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Feed Your Brain With Blueberries 
 

 

by Janet Arango

Blueberries are among the fruits with the highest antioxidant activity.  Researchers have shown that a serving of fresh blueberries provide more antioxidant activity than many other fresh fruits and vegetables.

BRAIN & NERVOUS SYSTEM: Neuroscientists have discovered that feeding blueberries to laboratory rats actually slowed age-related loss in their mental capacity, a finding that has important implications for humans. In one study, Jim Joseph, director of the neuroscience laboratory in the USDA Human Nutrition Research Center (HNRC), fed blueberry extractions--the equivalent of a human eating one cup of blueberries a day--to mice and then ran them through a series of motor skills tests. He found that the blueberry-fed mice performed better than their control group counterparts in motor behavioral learning and memory, and he noticed an increase in exploratory behavior. When he examined their brains, he found a marked decrease in oxidative stress in two regions of the brain and better retention of signal-transmitting neurons compared with the group of mice not consuming the blueberries. Currently, Jim Joseph is testing the effects of blueberries on humans. Preliminary results show that people who eat a cup of blueberries a day have performed 5-6% better on motor skills tests than the group not consuming the blueberries.

ANTI-INFLAMMATORY: The compound that appears responsible for this neuron protection, anthocyanin, also gives blueberries their color and might be the key component of the blueberry's antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Blueberries, along with other colorful fruits and vegetables, test high in their ability to subdue free radicals. These free radicals, which can damage cell membranes and DNA through a process known as oxidative stress, are blamed for many of the dysfunctions and diseases associated with aging. The antioxidants found in blueberries, help to protect the body against the damaging effects of these free radicals and the chronic diseases associated with the aging process.

URINARY TRACT HEALTH: Researchers at Rutgers University in New Jersey have identified compounds in blueberries called proanthocyanidins that promote urinary tract health and reduce the risk of infection by preventing bacteria from adhering to the cells that line the walls of the urinary tract. Blueberries and Nutrition Fresh fruits, including blueberries, and vegetables contain many of these naturally occurring antioxidants such as Vitamins C and E.  Blueberries contain 14 mg of Vitamin C and 0.8 mg Vitamin E per 1 cup of blueberries.  In addition, blueberries contain anthocyanins and phenolics that can also act as antioxidants.  Based on data from the USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging (Boston, MA), Though blueberries themselves are not a cure-all, they do contain a number of substances offering far reaching health benefits. These substances include, but are not limited to fructose, fiber, vitamins and antioxidants. Antioxidants thus far, seem to have the most conclusive role in the prevention/ delaying of such diseases as cancer, heart disease and the aging process. One cup of blueberries contains 14% DV of fiber  2.41 g per 100g and are a major source of vitamins, minerals, dietary fiber, phenolics, and flavonoids, as well as being very low in fat and sodium.

SO IN CONCLUSION: Live, love & laugh better with the miraculous health benefits of your little purple friend... the blueberry!

About the Author

Janet Arango is the owner of http://www.thesavvyhomemaker.com a free online magazine filled with interesting facts and subjects, and all wrapped up with so many beautiful graphics and photos, that you'll think you're turning the pages of a popular woman's magazine- hot off the press.

Visit The Savvy Homemaker at http://www.thesavvyhomemaker.com

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