Written By Lucy Sharp. Since the recent hepatitis-A berry scare, there has been a lot of hype and discussion in the media about their use and place in our diets. So are berries really that beneficial for us? Put simply, yes. Berries contain very high levels of antioxidants, which are compounds that help fight disease and oxidative stress within our bodies, thus protecting us from illness. One of the most well-known antioxidants is vitamin C, which plays an important role in maintaining cartilage and collagen stores. Eating foods such as berries which are high in vitamin C will support healthy skin, hair, ligaments and blood vessels, and also play a role in the speedy healing of wounds and scar tissue. Since vitamin C is a water soluble vitamin, what we do not use in our body is excreted via our urine. For this reason, we need a consistent supply for our body’s growth and development.
Another lesser known antioxidant provided by berries is quercetin. Quercetin plays a role in regulating and moderating the allergic and inflammatory response with the body, and has therefore been shown to be beneficial in the relief of conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis.
According to Susie Burrell, a well known Australian dietitian, berries such as blueberries and raspberries are just as nutritious raw, as they are frozen. So don’t let seasonality be a hindrance to eating a wide variety of berries within a mix of different recipes. Berries can easily be added as a topping for desserts, or within muffins and muesli mixes.