Berries are good for the brain.
And you’re going to need your brain for this post!
Animal studies have shown that consumption of a diet rich in antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agents like those found in blueberries and blackberries, cranberries, Concord grape juice, pomegranates, cherries, purple grapes, and strawberries may lower the risk of developing age related- neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and improve memory, balance, and coordination.
Blueberries contain the phytonutrient resverasol.
The term “phytonutrient” describes phyto (plant derived)-active compounds.
Compounds are active health-protecting qualities which contain the antioxidant, immune boosting and other health promoting properties found in plants.
Reveratrol. Resveratrol is a phytonutrient that is being researched for its anti-inflammatory and anti-aging abilities, as well as its potential cancer fighting properties. It looks like it inhibits the expression of genes for these problems.*
Now you’re going to like this one!
Resveratrol also turns the genetic pathway in our body that mimics caloric restriction—like a low calorie diet. It improves immune function and potentially resveratrol causes active alterations in the aging process by affecting anti-aging genes in the body.
But… most research on resveratrol has been conducted on animals, not people. Some research shows that resveratrol could be linked to a reduced risk of inflammation and blood clotting, both of which can lead to heart disease. More research is needed before it’s known whether resveratrol was the cause for the reduced risk. **Mayo Clinic.com
That said… at this time of year your best bet are frozen or dried blueberries grown in the USA.
Fruit out of season is flown to us from tropical climates where there is little or no regulation of pesticides and berries are one of the most heavily sprayed crops. In Latin America, for example where most of the berries for sale are grown, the growers may legally use pesticides that are forbidden here, including chemicals rated Class 1 toxins by the World Health Organization.
And you can’t wash all those toxins off those fragile berries.
So in Winter, use dried or frozen from the USA. And check your labels.
Dried fruit has greater fiber content, increased shelf life and significantly greater polyphenol content than fresh fruit. Here we go again. Polyphenols act as antioxidants.
Polyphenols (another ten dollar word) protect against the damage caused by free radicals, and I’m not talking the Chicago 8 of the sixties, but the reactive atoms that contribute to tissue damage in the body.
Berries are a great way to boost your skin health also by getting those polyphenols year round. Red wine has it’s share of these wonder nutrients too. But that will require more research…anyone?
*Pratt, Steven M.D. Super Health, 2009.