According to researchers at the USDA Human Nutrition Center (HNC), blueberries rank hands down number one with regards to natural antioxidant content. This is in comparison to 40 other fruits and vegetables.
The role of antioxidants is to neutralize free-radicals, the by-products of energy metabolism. Free radicals are responsible in part for cancer, cellular degeneration, and other age related diseases. Anthocyanin, the pigment that makes blueberries their dark purplish blue, is though to be a key agent in the disease fighting process:
Alzheimer and Strokes: In another study conducted by the USDA, it was found that feeding blueberries to elder laboratory rats markedly reduced age related declines in mental capacity. This finding alone has major implications for human cognitive decline, namely Alzheimer’s and other age related cognitive diseases. The natural phytochemicals found in blueberries have also been found to help prevent further brain damage from strokes.
High Colesterol: Try incorporating the dynamic blueberry into your daily regime. It is postulated that blueberries may reduce the build-up of bad cholesterol that contributes to heart disease. Once again, the dark pigmented skin, rich in antioxidants are thought to play a key role in cholesterol reduction. The American Chemical Society is researching the potential of extracting the health supporting compounds from blueberries for development into nutraceuticals for those who do not respond well to current statin drugs. While a novel idea, prescription drugs and vitamin supplementssimply cannot replace nature’s whole goodness.
Urinary Tract Infections: How about some blueberries? Rutgers University researchers have isolated yet another blueberry compound that appears to promote urinary tract health. It appears that epicatechin; another natural and beneficial component of the blueberry inhibits the ability of some types of infectious bacteria to adhere to the walls of the urinary tract.
Eyesight Problems: European studies have documented the relationship between the regular consumption of bilberries (the European cousin of the American blueberry) and improved eyesight. A natural preventative for macular degeneration? The studies continue.
The belief that certain foods have medicinal and other healing properties has been with us since Hippocrates stated “Leave your drugs at the chemists’ if you can heal your patient with food.” Today whole foods and their potential for healing and providing one with a natural body balance is more important than ever before given our processed food environment.
The powerful antioxidant properties of the blueberry appear to play a conclusive role in the prevention and delay of certain diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular issues, and the aging process.
Blueberries are available almost year round and are easy to incorporate into fruit dishes, salads, and home made jams. Of course, blueberries are a delicious snack all by themselves.
Source: Health Benefits of Blueberries, by Dr. Linda Posch MS SLP NDDr.
Linda Posch MS SLP ND: Treats her patients with an eclectic approach and is a firm believer in the practice of yoga in order to help her patients achieve a body balance. She owns a laboratory where she customizes whole food liquid vitamins and other custom supplementation for her patients.