Berries are one of the most delicious fruits that, despite their small size, have many health benefits for seniors. They are also great for improving the digestive process, lowering cholesterol, losing weight, increasing blood circulation, building bone tissue and strengthening the immune system. Besides, berries help slow the ageing process, reduce blood pressure, protect the eyes, improve the body’s metabolism, and have anti-cancer properties. Keep reading this article of Living Maples Mag to know more about the benefits of berries for seniors.
Berries are sweet fruits that grow in temperate regions around the world. The tree originated in China and spread across the globe. Berries have a unique taste and a fantastic combination of nutrients. The scientific name of the berries depends on the species. The most common berry species include Chinese berry (Morus australis) and blackberry (Morus nigra), but several other varieties exist. Berries are available in various colours like white, green, red, blue, and black.
The Nutritional Value of Berries
Berries are rich in iron, riboflavin, vitamin C, vitamin K, potassium, phosphorus, and calcium essential for the body. They also have significant dietary fibre and a wide range of organic compounds such as phytonutrients, zeaxanthin, resveratrol, anthocyanins, and lutein.
Properties of Berries for Seniors’ Health
Berries are among the fruits that have many benefits for all age groups, from children to adults. In the following, we will mention some of the essential properties of berries for seniors’ health.
Helping with Digestion
Like many fruits and vegetables, berries contain fibre, one serving of which provides about 10% of your daily needs. Dietary fibre helps improve food digestion by moving the food faster through the digestive tract. Thus, you are less likely to experience constipation, bloating, and abdominal cramps. When fibre is added to the diet regularly, it can improve heart health by regulating cholesterol levels.
Increasing Blood Circulation
High levels of iron in berries can significantly increase red blood cell production. It means that the body increases oxygen distribution to vital tissues and organs, increasing metabolism and optimizing these systems’ function in seniors.
Regulating blood pressure
Resveratrol is an essential flavonoid that directly affects specific blood vessels’ function and reduces the risk of angiotensin, which causes the narrowing of blood vessels. Furthermore, resveratrol increases the production of nitric oxide, which dilates blood vessels. When blood vessels rupture, there is a reduced risk of blood clots forming and subsequent heart problems such as stroke or heart attack. Many berries, including wild berries, contain resveratrol.
Berries as Anti-cancer Fruits for Seniors
Besides having a high level of anthocyanins, vitamin C, vitamin A and polyphenols, berries are rich in antioxidants such as chlorogenic acid and are among the best foods to prevent cancer in old age. Antioxidants are the vital defence forces against free radicals, which form a dangerous byproduct of cellular metabolism. Free radicals damage healthy cells and turn them into cancer cells. Studies have shown that anthocyanin extract in berries can slow the spread of melanoma in seniors.
One of the carotenoids in berries is zeaxanthin, directly linked to reducing oxidative stress in some eye cells, including retinal macula lutea. Besides, zeaxanthin acts as an antioxidant and prevents retinal damage, including free radical damage that can cause macular degeneration and cataracts.
Anti-inflammatory Properties of Berries
Studies show that berry leaves have anti-inflammatory properties. Researchers show that berry leaf tea can reduce pain caused by inflammation.
Strengthening the Immune System
Vitamin C is a powerful defence mechanism against any disease or foreign pathogens in the body that antioxidants can do nothing about. Just one serving of berries provides almost all of your vitamin C needs in one day. Now add to this amount of vitamin C, minerals and other vitamins found in berries and enjoy a powerful weapon against diseases. You can add some berries to your breakfast to boost your immune system.
Building Healthy Bones
Vitamin K, calcium, iron, and small amounts of phosphorus and magnesium in berries can help build and protect the bone tissue. As we age, it becomes more critical to maintain strong bones, accelerate recovery, or even reverse the process of bone loss to prevent diseases such as osteoporosis or other age-related bone diseases.
- Read More: How Can Seniors Build Muscle?
Lowering Bad Cholesterol
Regular consumption of berry leaf powder and berry leaf tea can significantly reduce triglyceride and bad cholesterol levels. It helps prevent atherosclerosis, heart attacks and strokes.
Preventing Premature Ageing
Berries are high in vitamins A and E and several carotenoid compounds such as lutein, beta-carotene, zeaxanthin and alpha-carotene. Free radicals damage skin, tissues, hair, and other body parts, so these elements act as antioxidants. Berries can help skin care by preventing free radicals’ oxidation, reducing blemishes that appear with age, and keeping hair healthy and shiny.
- Read More: The Best Skin Care Tips for Seniors
The benefits of berries for seniors are endless. Furthermore, some studies show that berries reduce fat formation in the liver and prevent fatty liver disease.
Precautions in Consuming Berries
- Berries are good for lowering blood sugar levels, especially for seniors with high blood sugar and diabetes. However, seniors with diabetes must consume berries with a doctor’s advice.
- It is almost rare to find someone who is allergic to berries. If this is your first time eating berries, start small and see how your body reacts. Seniors who are allergic to pollen may also be allergic to berries.
Read More: Nutrition in Seniors with Diabetes
Berries are among the fruits that are good for seniors’ health. Hence, adding them to the diet can help improve the functioning of the body’s systems and increase life quality. Therefore, you can also enjoy the benefits of this beautiful fruit.