The scientific paper – published in the Foods journal – evaluated the nutritional composition and health benefits of red fruits, focusing on strawberries and raspberries. Nutritionist Dr Emma Derbyshire said: “It is refreshing to read a new scientific publication that focuses solely on red fruits. These are interesting findings, adding to the nutrition domain and showing how making some simple daily swaps, like substituting processed snacks for nutrient-dense berries could benefit health.”
Rich in vitamins, carotenoids and phenolic compounds, strawberries and raspberries have been associated with a lower risk of disease.
Not only are the fruits associated with a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes and cancer, but also: obesity, cataracts, heart disease, stroke, and hypertension.
The research paper noted that strawberries, for example, provide: magnesium, potassium, calcium, phosphorus, polyphenols, zinc, iron, and dietary fibre.
Moreover, red fruits “do not usually undergo any processing to be consumed, [thus] their antioxidant properties are not reduced”.
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Type 2 diabetes prevention – diet
Experts at Harvard TH Chain School of Public Health point out that a healthy diet is one of three prongs when it comes to minimizing the risk of type 2 diabetes.
The other two are: controlling your weight and exercising for at least 150 minutes each week.
“Being overweight increases the chances of developing type 2 diabetes seven-fold,” the experts warned.
“Being obese makes you 20 to 40 times more likely to develop diabetes than someone with a healthy weight.”
Inactivity also promotes high blood sugar, the necessary marker for type 2 diabetes.
“Working your muscles more often and making them work harder improves their ability to use insulin and absorb glucose,” the experts explained.
In addition to eating red fruits, such as strawberries and raspberries, four dietary adjustments “can have a big impact on the risk of type 2 diabetes”.
These include choosing wholegrain products, such as wholegrain bread and pasta, rather than refined grains.
Another dietary tip is to “skip the sugary drinks”, opting instead for water, coffee, or tea.
And it’s also helpful to “choose healthy fats”, as found in avocados, for example, rather than saturated fats found in confectionery.
“Limit red meat and avoid processed meat,” the experts added, replacing them with: nuts, beans, poultry, or fish.
Cancer prevention – diet
Leading charity Cancer Research UK confirmed: “Eating a healthy and balanced diet can reduce the risk of cancer.”
To help reduce your risk of cancer, the charity recommends eating high-fibre foods.
Examples include: fruits, vegetables, lentils, beans, porridge oats, and eating the skin on potatoes and carrots.
“Food and drinks like cheese and milk can reduce the risk of bowel cancer,” Cancer Research UK noted.
You also need to cut down on processed and red meat, such as:
- Chicken nuggets
- Fast food
- Sugary drinks