Berries, especially members of several families, such as Rosaceae (strawberry, raspberry, blackberry), and Ericaceae (blueberry, cranberry), belong to the best dietary sources of bioactive compounds (BAC). They have delicious taste and flavor, have economic importance, and because of the antioxidant properties of BAC, they are of great interest also for nutritionists and food technologists due to the opportunity to use BAC as functional foods ingredients. The bioactive compounds in berries contain mainly phenolic compounds (phenolic acids, flavonoids, such as anthocyanins and flavonols, and tannins) and ascorbic acid. These compounds, either individually or combined, are responsible for various health benefits of berries, such as prevention of inflammation disorders, cardiovascular diseases, or protective effects to lower the risk of various cancers. In this review bioactive compounds of commonly consumed berries are described, as well as the factors influencing their antioxidant capacity and their health benefits.
Keywords: anthocyanins; antioxidant activity; berry; bioactive compounds; health benefits; phenolic compounds.