Berries here, berries there, berries berries everywhere!
Berries have been valuable as a food source for humans since before the start of agriculture, and remain among the primary food sources of other primates. They were a seasonal staple for early hunter-gatherers for thousands of years, and wild berry gathering remains a popular activity in Europe and North America today. In time, humans learned to store berries so that they could be used in the winter. They may be made into fruit preserves. In scientific terminology, a berry is a fruit produced from the ovary of a single flower in which the outer layer of the ovary wall develops into an edible fleshy portion (pericarp). A plant bearing berries is said to be bacciferous or baccate.
OK- I admit it could be TMI but now you have some dinner party trivia. On to the most important issue. Why should we eat these amazing fruits?
Lets talk Blueberries!
1. Combat aging
Antioxidants are your best friend to keep Father Time at bay. They help reverse damage done by toxins and free radicals and help your body defend itself against dangerous pathogens. Not only are blueberries rich in antioxidants as a whole, but they are especially rich in proanthocyanidins, which have been observed to have additional anti-aging properties in several animal studies. Much of the research has linked this to the ability of proanthocyanidins to reverse inflammation. Inflammation is at the root of most diseases and taxes the body like no other — it causes heart disease, diabetes, cancer and almost every illness known to man.
2. Boost the Brain
Because they contain such a high amount of phenols, particularly gallic acid, blueberries are known as “neuro-protective agents.” According to researchers from Iran, this means that they can literally protect our brains from degeneration, neurotoxicity and oxidative stress.
Some other foods high in gallic acid are known for their brain power as well. Brain foods that boost focus and memory include:
Another study found that consuming more blueberries slowed cognitive decline and improved memory and motor function. The scientists in this study believed these results were due to the antioxidants in blueberries that protect the body from oxidative stress and reduce inflammation.
3. Fight Cancer
Clinical studies have even discovered that, unlike radiation and chemotherapy strategies, gallic acid-rich foods like blueberries can kill cancer without harming healthy cells! For instance, the Journal of Biochemical and Molecular Toxicology published a study evaluating the anticancer effects gallic acid has on breast cancer cells. Like countless studies before, researchers discovered that blueberries and gallic acid slow and even destroy breast cancer. Blueberry benefits cancer primarily due to their wide range of antioxidants, with gallic acid the primary and resveratrol also offering support.
4. Support Digestion
Being a natural source of soluble and insoluble fiber, blueberries can help regulate your gastrointestinal track by just eating a couple handfuls a day. In fact, University of Maine researcher Vivian Chi-Hua Wu states that, “Addition of wild blueberries to diet can alter the balance of gut microbe in favor of members of the Actinobacteria phylum.” Wu and her team discovered that wild blueberries have prebiotic potential, which promotes growth of good bacteria (probiotics) in the colon and promotes digestive and health benefit.
5. Promote Heart Health
The journal Circulation published a study showing that eating strawberries and blueberries together has a superpower tag-team effect that actually decreases your risk of heart attack by up to 33 percent. After conducting research with more than 93,000 women 25 to 42 years of age, they did not observe this type of benefit in other types of antioxidants that were studied. Blueberry health benefits have also been shown to lower LDL cholesterol naturally, raise HDL cholesterol and lower blood pressure naturally.
6. Benefit the Skin
Blueberry extract skin care products are becoming very popular around the world. It’s been reported that the wide spectrum of vitamins and minerals help restore hormone balance, which counteracts acne. That makes blueberries an excellent home remedy for acne. Also, blueberries contain resveratrol, which is proven to reduce damage from over-sun exposure and can naturally darken your skin. Along with blueberry skin benefits, they have also been shown to naturally treat macular degeneration and improve vision.
7. Aid Weight Loss
Being low in calories, low on the glycemic index and high in fiber, everyone has at three reasons to eat blueberries to lose weight! According to the Mayo Clinic: Because low glycemic index foods are absorbed more slowly, they stay in your digestive tract longer. This is why these foods are sometimes called slow carbs. These foods may help control appetite and delay hunger cues, which can help with weight management. Balanced blood sugar also can help reduce the risk of insulin resistance.
Strawberries are also amazing and share all the same healing properties. Remember to always eat organic as berries are sprayed with high levels of pesticides.
What’s that? Where can you get some of these wonderful organic berries?
You are in luck ! Here at Cuisine for Healing we have just added on a Red White and Blue Spinach Salad in honor of July 4th. It is the perfect meal for concerts, picnics or a breezy summer day.
Come grab them- they are going fast!
Happy Healthy Eating!
photo credit: Maria Eklind <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/35589576054″>Staying Healthy – Berries and nuts every day</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/”>(license)</a>