Small or large, these fruits are berry good for you

Eating Well: A column by Bill Webster
Special to Colorado Community Media
Posted 7/31/19

What is the world’s largest berry? We all know that berries are a type of fruit. When we hear the word berry, we often think of strawberries, raspberries, blackberries and blueberries. A clever …

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Small or large, these fruits are berry good for you

Posted

What is the world’s largest berry?

We all know that berries are a type of fruit. When we hear the word berry, we often think of strawberries, raspberries, blackberries and blueberries. A clever person might realize that a watermelon is a berry - but is watermelon the largest berry in the world?

Technically speaking, a berry is a fleshy fruit with seeds on the inside that is produced from a single flower or ovary. A blueberry is a true berry, but strawberries have many seeds on the outside, so they are not a true berry. Blackberries and raspberries contain multiple seeds surrounded by flesh which are all joined together to create a single fruit cluster. Strawberries, blackberries and similar fruits are classified as an “aggregate fruit” and are not technically berries.

Good company

Back to the original question, what is the world’s largest berry? Based on the definition, you now realize a watermelon is a berry, but so are bananas, cucumbers, grapes, tomatoes, avocados, zucchini and eggplant.

The world’s largest watermelon weighed in at 350.5 pounds, but it isn’t the largest berry ever recorded. The largest berry ever recorded weighed 2,624.6 pounds! Recorded in 2016, the world’s largest berry was a pumpkin grown in Germany.

Yes, a pumpkin is a berry!

There are many health benefits of berries and with the incredible number of berries that are available, from blueberries to pumpkins, it would take volumes of documentation to describe the benefits of each.

Berries contain antioxidants, which help protect your cells from damage and may play a role in protecting you from heart disease and cancer. The darker fruits like blueberries and blackberries contain more antioxidants than the lighter fruits like banana, green grapes and strawberries. Red, yellow and orange fruits like strawberry, raspberry, papaya and pumpkin contain the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin -- all good for eyes.

A cup a day

Studies from 2016 and 2017 have shown that a daily cup of blueberries can improve cognitive function and long-term memory in both adults and children. Studies from 2017 show that blueberry consumption improves mood in children and young adults.

What about the world’s second-largest berry, the watermelon? Several studies, including one from Lewis, Ruby, and Bush-Joseph in 2012, show that watermelon helps with muscle soreness after exercise. Watermelon also contains an amino acid called citrulline which is converted to arginine in your body and nitric oxide in your blood and helps dilate your blood vessels. Nitric oxide helps your blood carry more oxygen and can help lower blood pressure, which can be good for heart health and stamina.

Try adding more berries to your diet, you can only benefit from the sweetness of nature.

Paul Webster is certified in Whole Food Nutrition, Weight Management, Sports Nutrition and Training. His opinions are not necessarily those of Colorado Community Media. Questions and Comments can be sent to Info@ServingHealthy.com

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