A closer look at why berries are so good for your health

Berries come in all shapes and sizes. They’re colorful and delectable, make versatile ingredients and are excellent sources of important nutrients. Besides fiber and antioxidants, berries are some of the richest sources of vitamin C available to man. But why is vitamin C so important for overall health?

Ascorbic acid – the chemical name of vitamin C – is one of several useful compounds the body cannot produce on its own. But because many vital functions require the help of vitamin C, you need to consume a certain amount of this nutrient every day to stay healthy. This makes vitamin C an essential nutrient that you need to prioritize getting from your daily diet.

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the daily recommended amount of vitamin C adults need is 75 milligrams (mg) for women and 90 mg for men. [1] You can meet this requirement by adding a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables to your meals. Citrus fruits like oranges and grapefruit, berries like blueberries and raspberries, and vegetables like broccoli and potatoes (with their skin on) are all excellent sources of vitamin C.

Because it’s a water-soluble compound, vitamin C easily dissolves in water inside your body. Any excess is expelled through your urine. Because your body is incapable of storing vitamin C, replenishing your vitamin C stores daily is the only way to prevent vitamin C deficiency.

The skin suffers heavily from a lack of vitamin C. This is because vitamin C is needed for normal collagen formation. Collagen is an important protein that gives structural support to your skin and hair, and is used by your body to make tendons, ligaments and blood vessels. [2] People with vitamin C deficiency bruise easily because their bodies don’t produce enough collagen to build strong blood vessels. As a consequence, their blood vessels rupture easily, causing blood to leak into the surrounding areas and form bruises. [3]

Collagen is also needed for maintaining healthy tissues, bones and cartilage. In addition, collagen plays a huge role in normal wound healing. That’s why you need to maintain healthy vitamin C levels so you can support your body’s natural production of collagen. [4]

Another function of vitamin C is to help your body absorb iron. Iron is important for the transport of oxygen from the lungs to other tissues. Non-heme iron, which you get from plant-based foods like rice, black beans, wheat and spinach, is harder to absorb than heme iron from animal-based foods like red meat, shellfish, poultry and fish. Vitamin C makes non-heme iron more soluble by binding to it, making it easier for this type of iron to cross the mucus membranes of the small intestine and be transported into the cells of the body. [5]  

The most well-known function of vitamin C has to do with the immune system. According to a study published in Nutrients, vitamin C promotes the body’s immune defense by supporting the functions of various immune cells. This includes its ability to respond to and get rid of threats. Vitamin C also supports the healthy function of epithelial cells, which are responsible for protecting your skin, gastrointestinal tract and airways against external threats. Research suggests that people deficient in vitamin C not only have a weak immune system, but are also more susceptible to threats. [6][7]

Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that neutralizes free radicals, which are formed when your body breaks down food or when you’re exposed to tobacco smoke or radiation. Free radicals are highly reactive and can easily damage your cells if they’re allowed to build up uncontested. While your body produces antioxidants of its own, you can raise your antioxidant defenses a notch by eating vitamin C-rich foods like berries. Aside from vitamin C, berries also contain an abundance of antioxidant flavonoids that are known to combat free radicals. [8]

8 Superfruits you should incorporate into your diet

Despite their small size, berries are some of the healthiest foods you can eat. These delicious and colorful fruits are low in calories but high in fiber, which you need to maintain a healthy heart and digestive system. [9]

According to nutritionists, dietary fiber is an essential component of a healthy diet because it can help you maintain healthy blood cholesterol and blood sugar levels that are already within the normal range. [10] Soluble fiber, which can be found in many fruits like berries, also serves as food for the beneficial bacteria in your gut. Soluble fiber is typically fermented in your colon and produces short-chain fatty acids (SCFA) that promote healthy gut function and support optimal metabolic health. [11]

Aside from fiber, berries are also rich in antioxidant compounds like vitamin C and anthocyanins, which are plant pigments that give berries their beautiful red, purple and blue colors. Berries are among the most abundant sources of anthocyanins, which researchers consider to be the most powerful natural antioxidants in the world. [12]

If you’re wondering which berries or fruits to add to your diet, here are some excellent options, along with their health benefits:*

