I have a friend who does not like cherries, berries or, as he puts it, any foods that rhyme with “erry.” After many years of hearing that line it has become a running joke amongst our friends. The joke is on him though, but because berries are delicious and loaded with healthy antioxidants. The joke is also on him because not all berries have names that rhyme with “erry.” (Speaking of which, I must remember to bring currants to his house then next time we head over there.)
Even though we are heading into the winter months, it is tremendously beneficial to keep berries in our diets. You can buy them now and freeze them or purchase organic frozen berries from your local supermarket. You can even purchase them in juice and powdered form. Just check the labels to make sure that they have not been heavily modified so they will still have optimal health benefits. Here are 7 reasons why we should all eat more berries:
7 Reasons Why We Should Eat More Berries 1 of 8
Stronger memory 2 of 8
According to the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, berries may help prevent age-related memory loss by changing the way neurons in the brain communicate, preventing inflammation that contributes to loss of memory. Another study found that older adults who drank blueberry juice regularly had significant improvement on learning and memory tests.
A happy belly 3 of 8
Raspberries and blueberries both can stop the growth of intestinal bacteria. They contain a complex polymer called ellagic tannin, that has antimicrobial properties and inhibit the growth of "bad" bacteria and pathogens in the digestive system while not being sensitive to probiotic, or "good bacteria." Blueberries can protect against intestinal inflammation, such as ulcerative colitis. Researchers found that the protective effect is even better when blueberries are consumed along with probiotics. And strawberries can reduce the harm that alcohol can cause to the stomach, perhaps even playing a role in the future treatment of stomach ulcers.
Better blood pressure 4 of 8
High blood pressure is a common hereditary issue. A study out of the University of Maine found that regular long-term consumption of wild blueberries (2 cups per day for 8 weeks) can help improve blood flow and regulate blood pressure. And according to the American Heart Association, regularly drinking low-calorie cranberry juice may help get your blood pressure under control.
Fat reduction 5 of 8
Woot! A researcher from Texas Woman's University wanted to know whether blueberries could play a role in reducing obesity. So she gave some mice three doses of blueberries and then checked their lipid (fat) content. The group who had the highest dose of blueberries showed a whopping 73% decrease, though even the lowest dose group showed a 27% decrease. Another study from the University of Michigan Cardiovascular Center study put blueberry powder into the diets of rats for 90 days. Those that received the blueberry powder had significantly less abdominal fat, along with lower triglycerides, lower cholesterol, improved fasting glucose, and improved insulin sensitivity. Clearly more definitive research needs to be done on humans, but the results sure do look promising.
Fewer heart attacks 6 of 8
Women who ate at least three servings of blueberries and strawberries per week had significantly fewer heart attacks. They both contain high levels of flavonoids called anthocyanins, which may help dilate arteries, counter the buildup of plaque, and provide other cardiovascular benefits.
Source: American Heart Association
Keen eyesight 7 of 8
Goji berries have long been used in the East (China, India and Tibet) to help with eyesight issues. Black currants are another berry that have been known to regulate a healthy eye pressure. Blood pressure of the eye (known as ocular hypertension) is a risk factor for developing glaucoma later in life.
Cancer fighter 8 of 8
Compounds in black raspberries (blackberries) can slow the growth rate of pre-malignant cancerous cells. In 2006, four researchers fed rats the cancer-causing chemical three times a week for five weeks. Five months later, rats that ate a diet enriched with black raspberries showed reductions in oral, esophageal, and colon cancers of about 50% compared to those that did not eat the berries.
Source: Dr. Weil
Which one is your favorite “erry”?
Please note that this post is intended to share information and ideas, as well as to create conversation. Please consult a medical professional before making changes to your lifestyle.
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