03 Feb A Handful of Blueberries. Can It Keep The Doctor Away?
Written by Dr. Damon Daniels
We are all familiar with the term “ An apple a day keeps the doctor away”. I am not sure where this phrase originated but there seems to be evidence that there are some definitive health benefits of apples. Recent research is showing that the BLUEBERRY may be BETTER at keeping “ the doctor away”.
Blueberries contain very powerful antioxidants and phytochemicals that can improve a person’s overall health. Phytochemicals are active compounds found in plants that have health benefits when taken in the human body. In fact the phytochemicals found in blueberries may help a person’s memory, heart health, blood sugar control and possibly may have cancer-fighting properties.
Blueberries and Your Brain
Recent studies in humans at the University of South Florida used a blend of blueberries, green tea and Vitamin D to test improvement in Cognitive Decline in older adults. As we get older our ability to process declines. It is a function of aging. This study did show that after 2 months of taking the supplement the treatment group had improvement in 2 areas of cognitive decline. The lead investigator, Dr. Paula Bickford, PhD theorized that the supplement may be helpful in decreasing Oxidation and inflammation in the brain. These are two processes that are related to decreased memory as we age.
There is a proprietary blend that is now on the market called Nutri Stem Cardio. It promotes heart and brain health. It is available at some grocery stores and Amazon.com
Blueberries and Your Heart
Blueberries contain antioxidants containing anthocyanin. It appears that this phytochemical decreases the risk of heart attacks and may improve blood pressure control. In fact a study published in 2013 revealed women who ate a serving of blueberries and strawberries THREE times per week had lower levels of heart attacks over an 18 year period of time. Animal studies also suggest that the fruit can modestly improve blood pressure control. Blood pressure is a significant factor in a person’s risk for heart disease.
Blueberries and Your Blood Sugar Control
Insulin is the hormone in the body that controls blood sugar levels after we eat a meal. Two small studies suggest that blueberries may help the body use insulin more efficiently. The effects were seen in middle aged people with mild levels of diabetes. In addition, a study showed that people with insulin resistance had a reduction of this problem when they ate blueberries ( Insulin resistance is a problem that puts one at risk for developing diabetes).
Blueberries and Cancer Cells
Blueberries contain a chemical called Pterostilbene. In preliminary cell studies it appears to slow the growth of breast and prostate cancer cells. We don’t clearly understand how these properties work but further research may show that blueberries may have cancer cell killing properties.
Take Your Handful
I am not suggesting that blueberries are a Cure – All. I do believe that there is no harm in eating a handful of blueberries at least THREE or FOUR days per week. It definitely won’t hurt and may keep your heart and brain healthy and HAPPY!