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Blueberries: An Anti-Aging Miracle?
Blueberry season, generally between May and mid-Summer in the U.S., is almost here.
A popular fruit known for its delicious, although sometimes tart, taste, is considered by many to be a super food, or superfruit, I suppose. This is because this tasty little berry provides a wide range of micronutrients that not only protect the body from various diseases, but also from aging itself.
The Blueberry's High Antioxidant Value
As compared to blackberries, strawberries, and plums, blueberries have the highest known total antioxidant capacity of any food. This has earned it its position among the most super of the super foods because of its nutritional value. Emerging research contiually provides more evidence for its overall health benefits, versatility for being included in popular consumer products, and antioxidant strength.
Antioxidants aid in guarding the body against the detrimental effects of free radicals to cells and the chronic diseases associated with aging.
Blueberries contain 14 mg of Vitamin C and 0.8 mg Vitamin E per 1 cup of blueberries, two very important antioxidants. The pretty little, and very tasty, berries also contain anthocyanins and phenolics that can also act as antioxidants.
Neuron Protection with Blueberries
The anthocyanin which is found in blueberries, has been shown to slow down age-related loss in the mental functions of humans. Research indicates that people who eat more blueberries have better functioning in motor behavioral learning and memory. Anthocyanin also gives blueberries their distinctive color and many feel they are the key factor in the blueberry’s antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
Blueberries for Better Balance and Coordination
The compounds found in blueberries also appear to have positive effects on balance and coordination.
In fact, a study by Dr. James Joseph, of Tufts University, found that a diet loaded with blueberries helped prvent poor balance and coordination associated with aging.
Not only that, findings also showed that blueberries improved the neuronal functioning. Dr. Joseph suspects the findings are a result of blueberries' rich store of flavonoids...phytochemicals that have an effect on cell membranes. These findings suggest that nutritional intervention can offer hope to those suffering poor balance and coordination related to aging.
Blueberries for Disease Prevention
A serving of blueberries provides a relatively low glycemic load, which is a good thing, while providing a diverse range of nutrients, which also means there are fewer calories in a serving which is full of phytochemicals and nutrients such as iron, vitamins C and E. The presence of these ingredients help provide a wide level of disease prevention, especially of age-related diseases and conditions.
The anthocyanins, proanthocyanidins, flavonols, and tannins which are found in this wonderful fruit are believed to help prevent cancer by inhibiting some mechanisms associated with the development of of this dread disease. These compounds protect DNA from damage and disintegration caused by free radicals.
At a symposium on the health benefits of berries, there were reports that eating blueberries, and other similar fruits, such as cranberries, may improve the cognitive deterioration which accompanies Alzheimer's disease and other degenerative conditions associated with aging. Blueberries may also help lower the damage which accompanies stroke.
Other studies have shown that blueberries may help prevent urinary tract infections (UTI), hypertension, and hypercholesterolemia, which can lead to potentially fatal heart disease.
So, when you eat blueberries, your tongue, and, probably more importantly, your health, will be rewarded.