food is medicine
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Food as medicine: The Power of Berries

The nutritionist's A-list

“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food” – a famous quote by Hippocrates. He was considered to be the founder of medicine and one of the most influential figures in the history of medicine and healing.

Hippocrates was ahead of his time when, around 400 BC, he suggested that we prevent and treat diseases by eating nutrient dense foods. At HOLISTAL we couldn’t agree more. So let’s take a look at the powerful nutrients in some of our favourite berries.


Small in size, the acai berry contains some mighty big health benefits. Containing an amazing 19 amino acids (out of 20), the antioxidant effect of the acai is thought to be higher than any other berry. Furthermore, its deep purple hue is a result of anthocyanin, a flavonoid that has been shown to improve eye health, reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and increase cognitive function.


The blueberry tops the nutritionist’s A-list, with a superfood status that’s second to none. But how did it get such a stellar rep? The antioxidant profile of the blueberry (especially its anthocyanin content) has been shown to aid weight loss, lower blood pressure, improve memory function and prevent atherosclerosis (which can lead to stroke and heart attack). OK, blueberry you win!


Who doesn’t like strawberries? With so many health benefits, it’s a good thing they are one of many people’s favourite fruit. As well as being a great source of vitamin C (58.8mg/100g) for your skin and high in folate which is essential during pregnancy, strawberries are also low in fat and kcals. Naturally sweet, these fruits are the perfect way to skip the added sugar!


Blackberries come from the bramble bush (the same family as raspberries) and are popular with foragers as they grow freely in the wild. Some gardeners even consider them invasive! In terms of health, being one of the darkest berries means that blackberries have one of the highest levels of antioxidants of any fruit. They are also rich in vitamin C and natural fiber but low in fat and kcals.


The barberry has been used in Middle Eastern medicine for centuries to help relieve symptoms of gall bladder disease and associated biliary disorders. Modern research has since identified the chemical berberine in the barberry. Used to restrict the growth of bacteria in a lab situation, this is likely the reason behind its ability to fight infection in the body.


From the outside the bilberry looks like a small blueberry but on the inside it has a deep blue flesh. Fighter pilots in WW2 once reported that eating bilberry jam enhanced their night vision and scientists have been investigating the link ever since. It is thought that anthocyanosides in the fruit can aid retina and macular health as well as lowering LDL cholesterol and strengthening blood vessels.

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