for protecting the heart from disease, reducing risks of cancer, and acting as an overall anti-inflammatory fruit.
Studies show that strawberries may also help protect our brains from age-related mental debility, due to a powerful antioxidant capacity. Strawberries also reduce macular degeneration of the eyes, and are an excellent source of potassium, fiber, many B vitamins, vitamin C, vitamin K, manganese, iodine, folate, omega-3 fatty acids, magnesium and copper.
One study from Cornell University  demonstrated that strawberries stopped the proliferation of HepG(2) liver cancer cells. Another study showed that a substance found in the berry called isothiocyanate inhibited esophageal cancer.
Blackberries are more than just powerful antioxidants. They are also extremely high in some of the highest forms of chronic disease and cancer-fighting compounds: vitamins C, E, and ellagic acid.
They also hold high levels of a soluble fiber known as pectin, a substance that studies link to lowered levels of cholesterol. Related to the rose, lab studies on these thorny-bushed berries at Ohio State University showed the ability to stop tumor formation in the oral cavity, as well as proliferation of colon cancer cells.
Cherries are high in quercetin and ellagic acid. This antioxidant flavonoid has been shown to act as an anti-cancer agent in cells and tissues.
Cherries are also high in anthocyanins and bioflavonoids, substances related to reducing the symptoms of arthritis, inflammatory conditions and migraine headaches. Cherries also contain melatonin, an important natural chemical related to healthy sleep rhythms and maintaining a youthful appearance.
Growing Your Own Berries
Most berries are fairly easy to grow in your backyard and fun to pick and eat first thing in the morning for breakfast. I do recommend all berries should be organically certified of course. Although not listed as one of my favorite berries, raspberries are extremely high in ellagic acid and also have tremendous health benefits.
What are your favorite berries? Let me know in the comments below.
1. “Anthocyanins in aged blueberry-fed rats are found centrally and may enhance memory,” Nutritional Neuroscience, Volume 8, Number 2, April, 2005 , pp. 111-120(10)
2. “Direct vasoactive and vasoprotective properties of anthocyanin-rich extracts,” J Appl Physiol. 2006 Apr;100(4):1164-70. Epub 2005 Dec 8.
3. “Dietary supplementation with bilberry extract prevents macular degeneration and cataracts in senesce-accelerated OXYS rats,” Adv Gerontol. 2005;16:76-9.
4. “Antioxidant and antiproliferative activities of strawberries,” J Agric Food Chem. 2003 Nov 5;51(23):6887-92.
Dr. Edward F. Group III has his Naturopathic Doctorate, Clinical Herbalist, Holistic Health Practitioner, Clinical Nutritionist certifications, and is a Diplomate of the American Clinical Board of Nutrition and the American Board of Functional Medicine. He founded Global Healing Center Inc. in 1998 which has earned recognition as one of the largest alternative, natural and organic health resources on the Internet.
A dynamic author and speaker, Dr. Group focuses solely on spreading the message of health and wellness to the global community with the philosophy of full body cleansing, most importantly colon cleansing, consuming pure clean organic food, water, air, exercise and nutritional supplementation. Visit GlobalHealingCenter.com to learn more about living green and healthy!