  1. Organic blueberries – A popular summer treat, blueberries are juicy, sweet and packed with an impressive amount of nutrients. A 3.5-ounce (100 g) serving of fresh, organic blueberries can give you 2.4 g of fiber, 0.7 g of protein and 16% of the Daily Value for vitamin C. As an added bonus, blueberries also provide vitamins B6, B9 and K, and minerals like calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium and zinc. [13] An analysis of the antioxidant capacity of various berries found that blueberries contain the highest amounts of antioxidant phenols, flavonoids and anthocyanins among known berries. [14]

  2. Organic cranberries – Described as tart and tangy, cranberries are rarely eaten raw and are often consumed as juice. But you can never go wrong with cranberries as they pack a nutritional punch and boast wonderful health benefits. Although they are 90% water, a 100 g serving of fresh, organic cranberries can give you 0.4 g of protein, 4.6 g of fiber and decent amounts of vitamins A, B9, C, E and K1, calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium and zinc. [15][16] Cranberries also contain plenty of antioxidants, such as quercetin, myricetin, peonidin and ursolic acid. Together, these nutrients can help support healthy heart, kidney and bladder functions.

  3. Organic raspberries – Raspberries are deliciously sweet and are often used in teas, candies and baked goods. Like blueberries, they are low in calories and rich in fiber, delivering an impressive 8 g per 123 g serving. The same serving of raspberries can also give you 1.5 g of protein and 54% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI) for vitamin C. Other nutrients that you can get from raspberries include vitamins E and K, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus and potassium. [17] Thanks to these nutrients, plus the help of antioxidants like quercetin and ellagic acid, organic raspberries can promote healthy immune and heart functions and support sensible weight management plans.

  4. Organic strawberries – Strawberries are seedy, juicy and sweet fruits that owe their vibrant red hue to anthocyanins. They are also rich in other antioxidant compounds like pelargonidin, ellagic acid, ellagitannins and procyanidins, all of which are known to support heart health. [18] A 100 g serving of fresh, organic strawberries can give you 97% of the DV for vitamin C, 0.7 g of protein, 7.7 g of carbs and 2 g of fiber. The insoluble fiber in strawberries can help promote digestive health and support bowel regularity, while soluble fiber can help you maintain healthy blood sugar levels already within the normal range. [19] Other nutrients you can get from strawberries include vitamins B6, B9, K and E, copper, iron, magnesium, phosphorus and potassium.

  5. Organic tart cherries – Although tart cherries are not berries, they still deserve a spot on this list because of their impressive vitamin C content. Like cranberries, tart cherries are often enjoyed as juice instead of whole fruits because of their sour taste. An 8-ounce serving of pure organic tart cherry juice can give you 40% of the RDI for vitamin C, 62% of the RDI for vitamin A, 2 g of protein and 5 g of fiber. Tart cherries also contain omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids that are good for the heart, and decent amounts of B vitamins, calcium, copper, iron, magnesium and manganese. [20] According to a study published in Nutrients, tart cherries contain higher amounts of antioxidants per portion size than healthy foods like red wine, dark chocolate and orange juice. In fact, researchers placed tart cherries at number 14 on their list of the 50 highest antioxidant-containing foods in the world. [21]

  6. Organic elderberries – Elderberries, although not as popular as the other fruits on this list, have been used for centuries as a natural remedy in many parts of the world. These tiny, dark-colored berries get their health-promoting properties from a wide range of nutrients, plus antioxidants like vitamin C, flavonols and anthocyanins. [22] A one-cup serving of elderberries contains 1 g of protein, 52 mg of vitamin C (87% of the RDI) and a whopping 10 g of dietary fiber! Because of its impressive nutrient content, elderberries can support healthy brain, cardiovascular, immune and digestive functions. [23]

  7. Organic baobab – The fruit of the baobab tree, which is native to parts of Africa and Australia, is highly appreciated by locals for its delicious, citrus-like flavor and incredible nutrient content. Because it is not available in most countries, you’ll find baobab sold in health food stores as a dried powder. Two tablespoons (about 20 g) of powdered baobab can give you 1 g of protein, 9 g of fiber and approximately 58% of the RDI for vitamin C. Other essential nutrients that you can get from baobab include vitamins B3 and B6, calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium and zinc. Baobab is also packed with antioxidant polyphenols that can help you maintain healthy liver, heart, immune and digestive functions. [24]

