If food is medicine, there is none better than blueberries,sometimes called squaw huckleberries or deerberries. The latest research has uncovered the powerful healing potential of this succulent fruit.
According to a study done at the University of Michigan Cardiovascular Center, blueberries have the highest antioxidant capacity of all fresh fruit.
Just one cup of this fruit a day can prevent cell damage that leads to cancer. That's because it is rich in antioxidants that reduce free radical damage to cells.
Scientists have also discovered that these tiny berries can slow down both the growth and proliferation of certain types of breast cancer cells. Other studies have also shown that certain compounds in this fruit can lower the proliferation of colon cancer cells by inducing programmed cancer cell death, a situation that bodes well for the cancer patients.
These blue fruits can also reduce the risk of heart disease because of their high fiber content and their anti-inflammatory action. Consistent intake of 1-2 cups of this fruit on a daily basis has been shown to decrease triglycerides, cholesterol and blood pressure.
A study in Canada also shows that drinking one cup of wild blue berry juice every day for 3 weeks reduces insulin sensitivity and inflammation, two factors that are related to heart disease.
Another study done at Louisiana State Universitysuggests that drinking a smoothie made with this fruit twice a day for 6 weeks can make the body more responsive to insulin.
Deerberries have antibiotic phytochemicals that keep the urinary tract clear of infections. Because of their low glycemic index, these berries are also great for blood sugar regulation, especially for people diagnosed with type 2 Diabetes, metabolic syndrome or obesity. The Michigan study also showed that thebenefits of this fruit were more obvious in rats that consumed a low fat diet.
Most interesting is the relationship between these berries and belly fat.A test on rats shows that this blue fruit can reduce belly fat. After 90 days of consuming rat feed mixed with blue berry powder, rats reduced their abdominal fat, triglyceride levels, cholesterol, glucose and insulin sensitivity.
Because fat in the belly releases "inflammation producing hormones," a reduction in belly size is seen as a sign of better health and longevity. More research needs to be conducted to confirm similar results in humans.
Squaw Huckleberry extract has also been shown to protect vision by preventing age-related eye problems like cataracts, myopia and hypermetyropia. Research indicates that eating three or more servings of this fruit a day can lower the risk of age related macular degeneration.
Just one cup of the blue fruit has enough carotenoids (lutein and zeaxanthin) to protect eyesight from blindness caused by cataracts.
These blue fruits also have anti-blood clotting properties that can prevent the formation of blood clots and heart attacks.
They also have powerful anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties which means they can protect skin from premature aging.
The fiber in these fruits also helps to regulate the digestive system and bowels.
One cup of these luscious blue fruits each morning protects the brain from aging. Anthocyanidins in the fruits decrease inflammation and increase the growth of brain cells.
How can you get more of this wonderful fruit into your diet? Think of having it for breakfast, lunch or dinner. It is great with oatmeal in the morning. Maybe even better as a a smoothie?
Here is a fantastic blueberry smoothie recipe from Healing Cuisine, my favorite Maximized Living Recipe site. It uses blue berries, coconut milk, avocado and kale so you get good fats, protein and green nutrients all in one shake. Moreover, it tastes fantastic - best- as Elise says, after a run!
Who says that food good for you can't taste great?
Dr. Case. "Blueberries Protect Against Heart Disease, Diabetes and Belly Fat." forahealthyfuture.com. June 14 2010.
Rose, Gianna."Nutrition Facts for One Cup of Blueberries." Livestrong.com. August 24, 2011
Steinberg, Stephanie. "Blueberries Lower Risk for Cardiovascular Disease and Diabetes." The Michigan Daily, May 9 2009.
Woznicki, Kattina. "Blueberries May Help Improve Insulin Sensitivity." WebMD Health News, September 17, 2010.
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