FOOD, NUTRITION 1st August 2016

The Berry Edition: Total Body Benefits of Eating Berries

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Whether you like them in your champagne, oatmeal or yoghurt, berries go with almost anything (champagne with bananas… not quite the same?!!?). And because we are in the midst of berry season, be sure to add these to your grocery cart. When it comes to a health boost berries are the real MVP…. Here’s why:

They fight against Heart Disease and Cancer

When you hear the term ‘anti-oxidant’ do you know what it means? We hear it branded so frequently in the media but I want to make sure you understand why it is so important before we move on. First we must consider Oxidation: The process of metabolizing Oxygen AKA everyday living. During this process, free-radicals are released into our body causing cellular damage. The body can cope with some free radicals and needs them to function effectively. However, an overload of free radicals has been linked to certain diseases, including heart disease, liver disease and some cancers. Oxidation can be accelerated by stress, cigarette smoking, alcohol, sunlight, pollution and other factors.  Enter anti-oxidants: the good cop. Anti-oxidants neutralize the effects of oxidation and the free radicals it causes. You will find anti-oxidants in a variety of fruits and vegetables but especially blueberries which are known to have the highest anti-oxidant count of any fruit! 

Studies continue to see a marked reduction in the risk of illness from a diet rich in anti-oxidants and berries are on the front lines when it comes to fighting free-radicals!

Flaxseed bread toast laced with peanut butter & strawberries: WINNING !

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Snack idea for late evening or dessert. Strawberry & Banana kabobs with PB and choc chips!

They can improve your memory

Does this sound familiar: you stand up to get something, walk two feet and completely forget what it was you needed (I am guilty). If so, the humble blackberry is just what the doctor ordered. In studies carried out by the U.S. Human Nutrition Research Center, blackberries which contain a compound known as polyphenol improved cognitive functioning in humans by removing toxic proteins in the brain. The same study also went on to suggest the benefits could also protect against Alzheimer’s.

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They support your joints

Arthritis is a form of joint disorder that involves inflammation in one or more joints.’ (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arthritis). It causes pain around the joint that can be constant and it is said that there are approximately one hundred different types of arthritis. The raspberry is known to have almost as much anti-oxidant power as its blueberry sibling but in studies carried out on animals the raspberry was found to reduce inflammation, cartilage damage and bone loss, making it a promising treatment.

Eating raspberries while writing this post .. so yum :)

Eating raspberries while writing this post .. so yum 🙂

Preferred Choice for Diabetics

Because berries are low on the glycemic index they are an ideal choice for Diabetics or anyone looking to lower their blood sugar. The glycemic index is a scale on which carbohydrate-containing foods are ranked. Foods that have a high score quickly raise blood sugar, while foods with low scores only gradually raise blood sugar. Low ranking foods score below 55. Intermediate-GI foods score between 55 and 70. High GI foods score above 70. Fresh strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and raspberries all have scores below 40.

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Oatmeal topped with berries is my ALL TIME favorite thing to eat (call me weird, I know!)

They Boost your Immunity

When your key immune cells don’t function properly, chronic inflammatory disorders and allergies take root. This disfunction is caused due to a flavonoid deficiency in our diet. Flavonoids are plant chemicals found in all fruits and vegetables which are powerful antioxidants with anti-inflammatory and immune system benefits. Anything from a pollen allergy through to auto-immune disorders and serious illnesses can be traced to a weak immune system. Strawberries and blueberries are particularly known for their flavonoid concentration.

Another fave of mine: Pancakes topped with berries. (Pancakes are made using cacao hence the dark color)

Another fave of mine: Breakfast Pancakes topped with berries. (Pancakes are made using cacao hence the dark color)

The Final Word: Go Organic

As you probably know, spring and summer are the best times to eat berries. I recommend organic berries (frozen organic if that’s all you can access). Organic berries look and taste better, but compared to conventional berries, organically grown berries had higher levels of vitamin C and antioxidants.

As always, Pushing for Health xx