Are you following the top drinking habit to lower cholesterol over 50? How about loading up on the best foods to eat every day when you're over 50? Whipping up some of these go-to breakfasts from the longest-living people? Well, dear readers, here's one more thing to add to your list when you're 50+: Eat berries every single day.
Yes, we repeat, every single day. As Bill Bradley, RD, a registered dietitian and CEO at Mediterranean Living shares, berries are loaded with bioactive plant compounds that play vital roles in reducing risk of age-related diseases—which is particularly important over 50 when your risk for these health conditions significantly increases.
Berries are good sources of free radical scavenging antioxidants like anthocyanins, resveratrol, and ellagic acid that have been linked to slowing the progression of autoimmune and age-related diseases.
"As [berries] are also high in flavonoids, they help lower the risk of developing heart disease," he says, noting that they assist in reducing LDL or "bad" cholesterol, too. Managing cholesterol levels is particularly important for those over 50 when the incidence of cardiovascular disease at that age is 40% and increases to 75% after the age of 60. Taking control of your cholesterol levels earlier on can help decrease the risk of this disease which is the number one cause of death among Americans.
"Berries also reduce inflammation. They also contain several vitamins and minerals which help improve overall health," adds Bradley, highlighting that they are high in vitamin C, vitamin K1, manganese, copper, and folate.
Berries are also linked to improved brain health as you age. Bradley points us to a 2020 study from Tufts University that found that people who consumed less food and drinks containing berries are more at risk of having Alzheimer's disease and related dementias. To that point, "berries contain anthocyanins which help people age 50 and older to be mentally sharp," he says.
Blueberries are our personal favorite—and our pick for the #1 fruit to reduce inflammation—but any kind of berry is an excellent choice for your health. Blackberries, strawberries, and raspberries are some of the more popular choices (and loaded with antioxidants!), but goji berries, cranberries, and açai berries are wonderful fruits to add to your diet, too. (If you need some inspiration on what to do with açai berries, try this easy, healthy açai bowl recipe.)
Berries are plain delicious, to boot. Whether you're having whipped cottage cheese with berries and pistachios, oatmeal with berries, berry banana fro-whip, or simply tossing a handful of berries into a salad, they're sweet, juicy perfection.
Of course, whether you're 10 or 110, it's a good idea to eat berries, and while they're particularly beneficial for those age 50 and beyond, it's never a bad idea to incorporate more berries into your life. Bonus points if you pair 'em with any of these fruits dietitians say you should eat every day.