Better Than Blueberries: 3 Antioxidant-packed Fruits

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Better Than Blueberries: 3 Antioxidant-packed Fruits
June 12
19:43 2016

Okay, so we have all heard of the amazing health benefits of blueberries. What makes this fruit so beneficial is largely due to its high antioxidant levels. As a reminder, antioxidants are the ‘good guys’ that help the body neutralize the damaged cells and DNA that occurs on a daily basis (from pollution, chemicals, stress, to name only a few sources). As a rule, the darker the fruit, the more anthocyanins (a specific subtype of potent antioxidant) they contain. However, anthocyanins are only one subtype of a larger group that is known as flavonoids. Flavonoids are the superstar category of antioxidants that made foods like garlic, chocolate and wine famous for their health benefits.

Back to the blueberries. Although they are a wonderfully nutritious, high-fiber, low-calorie and readily available fruit, if you’re looking for the top players in the antioxidant game there are much bigger superstars. For comparison purposes, according to the USDA, cultivated blueberries have an antioxidant content of 1.85mmol/100g. Let’s see how some others stack up.

The ALL-STAR antioxidant powerhouses

Amla berries (Indian gooseberries), dried. 261 mmol/ 100g

You read this right. Over 200 times more antioxidant capacity than blueberries, this berry native to Indian has a sour taste, and is packed with vitamin C. Studies also show it has potent cancer and diabetes-fighting properties. The best part? Even if you only add a small amount to your diet, you will be way ahead of everyone else relying on the simple blueberry to get healthy. You may be asking: ‘where can I find this fruit?’ You can buy the fresh and dried versions (even in powder form) in several health food stores. Why not add a few handfuls of the dried berry to your trail mix to boost the health benefits of your afternoon snack?

Bilberries, dried. 48mmol/100g

You may be familiar with this berry due to its protective effects on eye health. Well-studied for eye strain, macular degeneration and night vision, this potent cousin of the blueberry has also been shown to help blood sugar and poor circulation. Tasting very similar to the blueberry, but with over 25 times more antioxidant power, who wouldn’t want to make the switch to eating this instead?

Barberries, dried. 27mmol/100g

This is a lesser-known fruit, although commonly used in several middle-eastern dishes. The tiny red berry has strong antibacterial properties, helps digestion, skin disorders AND tastes good. These berries, once hard to find, are now more widely available to purchase online. Why not mix a few of these powerhouse fruits (together with gooseberries and bilberries) for an even bigger impact?

What’s the point of eating blueberries anyway?

So why don’t we all switch over to these exotic dried berries instead of ever eating an apple or blueberry again? In reality, fresh fruits carry a lot of health value that dried does not. They have a hydrating effect on the body and don’t require any preservatives that may be present in some dried products (always check the label). Overall, however, it’s important to remember that the real health impact of antioxidants comes from including a variety of fruits, vegetables, nuts and spices in the diet. While antioxidants are a strong indicator of the power of a food, they are just one way to measure its ‘healthiness’. Each food has a unique set of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that work together to fight disease and slow the aging process. When we consume a larger variety of fruits, for example, we are getting small amounts of many molecules that we haven’t even studied yet!

However, until we can surely say what foods have the greatest health benefits, the antioxidant value is a good way to make choices when filling your grocery cart. Oh, and in case you were wondering if those golden kiwis were better for you than the regular ones, they are (about 3x more antioxidant power)! You’re welcome.

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About Author

Dr. Laura Belus, ND

Dr. Laura Belus, ND

Dr. Laura Belus, ND (Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine) - Licenses & Memberships: College of Naturopaths of Ontario, Ontario Association of Naturopathic Doctors, Canadian Association of Naturopathic Doctors |

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  1. Clutter July 11, 23:23

    Hello! Fantastic post! Please when I could see a follow up!

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