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Health Benefits of Blueberries
Researchers around the world are proving without a doubt the marked health benefits of this demure but powerful little fruit. The growing body of evidence suggests this delicious gift, part of Mother Nature's Bounty, could possibly stand as an effective disease fighter.
Research conducted at the USDA center has found blueberries rank hands down number one in antioxidant activity. This is in comparison to 40 other fruits and vegetables. The role of antioxidants is to neutralize free-radicals, the by-products of energy metabolism. Free radicals are responsible in part for cancer and other age related diseases. Anthocyanin, the pigment that makes blueberries their dark purply blue, is though to be the key agent in this disease fighting process.
In another research study conducted by the USDA, it was found that feeding blueberries to laboratory rats slowed down the age related loss in mental capacity. This finding alone has major implications for human cognitive decline, namely Altzheimer's and other age related cognitive diseases. Again, it is purported that the high antioxidant activity probably played a role.
High Cholesterol? Try incorporating the mighty blueberry into your daily diet. It is postulated that blueberries may reduce the build-up of the bad cholesterol that contributes to heart disease. And once again, the dark pigmented antioxidants are thought to play a key role in cholesterol reduction. The American Chemical Society feels that the health supporting compounds can be extracted and developed into a nutraceutical for those who do not respond well to current statin drugs.
Urinary tract infections? How about some blueberries? Rutgers University researchers have isolated yet another blueberry compound that appears to promote urinary tract health. It seems special components of the blueberry inhibit the ability of some types of infectious bacteria to adhere to the walls of the urinary tract.
Your eyesight? European studies have documented the relationship between bilberries (the European cousin of the American blueberry) and improved eyesight.
One study conducted in Japan releaved that blueberries may help ease eyes fatigue. The magic components again? The out dark blue pigment.
The belief that certain foods have medicinal and other healing properties has been with us since the first recorded and documented writings ever produced by man. Today food properties and their potential for healing are being explored by both the food and medical sciences. Though blueberries are not a cure-all, it goes without saying that the natural substances they contain are now thought to have marked health benefits, including naturally occurring fiber, antioxidants and vitamins. So far, the powerful antioxidant properties of the blueberry seem to have the most conclusive role in the prevention and delay of certain diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular disease and the aging process. The caveat. There exist no long term human studies to date. However, why look a gift horse in the mouth? Have you had your blueberries today?
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