Spring is here which means that the summer-fruiting berry plants are not far from coming into their own. Furthermore, with summer almost upon us you have no doubt turned your attention to getting fit and healthy in readiness for holidays, breaks away, parties, events and sporting your gorgeous seasonal wardrobe.
Whilst regular physical exercise is one of the single most important things you can do for improving your overall health and wellbeing, as well as losing weight, improving skin, sleeping better, being happier and warding off all manner of unpleasant illnesses. Eating a healthy and nutritious diet is equally as crucial and will work hand-in-hand with regular physical activity to keep your body in tiptop condition.
So with this in mind, now is definitely the perfect time to think about eating seasonally. And what better addition than the delicious summer berries which are filling the shelves of your local supermarket, farmers’ market and greengrocer. Let’s take a closer look at why summer berries are great for your health:
- In general, all berries are packed full of the essential nutrients, vitamins and minerals your body needs to enjoy optimum health. These include vitamins A, C, E, K, B1, B2 and B6, as well as folic acid, potassium, zinc, calcium and iron.
- Most berries, in particular blackberries, redcurrants, blackcurrants, gooseberries, raspberries, strawberries, tayberries and blueberries, contain high quantities of phytonutrients. Phytonutrients are found in concentrated levels in the peel or skin of fruits and vegetables, and research has suggested that phytonutrients offer powerful nutrition and health benefits.
- Most berries contain high levels of antioxidants. Your body needs antioxidants to support its immune system, as well as helping to fight free radicals which can be responsible for increasing the risk of suffering from chronic diseases and health problems, such as cancer, stroke, high cholesterol and blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease.
- Furthermore, many berries offer anti-inflammatory properties. Scientists have recently found that eating a diet rich in foods which boast these anti-inflammatory properties could have possible links with helping to improving memory function, balance and co-ordination. In addition, it has been reported that the polyphenols found in all dark-coloured berries (blackberries, blueberries, blackcurrants etc.) may help to improve cognitive function by assisting the removal of toxic proteins in the brain. Whilst far more research is required, findings so far are proving very exciting.
- Most berries are full of important dietary fibre, which is essential for maintaining a healthy digestive system. In addition, eating a diet rich in foods which contain high levels of dietary fibre will ensure your appetite is sated and you will feel fuller for longer. In turn, this will result in greater weight loss statistics – if that is your aim.
- And talking of weight loss… you will find that snacking on berries, as well as adding them to your breakfast, lunch or dinner, will help you with your weight loss goals. Not only is the important dietary fibre brilliant, but berries are very low in calories whilst boasting high levels of water which, again, helps to make your tummy feel fuller for longer. So you can eat berries merrily!
And finally, all berries are absolutely delicious too. They can be eaten both sweet and savoury, and they make the perfect treat if you need a healthy and tasty snack on the run.
Actions speak louder than words
From FREE health club trials to impressive membership deals and great gifts when you refer a friend… Good things definitely come to those who get active! Find out more by visiting the Vital Health and Wellbeing website, or asking at reception for further information.