Berries: An Underrated Source of Fiber

By Kelly Ann Atterberry, BS “Berries are an underrated source of fiber”, said Alethea Flemming, ND of Vital Aging Clinic in Anacortes, Washington, as we walked through the Anacortes’ Farmer’s Market this past summer. Dr. Flemming was teaching a class to the community on medicinal foods throughout the market that day. The class toured the market and learned about the properties in foods that are beneficial for human health. The first booth we stopped at was the one overflowing with fresh berries. “There is a lot of fiber in the seeds of berries” she continued to share.

Berries are a source of fiber to supplement to the diet, rather than just thinking of leafy greens and dry beans. Fiber in berries may balance the uptake of glucose absorbed from the berries and from sugar-laden foods, as the fiber slows the transit time of food through the digestive tract. As a result, there is a reduction in the rise of blood glucose, which can make people feel out of balance and fatigued. This is especially important for people who have diabetes because it allows for a slower release of glucose into the blood, allowing more time for insulin to manage it.

The University of Turku, Turku, Finland, studied the effect of Wild Lingonberrieson post-prandial (after eating) glycemic index. In this study, dried and powdered lingonberries were consumed by healthy adults along with their meals. After their meals, blood-glucose levels were analyzed to show the fiber present in lingonberries null the glycemic effect of the sugars present in the berries and added sugars in the meal (Linderborg 2012 July). The whole berries must be consumed in order to receive the benefits of fiber, not just a liquid extract.

Although this study focuses on lingonberries alone, the correlation between seed fibers of berries and lowered glycemic index is true with other berries such as Wild Blackberries, Wild Huckleberries, Wild Blueberries, Wild Salmonberries, Organic Strawberries, Gooseberries and the list goes on.

Sources: Linderborg KM et al. The fiber and/or polyphenols present in lingonberries null the glycemic effect of the sugars present in the berries when consumed together with added glucose in healthy human volunteers. Nutr Res. 2012 Jul;32(7):471-8. Epub 2012 Jul 18.