Ageing happens to all of us, but we all prefer to age gracefully. The problem with old age is that it usually means loss of mobility and problems with memory. Fortunately, there is always something we can do to postpone reserving our place in an old age home. The latest research shows that eating berries might do just that.
Barbara Shukitt-Hale, Francis C. Lau and James A. Joseph from the USDA-ARS Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University, Boston, found strong indications that berries can keep us young and healthy longer and our brains functioning better into the old age. Science Daily published recently their research findings on the benefits of diets rich in various berries. Berries are an excellent source of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory polyphenolics, which ” “may lower the risk of developing age-related neurodegenerative diseases.”
One way berries work to keep us young is by providing us with a rich dose of antioxidants, chemicals that protect our cells from the harmful effects of free radicals. Berries also affect the way our brain neurons communicate. This improved communication helps prevent brain inflammation that often results in neuronal damage. It also helps improve our cognitive capacity and motor function.
What it really means that eating berries can keep Alzheimer”s at bay and can help us stay active, physically and mentally.
Clean berries only, please
But, not all berries are the same. The latest research proves that organic blueberries have by far more nutrients than those grown in a traditional way (read: full of chemicals.) Organic berries are much richer in malic acid, fructose, glucose, anthocyanins, total phenolics and antioxidants than those grown in the normal way.
A berry for every taste
We all have our favorite berries, and they are all healthy and nutritious, but each different berry has its own special power.
Strawberries (one cup) contains the same amount of vitamin C as a glass of orange juice. They are also rich in vitamin K, manganese, folic acid, vitamin B5, copper, potassium, riboflavin, vitamin B6, magnesium, and omega-3 fatty acids. A cup of strawberries has only 46 calories.
Blueberries are the richest source of antioxidants of all berries. They also contain resveratrol, potential anti-cancer fighter. Blueberries are also rich in Vitamin C and Vitamin E.
Cranberries are a veritable plant pharmacy. They contain a number of flavonoids such as anthocyanins, flavonols and proanthocyanins, known for their anti- cancer properties. Cranberries are well known remedy for a bladder infection, but they also help prevent heart diseases. Tannins give cranberries antibacterial properties, especially against the heliobacter pylori bacterium, responsible for various stomach ulcers and gastric cancer.
Whichever berry you prefer, you will find that they are super healthy, very low in calories and, most of all, delicious. They are best eaten fresh, on their own, mixed with salad greens or blended into a smoothie.
Next time you go hiking, look around you. It is very likely that you will find some kind of berry growing in the bush. There is nothing like popping a juicy, dark blackberry into your mouth, bursting with flavor and juice. Black lips, mouth, fingers and your shirt are a small price to pay.
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