Benefits of Eating Berries

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If someone offers you a pill for weight loss or to prevent vision loss such as that caused by macular degeneration, you would take it right? Well no need for pills, just hop on over to your local grocery store and load up on fresh or frozen berries. Berries contain antioxidants and phytochemicals, which are naturally occurring nutrients in our bodies that help protect cells from cell damage (oxidative stress) caused by free radicals. Eating a diet rich in antioxidants can help improve your health, protect your skin and hair, and prevent certain diseases. All fruits and vegetables contain antioxidants, but nutrient-rich berries are some of the absolute best sources. Some of the best sources of these health benefits are Strawberries, Blackberries, Raspberries, Boysenberries, Cranberries and Blueberries.

There are several powerful antioxidants that appear in berries, including anthocyanins, quercetin, and vitamin C. Anthocyanins give berries their vibrant color, reduce inflammation, and may help prevent and manage arthritis. Anthocyanins work together with quercetin to help slow age-related memory-loss. Quercetin can also decrease the inflammatory effects of chemicals in the synovial fluid of the joints for people with inflammatory conditions like rheumatoid arthritis.

Studies have shown that woman who eat two servings of strawberries or one serving of blueberries a week experienced less mental decline over time than peers who did not consume berries. Berries are also able to be included in diets of those suffering with diabetes. While they are a “sweet” fruit, they contain a high level of fiber which can be useful in diabetic diets. They can count as a serving of fruit. Its always better to eat fresh berries than those that have been processed or used in a pie or muffin.

People who eat at least two servings of berries a week have a 25 percent less chance of developing Parkinson’s disease than their peers, according to research published in the journal Neurology. The same research showed that men with the highest intake of flavonoids — which are abundant in berries — reduced their risk by 40 percent. Flavonoids are being studied to help ward off certain types of cancer. Research published in the Journal of Pharmaceutical and Biomedical Analysis suggests that flavonoids and other compounds found in berries may help reduce colon cancer risk. Besides eating them plain, you can also get your berry servings by adding them fresh or frozen to other high-nutrition foods such as yogurt, oatmeal, and salads.

Vitamin C is another strong antioxidant found in berries. It is largely responsible for the health of collagen, which helps maintain cartilage stores and aids in joint flexibility. Eating vitamin C–rich berries will contribute to radiant skin and healthy hair, and may reduce the risk of arthritis, high blood pressure, cataracts, and macular degeneration.

In addition to antioxidants, berries are “juicy foods,” which means they contain mostly water. Juicy foods are great for losing weight because they fill you up quickly, since their high water content bumps up the volume while driving down the calories. Berries also contain fiber and folate. Fiber aids in weight loss and helps lower cholesterol and blood pressure. Folate may protect against cardiovascular disease and age-related memory loss, and since folate contributes to the production of serotonin, it may also help ward off depression and improve your mood. IBS sufferers take note: Some people with IBS experience discomfort after eating berries. People with a strong inherited risk for heart disease may find that a diet rich in raw fruits and vegetables, including berries, can reduce their chances of having a heart attack, according to a study published in PLoS Medicine.

Remember, if you can’t find fresh berries, frozen (unsweetened) berries are a good substitute during the off-season months — and just as nutritious!

 

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Vitamin D – not to be overlooked

Did you ever take the time to read how many units of every vitamin are in your multi vitamin tablet? well look again. 70% of all multi vitamins DO NOT give you the recommended daily allowance required to maintain healthy hearts, body and bones. The RDV for women are 2000-4000 units of Vitamin D per day. Vitamin D reduces the risk of breast cancer, hypertension, diabetes, colon cancer and gum disease. Net time read the label and check with http://www.anyvitamins.com/rda.htm to make sure you are getting what you need.

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Activate your days

The average weight gain for most Americans is 1-2 pounds per year.  WHile this does not sound alarming the problem really begins when those 1-2 pounds start adding up year after year.  Carrying those extra poubnds means being physically active gets more straining on your body.

Unfortunately eating healthy foods alone may not do the trick.  Regular activity is key in keeping yourself physically fit.  Being physically fit also means looking and feeling healthier and younger!  Researchers have found that exercise itself has a unique important health benefit.  It is highly unlikely that being physically active only on weekends will help if you have a sedentary lifestyle the other 5 days a week.  Activity even in small doses daily will help ward off those extra pounds.

