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Stop Aging by Adding this "Superfood" to Your Diet

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Berries Provide Many Health Benefits

Considering their size, berries are pound for pound one of the best anti-aging and longevity promoting foods that can be found today.  Low in fat and packed with nutrients, and readily available, berries are a food that should be part of everyone's diet. Here are just a few of the many proven health benefits of these delicious fruits:

  • Berries contain many vitamins and minerals. Micronutrients such as vitamins and minerals are necessary for the body to run properly.
  • Berries contain fiber. Fiber provides numerous health benefits. Increasing fiber in your diet reduces the risk of many potential chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes, kidney disease, gallstones and diveticular disease, Evidence is now growing to support the notion that foods containing soluble fiber can have a positive influence on cholesterol, triglycerides and other particles in the blood that affect the development of heart disease. The passage of food through the body is sped up when fiber is eaten. Some experts believe this may prevent harmful substances found in some foods from affecting the colon and may protect against  colon cancer. Other types of cancer that are linked with overnutrition and may be prevented by a fiber-rich diet include breast cancer, ovarian cancer and uterine cancer  Adding fiber to the diet helps regulate blood sugar levels, which is important in avoiding diabetes. In addition, some people with diabetes can achieve a significant reduction in their blood sugar levels and may find they can reduce their medication.   
  • Berries contain enzymes that can help improve health and prevent certain chronic diseases from developing. In animal studies done at Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition, University of Illinois, wild blueberry extracts inhibited an enzyme called ornithine decarboxylase, which is responsible for tumor progression.
  • Darker berries contain high levels of bioflavonoids. Darker berries (like blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, pomegranates and goji berries contain high levels of bioflavonoids; antioxidant compounds which studies have prove exert a protective effect against oxidation. Oxidation is principal cause of cellular damage and death—which ultimately results in illness and disease. Studies show that antioxidants can also reduce inflammatory stress within the body. These flavonoids are more potent antioxidants than vitamins C and E, and they also help to reduce inflammation - more effectively even than aspirin! Just a side not, while you can not go wrong eating any of the darker berries, it is the fabulous blueberry that come out on top in the anti-oxidant department! 
  • Berries exert a positive effect on brain function. Berries contain a giant portion of phytochemicals which can exert a positive effect on brain function.In a landmark study in 1999, researchers at Tufts University fed older rats one cup of blueberries a day. The study found that the old rats that were fed the blueberries, learned faster than the young rats, were more coordinated,showed improved motor skills and even outperformed the young rats in memory tests. The study was significant because the researchers discovered blueberry's potential for reversing some age-related impairments in both memory and motor coordination. The researchers concluded that these findings suggest that, in addition to their known beneficial effects on cancer, and heart disease, the phytochemicals present in antioxidant-rich foods may be beneficial in reversing the course of neuronal and behavioral aging. Studies have also shown that darker berries such as blueberries possess powerful neuroprotective properties that shield brain cells from damage, helping to slow down the age-related onset of memory loss, Alzheimer's disease and dementia (senility). Berries contain a giant portion of phytochemicals which can exert a positive effect on brain function. Researchers at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University also recently published a report showing that these nutritional antioxidants, such as the phytochemicals found in dark berries can reverse age-related declines in brain function, namely the cognitive and motor deficits associated with Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson’s disease.
  • Berries can improve eye function and reduce the risk for eye disease and eye disorders. Blueberries, bilberries and raspberries contain lutein, which is important for healthy vision.
  • Certain Berries are rich in anthocyanins which have many positive health effects. Anthyocyanins are a class of flavonoids and at type of, phytochemical, often found together with proanthocyanidins;  the precursor of anthocyanins; are also powerful antioxidants, exhibiting numerous health benefits in their own right. Studies have shown that anthocyanins have many beneficial health properties, such as improving vision, and improving gastrointestinal health, by supporting the gastrointestinal mucosa in laboratory animals, indicating that it could be a protectant against ulcers. Recent studies also indicate that bilberry, which contains five anthocyanins  may also inhibit the growth of human leukemia cells and and human colon cancer cells in vitro.There are several studies that suggest that these compounds also protect you against cancer, arthritis, and heart disease because they lower cholesterol. Bilberry extract is rich in anthocyanins. Cherries also contain anthocyanin compounds, which stimulate your pancreas to produce insulin, which may help people suffering from insulin resistance, pre-diabetes, reactive hypoglycemia, metabolic syndrome, and as well as Type 2 diabetes. Raspberries are rich in anthocyanins and cancer-fighting phytochemicals such as ellagic, coumaric and ferulic acid. 
  • Berries can reduce various types inflammation and reduce the risk of other serious diseases, such as cancer. Pomegranate fruit extract has strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, and has been found to be particularly beneficial in inhibiting the growth of cancer cells and and improving symptoms of Coronary artery disease (also called coronary heart disease, CHD) and periodontitis (inflammatory gum disease).
  • Berries can improve stomach health. Raspberry, strawberry, cranberry, elderberry, blueberry and bilberry extracts have all been found to significantly inhibit H. pylori bacteria.
Last modified on Saturday, 02 January 2010 04:11
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