Six Berries to Boost your Running Body

Berries are packed with health-boosting nutrients - here are our top six picks.

Kirsten Hartvig |

Berries are packed with health-boosting nutrients – here are our top six picks. – By Runner and Author, Kirsten Hartvig.

1/ Strawberries

Berry 1

Research has shown that strawberries can strengthen the body’s inherent self-healing capacity, neutralising the actions of free radicals and counteracting the effects of low-density lipoproteins in the blood, thus limiting plaque build-up in the arteries. They also contain chemicals that protect against sun exposure.

2/ Raspberries

Berry 2

These contain important polyphenols and flavonoids including anthocyanins and ellagic acid, proffering significant anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antioxidant effects. Their combination of phytochemicals, vitamins and minerals helps the body to regulate heart rate, blood pressure and the formation of red blood cells. They also contain xylitol, a low-kilojoule, low GI sugar that is absorbed slowly, keeping blood sugar levels stable.

3/ Blackcurrants

Berry 3

It’s no wonder blackcurrants were relied upon as a vital source of vitamin C during the Second World War, when oranges were in short supply – a 100g portion provides 2.5 times the recommended daily amount, fortifying the immune system. They’re also a good source of anthocyanins, important for cardiovascular health. Their powerful antioxidant action strengthens capillaries and dampens inflammation.

4/ Blueberries

Berry 4

Research looking at 20 different fruits and berries found blueberries had the highest antioxidant capacity of all, which helps to protect body cells from oxidative stress, reducing the risk of tissue degeneration resulting from inflammation. Eating blueberries regularly has also been shown to improve memory, and their toning effect on blood vessels may prevent varicose veins and haemorrhoids. Dried blueberries are an effective remedy for diarrhoea.

5/ Blackberries

Berry 5

Blackberries, a good source of soluble and insoluble fibre and a range of antioxidants – 100g provides a fifth of daily vitamin E needs. The pigment cyanidin, which gives the berries their deep colour, contains phytonutrients that help fight inflammation. The seeds contain omega-3 oils that are released when chewed.

6/ Cranberries

Berry 6

The phytochemicals in cranberries, known as a proanthocyanidins (PACs), act as a barrier to bacteria, preventing them from sticking to the urinary tract and multiplying, which helps ward off urinary tract infections. As packed with vitamins, nutrients, and antioxidants as other berries, only the cranberry contains this unique form of PAC. Recent research has also indicated that their tannin content may aid oral health.

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