Natural medicine has long held that these round purple berries give long-life health benefits that far exceed their tiny size. Native to North America, blueberries are rich in proanthocyanidin, contributing to blueberry benefits that include fighting cancer, losing weight and glowing, young skin. Blueberries are also rich in vitamin C, vitamin K, manganese and other antioxidants that lead to its numerous other health benefits.
Blueberry Nutrition Facts
Blueberries are one of the most nutrient-dense foods in the world and contain large levels and a broad range of antioxidants. The ORAC score of blueberries is an incredible 9,621, which makes it one of the highest antioxidant foods in the world. Consuming just one cup of blueberries provides the following nutrients:
Blueberries Research on Gallic Acid
Of all the nutritional components of the blueberry, gallic acid stands out for a couple reasons. One, most people have never heard of it, and it is definitely worthy of mention. Second, it has been thoroughly researched. Almost 6,500 peer-reviewed scientific articles referenced gallic acid, so it’s safe to assume that the health claims laid out here are anything but “experimental.” Third, as the research indicates, gallic acid is a powerful antifungal/antiviral agent and is an extremely effective antioxidant.
This combination makes gallic acid-rich foods like blueberries a natural medicine powerhouse not to be reckoned with!
Top 7 Health Benefits of 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, the No. 1 of chronic disease in the world. 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 conventional 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.
As with all foods, nothing on its own is a miracle cure for anything, but we need to be aware of the benefits of good, targeted nutrition and ensure that we get a balanced daily intake of nutrition, alongside other wellness techniques in order to minimise our chances of developing serious illness..
By Debbie Goodridge
Many people store veggies in a cool place such as the fridge, the garage etc, the theory being that this helps them last longer and the cooler the better. Unfortunately, this is not the case with potatoes. I often come across clients that store their potatoes in the fridge as standard. When potatoes get chilled, the starch turns to sugar and they become tough. Although they look okay, when they are cooked there is a risk that they can emit harmful properties that they wouldn’t have if they were stored correctly. They can even become potentially toxic.
Basically, when a potato has been chilled, the sucrose (sugar) contained within them is broken down by an enzyme named invertase and converted into fructose and glucose which is the main sugar manufactured by your body and your chief source of energy. Potatoes also contain the amino acid asparagine and when this is combined with the fructose and glucose it forms acrylamide when they are baked or heated in anyway. When amino acids and sugars react together they produce thousands of different chemicals and starchy foods particularly, contain high levels of acrylamide when browned or baked to a high temperature above 120 degrees C. This can also happen in vegetables, grains and even coffee. Foods containing high levels of carbohydrates are most likely to bring about this chemical reaction.
Several years ago, the Swedish National Food Authority named acrylamide as a genotoxic carcinogen linked to an increased risk of cancer. As with any chronic illness, there are many factors to consider such as weight, lifestyle, environment and lack of nutrients. Raw food is a great way of consuming nutrient rich foods without heat removing some of the nutrient dense values. A daily smoothie is a wonderful way of getting raw foods into your body.
Most processed foods, because they've been subjected to high temperatures, contain acrylamide. Crisps are a perfect example.
You can also reduce acrylamide formation by soaking raw potatoes in water for 15 to 30 minutes before cooking.
Sweet Potatoes contain two important antioxidant enzymes: copper/zinc superoxide dismutase and catalase. The dark flesh colour also contains beta-carotene, another important antioxidant which is converted to vitamin A in your body and helps protect your eyesight.
The purple sweet potato variety contains more than three times the antioxidant power due to anthocyanins, also related to their pigmentation, which help fight several types of cancer, including stomach, colon, lung and breast.
In their unprocessed form, white potatoes provide nutrients such as vitamin C, copper, B vitamins, potassium, manganese, phosphorus and fibre, along with antioxidant phytonutrients.
In conclusion potatoes are fine as long as they are, stored correctly, not eaten excessively, not overcooked/burnt and I would always recommend eating the skins and choosing organic.
By Debbie Goodridge