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Five good reasons to eat or drink something blue every day

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Blue foods include sloe, blueberries, damson, bullace, and huckleberry. These fruits contain phytochemicals with antioxidant power, which research studies have shown provide several health benefits. The more popular of the blue foods are blueberries and here are five good reasons to include them in your diet:

1. Blueberries are disease fighters. Researchers at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Arkansas Children’s Nutrition Center performed studies on more than 100 common foods. They found that wild and cultivated blueberries offered the largest concentration of antioxidants (molecules that ward off free radicals known to damage body cells), which have anti-inflammatory properties and help to enhance the ability of the immune system to fight disease.

2. Blueberries fight belly fat. Scientists at the University of Michigan Cardiovascular Center conducted a study that showed rats fed freeze-dried, powdered blueberries as part of a diet plan with increased or decreased total dietary fat had less abdominal fat, lower triglycerides, and lower cholesterol than rats that were not fed the blueberry powder. The scientists also found that blueberry intake affected genes related to fat-burning and storage, or the uptake of glucose.

3. Blueberries prevent hypertension. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reported the results from a 14-year study conducted on 134,000 women and 23,000 men, which monitored for consumption of flavonoids (the water-soluble pigment in blueberries) and hypertension. It was found that anthocyanin, a flavonoid, may contribute to the prevention of hypertension. Those who consumed at least one serving of blueberries per week were 10% less likely to develop hypertension compared with those subjects who did not eat blueberries.

4. Blueberries enhance cerebral acuity and memory. The Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry reported results from a study conducted at the University of Cincinnati Academic Health Center that investigated the effects of daily consumption of wild blueberry juice in a sample of nine older adults with early memory changes. Scientists found that the juice enhanced memory and learning function in the older adults. The blueberry juice also reduced blood sugar and it decreased symptoms of depression.

5. Blueberries reduce the risk of colon cancer. The results of a study reported in the journal Carcinogenesis suggest that pterostilbene, a phytochemical found in blueberries, may be protective against colon cancer. The data showed that pterostilbene has antioxidant properties and suppresses colon tumor formation, and thus has potential for use in colon cancer prevention.

So, keep your heart, mind, and body healthy and add something blue to your diet every day!

Copyright ©2012 Joyce E.M. Wall

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