  8. Organic acai berries – The fruits of acai palm trees found in the Amazon region have recently gained popularity as a health food because of their ability to promote healthy cardiovascular, cognitive, digestive and immune functions. These small, round fruits with dark purple skin are described as having an earthy taste that’s a cross between blackberries and unsweetened chocolate. [25] According to a report found in the U.S. Department of Agriculture database, acai berries contain high amounts of antioxidants – nearly 4x the amount found in blueberries! [26] You can get 2 g of fiber, 15% of the RDI for vitamin A and 2% of the RDI for calcium from 100 g of frozen acai berry pulp.

Where to get clean, organic vitamin C-rich fruits in a convenient powder form

Vitamin C is an important nutrient that performs many important functions inside the body. To support your overall health and well-being, you need to maintain healthy levels of this essential nutrient. Eating fresh fruits and vegetables is a good way to ensure adequate vitamin C intake. But for those who need a little help meeting your daily requirements, we’ve got the solution for you.

Health Ranger Select Organic Super C Berry Blend combines the potency of 8 unique superfruits in a convenient powder form to provide you with an easy way to boost your vitamin C intake. This flavorful mixture of organic blueberry, baobab, strawberry, raspberry, cranberry, elderberry and tart cherry extracts delivers 19 mg (31% of the DV) of pure vitamin C per serving. It also contains other essential nutrients that can help support your overall health.

As a whole food source of vitamin C, Health Ranger Select Organic Super C Berry Blend is superior to other supplements. Our premium berry powder blend provides highly bioavailable, non-GMO vitamin C and is gently sweetened with organic monk fruit powder, one of the best sugar substitutes available today. By combining the wholesome goodness of these nutritious fruits and berries, we’ve created a healthy way for you to indulge your sweet tooth and boost your daily intake of vitamin C, antioxidants and other essential nutrients at the same time.

Health Ranger Select Organic Super C Berry Blend is a great addition to your post-workout smoothie, shake or juice. You can also mix it with your favorite cereal, oatmeal, yogurt, ice cream or cold dessert. If you want to go the extra mile, you can also top a fruit bowl with a dash of our premium berry powder blend to get an additional dose of nutrients. This superfood blend is vegan, non-GMO and certified Kosher and organic. It is also extensively lab tested for glyphosate, heavy metals and microbiology. Enjoy the combined potency of 8 nutritious superfruits with our super C berry blend today!

 If you’re looking for an antioxidant boost, you can also try Health Ranger Select Freeze-Dried Organic Acai Powder, which is made by freeze-drying a puree made from organic acai berries from Brazil. Acai berries contain nearly 4x the amount of antioxidants found in blueberries. Our premium organic acai powder is also rich in healthy fats and other nutrients that support healthy cardiovascular, cognitive, digestive and immune functions. Health Ranger Select Freeze-Dried Organic Acai Powder is vegan, non-GMO, non-China and is certified Kosher and organic. It also contains no gluten and is lab tested for glyphosate, heavy metals and microbiology. 

Try either of these convenient powders to up your intake of antioxidants and vitamin C today.

*These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. This product is not intended to treat, cure or diagnose any diseases.

Know of other excellent sources of vitamin C? Share them in the comments below.

References

[1] https://ods.od.nih.gov/

[2] https://medlineplus.gov/

[3] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/

[4] https://www.sciencedaily.com/

[5] http://www.icppharm.com/

[6] https://www.mdpi.com/

[7] https://www.sciencedirect.com/

[8] https://www.mdpi.com/

[9] https://www.healthline.com/

[10] https://www.mayoclinic.org/

[11] https://www.mdpi.com/

[12] https://www.frontiersin.org/

[13] https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/

[14] https://link.springer.com/

[15] https://www.healthline.com/

[16] https://www.nutrition-and-you.com/

[17] https://www.healthline.com/

[18] https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/

[19] https://www.healthline.com/

[20] https://www.healthline.com/

[21] https://www.mdpi.com/

[22] https://www.healthline.com/

[23] https://share.upmc.com/

[24] https://www.healthline.com/

[25] https://www.healthline.com/

[26] http://www.orac-info-portal.de/

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