The British public are enjoying a love affair with the humble berry.
If you chucked a handful of berries onto your porridge or into a smoothie this morning you’re not alone. The trade body British Summer Fruits have reported that sales of British strawberries, blackberries and blueberries will pass £1bn this year compared to the relatively measly £300m they made in 2004.
In all likelihood this increase has a lot to do with the nations obsession with drinking our vitamins. Market researchers GfK report that sales of the Nutribullet style blender are up by 272% in the last year, and forget the KitchenAid, the latest worktop must-have is the £400+ Vitamix.
If your daily diet is contributing to these impressive sales figures then the next time you pop a strawberry in your mouth you should feel pretty smug about it, for the humble berry is something of a miracle worker.
Strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries – they all have something in common and that’s more antioxidants than their sweet tasting flesh can handle. Antioxidants are important for just about everything from keeping skin bright and healthy, to repairing damage caused by pollution and smoking, to helping the body ward off cancer.
As well as being antioxidant super heroes, studies have shown the range of polyphenols contained in berries can help to lower cholesterol and blood pressure and preserve bone density in post-menopausal women.
Our brains are fans of the berry too. Flavonoids found in blueberries have been shown to improve memory and reasoning skills, aid decision-making and give a healthy boost to overall cognitive function. There’s even compelling research to suggest that a diet containing flavonoids can help the brain to stay ‘young’ and may even provide some protection against Alzheimer’s.
What’s not to love? A handful a day should do the trick just be sure to support our farmers and buy British.