After reviewing thousands of research studies to analyze how diet, activity and body weight are linked to cancer risk, the panel of 21 experts who prepared a report on this issue have found the physical activity is essential in lowering the risk of cancer.  Together with eating healthy and a healthy body weight, and a good level of physical activity the chance of getting any type of cancer decreases substantially.

These same scientists have convincing evidence that physical activity protects against colon cancer.  It probably also protects against breast cancer (in post menopausal women) and endometrial cancer as well.

The recommendation is at least 30 minutes of physical activity per day, everyday!

Being active makes the body respond better to insulin it produces.  Other perks that come with physical activity are a stronger immune system, a well functioning digestive system and less a chance for osteoporosis for women.  While 30 minutes of exercise per day lowers cancer risk, preventing weight gain requires 60 minutes per day.  Examples of moderate exercise are brisk walking (about 3.5 miles per hour) or swimming at a leisurely pace.  Thirty minutes of daily vigorous activity, like tennis or running (5 miles per hour) can replace the 60 minutes of daily moderate exercise.

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Coffee is healthy!

I hardly believed this when I read the article on coffee actually being good for you. Having been on a variety of diets throughout my life, each and every one mention staying clear of coffee and other caffeine products. Now people are talking about coffee actually benefiting your health!

The idea is that coffee helps to eliminate the risk of every developing type 2 diabetes. Having 1 to 3 cups per day can reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes by single digits. Having 6 cups per day or more, has proven, according to a study, reduced men’s risk of type 2 diabetes by 54% and womens risk by 34%. Hard to believe.

Studies have also shown that:

  • People who drink coffee on a regular basis are up to 80% less likely to develop Parkinsons disease.
  • People who drink 2 cups per day or more can reduce their risk of colon cancer by 25%
  • People who drink at least 2 cups per day reduce their risk of liver cirrhosis by 80%
  • People who drink at least 2 cups per day avoid getting gall stones by 50%
  • People who smoke or are heavy drinkers lower their chance of heart disease and liver damage as compared to those that do not.
  • Coffee drinkers may lower the risk of developing asthma

Coffee has shown to be able to lift your mood, get rid of a headache and prevent cavities (I guess that depends on how much sugar you take).

What effect does coffee on your skin?

Coffee and caffeine are finding their way into skin lotions and creams because of antioxidant properties and tightening and firming qualities. Caffeine applied to the skin operates in three ways – as an antioxidant, a diuretic and a vasoconstrictor.

For years, caffeine has been used in products sold to reduce cellulite. The caffeine supposedly dehydrates fat cells by somehow energizing them which in turn causes the sodium/potassium component of the cells to be eliminated, so the skin on buttocks and thighs becomes smoother.

Caffeine’s vaso-constricting characteristic also makes it a favorite ingredient in eye creams for reducing puffiness and dark circles as well as tightening skin around the eyes. This I have to say I have seen with my own eyes. I found a product that contains caffeine, and has reduced puffiness and dark circles under my eyes. The caffeine combined with a variety of other botanicals, minerals, and of course rich with vitamin C has made it very effective in taking care of this problem. Of course, nothing eliminates cellulite or troubled skin around the eyes completely. The best you can hope for is noticeable improvement, perhaps only for a few hours.

With the explosion in coffee based skin products, it now is seen in body scrubs, face creams and fragrances. A number of products even smell like coffee and contain ground coffee intended as an exfoliate. Some purveyors have even gone so far as to suggest that the absorption of caffeine through the skin will give you the sort of alertness you can expect from drinking coffee. I have a tough time swallowing that one! Coffee has a slower absorption rate then if you were to drink a cup of coffee. Drinking coffee actually puts it directly into your body, whereas the skin absorption rate is much slower and less effective

Being a latte drinker, my question is what about the stained teeth? It may prevent cavities but it increases staining. As far as having a headache, I know that if I do not have coffee one day I will get a headache, I tough it was caffeine withdrawal, so maybe thats why the headaches disappears? As for mood enhancer, isn’t that what caffeine does, gives you more energy. But when the caffeine wears off we need more coffee to get rid of the headache, and not feel lethargic anymore. I guess I would not mind having stained teeth if I can avoid parkinsons disease, heart disease, liver cirrhosis, gall stones or colon cancer!

What do you think?

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