Wild berries

Most everyone loves at least one type of berry. Blue, black, ras, cran, straw—they all grow right here in the U.S. but they’re only some of the best berries on earth. Berries grow in virtually every climate, and beyond the fact that most of them are simply scrumptious, these superfoods are also super healthy.

  1. Camu Camu: This potent berry contains more vitamin C than any other food on earth. Vitamin C is critical for our health, strengthening immune function, supporting bones, blood, tendons and ligaments, reduces inflammation and promotes healthy skin. We need this nutrient every day! While you can’t get fresh camus in the U.S., you can get powdered versions that enhance juice, water or fruit smoothies.
  2. Maqui: The Mapuche Indians of Southern Chile have been eating maqui berries for centuries. This dark purple berry contains more than three times the antioxidant power of blueberries. It supports cardiovascular function, regulates blood sugar, helps promote healthy weight and reduces inflammation. Look for whole dried maqui berries or maqui powder. They’re great in smoothies, sprinkled into trail mix or straight out of the bag!
  3. Shisandra berries: These berries are a staple in Traditional Chinese Medicine, considered an adaptogen, which means they kind of have berry ESP—capable of figuring out exactly what your body needs. They can hone in on specifics and bring balance, and are used frequently to fight off fatigue, nervous system stress, beautify skin, tonify reproductive organs and improve mental function. Find them in a tincture or supplement form.
  4. Sea Buckthorn: Not the tastiest fresh, sea buckthorn berries are loaded with healthy polyunsaturated fats, vitamins C, E, beta carotene, amino acids and potent antioxidants. They’re used topically to treat all types of skin conditions as well as taken internally to reduce inflammation and prevent disease. Look for sea buckthorn supplements and oils and find it in high quality skin care products.
  5. Blueberries: The beloved blueberry is exceptionally sweet and flavorful. And the high levels of antioxidants have been connected with immune boosting, improved eyesight, fighting urinary tract infections, improving brain function and they may help treat Alzheimer’s disease.
  6. Mulberries: These berries grow throughout the U.S. but are so delicate you rarely ever see them for sale. If you’re lucky enough to have a tree nearby, stock up on these true superfoods. Mulberries are an excellent source of the powerful antioxidant resveratrol, which has been shown to have anti-cancer and longevity enhancing benefits. The mulberry also purifies blood, regulates digestion, strengthens the kidneys and may help keep your hair from turning gray.
  7. Goji: The goji berry comes from China and Tibet and is one superberry. It contains a powerful dose of beta-carotene and is rich in many other vitamins and minerals including the rare mineral germanium. The goji has a history of being revered as a longevity enhancing and disease-preventing berry.
  8. Acai: Brazilians love their acai berries for good reason. The creamy, purple berry always served frozen or as a juice, is one of the richest plant sources of healthy omega fats, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. With a taste somewhere between chocolate and blueberry, it’s a healthy treat most everyone will love!
  9. Blackberries: These tart treats are one of the most antioxidant-rich foods on earth. They may prevent cancer, heart disease and reduce inflammation. They’re high in vitamins A, C, E, K and the mineral manganese. Exceptionally high in fiber, blackberries can reduce the risk of certain intestinal diseases.
  10. Raspberries: Who doesn’t love a raspberry? They’re so delicious and so good for us! These reddish purple berries are a rich source of ellagic acid, an antioxidant that’s been linked with a reduced risk of cancer and may even help to treat existing cancers. Eat them before you go out into the sun as they’ve been shown to provide natural sun protection from the inside! And, raspberries can help you maintain a healthy weight.
  11. Strawberries: These ruby red fruits with the seeds outside are loaded with vitamin C, K, manganese, potassium and magnesium. They’ve been shown to support healthy eyes, bones, immune function, and protect against cancer.
  12. Elderberries: This small, dark purple berry is widely used as a natural treatment for cold and flu symptoms in an extract form. It’s believed the high levels of antioxidants not only strengthen the immune system, but also fight off viral and bacterial infections and reduce inflammation-related illnesses like high cholesterol and cardiovascular disease. Elderberries are loaded with vitamins A, B and C, a wide range of amino acids, rutin, tannins, and carotenoids.
  13. Cranberries: Perhaps the quintessential American berry, cranberries are a fall season delight and Thanksgiving staple. They’re also loaded with antioxidants, vitamins C and quercetin, which can reduce the risk of cancers and help treat allergies. Crans are also an effective treatment for urinary tract and bladder infections and promote healthy eyesight.

Keep in touch with Jill on Twitter @jillettinger

Image: USFWS Headquarters