Each time you look at a bowl of berries or spend time in the fresh fruit section at your local grocery store that are bright in red, blue or purple colors, think antioxidants. Good examples of these are:
All of them are rich in anthocyanins which are plant-based compounds known as polyphenols.
They are readily absorbed in the blood and proceed to offer free radical protection against toxins, chemicals and pollutants which we are all bombarded with on a daily basis, some more than others. These antioxidants offer the following benefits:
prevent the growth of cancer cells
reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease
improve eye function
limit oxidation damage to DNA
enhance glucose intolerance
Blueberries are known to improve cognitive function in the brain, insulin resistance and prevent inflammation in the large intestines. Bilberries are a cousin to blueberries and have been shown to enhance short-term memory, offer protection against cardiovascular disease and inhibit the growth of breast cancer cells. They can actually improve insulin sensitivity, prevent diabetes and macular degeneration in the eyes. Add them to your morning smoothie or oatmeal for a nutritious, delicious breakfast.
Cranberries are well-known for preventing urinary tract infections because they prevent bacteria like e.coli from sticking around the urethra and bladder walls. Cranberries also fend off ulcers by preventing bacteria from adhering to the stomach wall lining. Black currants enhance the synthesis of nitric oxide which relaxes the aorta and the immune system response to pathogens. They can actually stop the growth of many harmful bacteria. Both cranberries and black currants are available as an extract in supplement form however, sprinkling cranberries on a salad add great flavor and nutrition.
Pomegranates actually initiate the death of cancer cells in the prostate, colon, lung, breast and other cancers. Those dealing with colitis should consider adding pomegranates to their day to reduce inflammation in that area plus they do wonders for reducing joint damage in those dealing with rheumatoid arthritis. Both support cardiovascular health and heart function. It is always best to eat the fruit, however pomegranate juice is now readily available in your local grocery store. It makes a delicious iced tea by adding pomegranate juice to mixed berry tea or white tea for powerful antioxidants.
For countless centuries, the people of the Amazon have revered the acai berry for its health-promoting properties and prized it as a source of health and vitality. The remarkable health benefits of açai are continually being documented by modern science. And because of its unparalleled antioxidant levels and extraordinary nutrient content, açai is now widely regarded as one of the world’s top superfoods.
Strawberries and raspberries are full of antioxidants but also high in fiber which has been shown to help reduce total and LDL “bad” cholesterol, improve insulin sensitivity and boost weight loss. Top your oatmeal with 1 cup of raspberries and you will add 8 grams of fiber to one meal. This strategy will help make every calorie count.
Antioxidants are powerful compounds that cancel out cancer-causing free radicals before they damage cells. They begin working almost immediately upon absorption, actually as soon as they find a free radical to interact with. Antioxidants remain active for only a few hours and need to be continually replenished so make a point of having fresh berries on a daily basis. The key is always having plenty of antioxidants in your body to take on anything that comes along.
All these berries are rich in Vitamin C, an all-around anti-ager from the inside out. Berries also boost the immune system because they are loaded with phytochemicals found in their bright colors. The interesting thing about phytochemicals is when they are isolated in supplement form, they tend to lose their benefits to build the immune system. Eating bright-colored berries is still the best strategy for getting hundreds of micronutrients that work together to enhance your immune system. Mix berries into some Greek yogurt to help improve your digestive system and will put good bacteria into your gut.
Choose organic berries whenever possible because they are more nutritious with more vitamin and mineral content and less pesticides and chemicals. Before buying organic produce at the grocery store, check out your local farmer’s market for locally-grown produce. An added bonus for consuming berries is their slim-down effect because they soothe a sweet tooth naturally for less calories. Of course, keeping weight in check is important for preventing disease overall and berries can help.
Nutrition plays a huge role in preventing disease. It is up to each of us to take responsibility for our own well-being and disease protection. It takes effort, changes in lifestyle, diet and exercise. Take a look at your day and see where you can add these powerful berries to your regimen. Your body needs the right fuel to run at optimum levels. Adding berries will have a direct impact on your overall health and play a major role in preventing disease. Enjoy them in the best os