By Dr. Abbas Qutab
Head of Kyäni’s Medical and Scientific Advisory Board
After testing 24 varieties of fresh fruit, 23 vegetables, 16 herbs and spices, 10 different nuts, and four dried fruits, the U.S. Department of Agriculture determined that blueberries scored highest overall in total anti-oxidant capacity per serving. Research demonstrates that blueberry consumption boosts serum anti-oxidant status in humans. Elevated anti-oxidant levels in the body may protect against damage to cells and cellular components, thus helping to reduce the risk of many chronic degenerative diseases. New research reported in peer-reviewed journals by scientists around the world confirms the wide range of health benefits attributed to blueberries, while promising new therapeutic applications.
“When it comes to brain protection, there is nothing quite like blueberries,” according to James Joseph, PhD and lead scientist in the Laboratory of Neuroscience at the USDA Nutrition Research Center On Aging at Tufts University. “Call the blueberry the brain berry,” continues Dr. Joseph.
Dr. Joseph’s claim was made with the publication of his landmark blueberry research. It has since been bolstered by animal studies demonstrating that daily consumption of modest amounts of blueberries dramatically slows impairments in memory and motor coordination that normally accompany aging. Research published in the journal Neurobiology of Aging showed nutritional anti-oxidants found in blueberries can reverse age-related declines in neuronal signal transduction as well as cognitive and motor deficits.
The investigators speculated that blueberry supplementation may also help slow declines in brain function that accompany diseases such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Alzheimer’s disease, and Parkinson’s disease. Another study published in the journal Nutritional Neuroscience found that a
blueberry supplemented diet greatly enhance the spatial memory of laboratory animals. When later studied in vitro, the animals’ brains demonstrated structural changes associated with an improved capacity for learning.
BELLY FAT/DIABETES RISK
Science Daily (Apr 20, 2009) – Could eating blueberries help get rid of belly fat? And could a blueberry-enriched diet stem the conditions that lead to diabetes? A new University of Michigan Cardiovascular Center study suggested so. The new research presented April 19 at the Experimental Biology convention in New Orleans gives tantalizing clues to the potential of blueberries in reducing risk factors for cardiovascular disease and metabolic syndrome. The effect is thought to be due to the high level of phytochemicals (naturally occurring anti-oxidants) that blueberries contain. Steven Bolling, M.D., a U-M heart surgeon and head of the Cardioprotection Laboratory says, “The benefit of eating fruit and vegetables has been well-researched, but our findings in regard to blueberries shows the naturally occurring chemicals they contain, such as anthocyanins, show promise in mitigating these heart conditions.”
BENEFIT FOR ATHLETES
According to findings published in Molecular Nutrition and Food Research, blueberries, which contain polyphenols, may counter the detrimental effect of oxidative stress caused by excessive exercise of athletes. In short, it can prevent chronic degenerative conditions that are common among athletes due to the free radicals produced during excessive exercise. Blueberries, being nature’s most potent anti-oxidant, are extremely beneficial for these athletes.
A study published in the Journal of Medical Foods in 2005 showed that blueberries may help in preventing heart disease and strokes. Another study published in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry showed that blueberries lowered cholesterol, which helps to lower the risk of heart disease.