Celebrate Blueberry Month with Me

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Yay for blueberries! According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, July is Blueberry Month. Go pick some at a local you-pick farm! Freeze a whole bunch of them and then you will have nutrient-dense blueberries to use for months ahead. Here are just some of the reasons that I love blueberries.

Blueberries contain more antioxidants than almost any other food. In fact, they help protect against oxidative damage. What’s that you ask? It’s a process that takes place every day at the cellular level; in short, it’s a fancy way to say “aging.” So, consider blueberries a great anti-aging food choice.

I have a great example of how blueberries counteract oxidative damage. In a 2007 study, 168 research subjects were instructed to drink one liter (34 ounces) of a mixture of blueberry and apple juice, every day. At the end of the study, oxidative DNA damage due to free radicals was reduced by 20 percent.

Oxidative damage to the brain creates problems like dementia and Alzheimer’s. A recent study examined elderly subjects with mild cognitive impairment. The researchers gave each subject blueberry juice every day. After 12 weeks, they had seen improvements in several markers of brain function

These antioxidants that I speak of also help to lower LDL cholesterol and blood pressure, making blueberries an awesome choice for your heart health.

Also, blueberries contain salicylic acid—the natural version of aspirin. Salicylic acid is known to thin the blood and reduce pain. I know so many older adults who take an aspirin a day for their heart. I think that making good food choices is the best way to protect your heart.

Blueberries are also high in lutein; this phytonutrient is particularly helpful when it comes to your vision.

Aging isn’t just marked by wrinkles on our skin; our organs age as well.

We often forget of all of the amazing things that are happening to our body on a cellular level and I think it’s so awesome that we can make good things happen to our cells with our food choices. One thing is for sure, blueberries will always be in my food repertoire!

Blueberries are a superfood choice to keep you energized and young inside and out!

 

Make your Meals Colorful and your Health will be Wonderful

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The colors of fruits and vegetables reflect the antioxidants found in them. When you make your meals vibrant with as many colors as possible from using a variety of fruits and vegetables, you are assuring ultra-protection against numerous diseases and health ailments. Keep in mind the fact that all veggies and fruits have tons of vitamins and minerals that boost your health. In this blog, I am going to dig a bit deeper by looking at how carotenoids found in different colors of vegetables and fruits further protect your health.

Red

Red veggies and fruits (think red onions, red apples, watermelon, tomatoes, and red peppers) contain powerful carotenoids, including lycopene, ellagic acid, and quercetin. Lycopene is known for helping to keep LDL cholesterol levels low, preventing diabetes, and also protecting against several types of cancer. Ellagic acid is purported to have anti-cancer properties. Quercetin is a very effective anti-inflammatory and has been shown to help fight allergies and help athletes recover from intense exercise.

White

White veggies, such as garlic, ginger, mushrooms, onions and turnips contain beta-glucanss, EGCG and lignans. Beta-glucans and EGCG are known for fighting invading pathogens; they help the body conquer infections and there is mounting evidence that they can help fight cancer. Lignans have an anti-estrogenic effect and as a result have shown evidence in helping to prevent breast cancer.

Orange/Yellow

Orange and yellow veggies and fruits, like oranges, lemons, sweet potatoes, carrots, and pumpkins contain lycopene and beta-carotene. Lycopene, mentioned above, is such an effective antioxidant by cleaning out the free radicals in cells and allowing protective nutrients to enter the cells. Beta-carotene, known for helping vision, has also been shown to prevent metabolic syndrome and help keep triglyceride levels at a healthy level.

Purple/Blue

Purple and blue veggies and fruits, such as eggplants, blueberries, plums and endive contain lutein and zeaxanthin. These two carotenoids are super at protecting your vision. They help block harmful light from damaging your eyes.

Green

Green vegetables and fruits like peas, arugula, asparagus, avocado and honeydew contain the eye-health boosting lutein and the powerful antioxidant beto-carotene.

Next time, you plan a meal, aim for a rainbow of colors and know that you are protecting yourself from so many terrible health ailments from macular degeneration to cancer!