No doubt you have heard this cliché many times in your life, and chances are, you have probably associated it with a child, a good deed, or a gift, but have you ever considered the “good things” that come in the “small” indigo packages that are blueberries?
While the word antioxidant is often tossed around when speaking about blueberries, few people actually know what an antioxidant is, and how it can prevent multiple diseases, as well as protect the body’s immune system.
Proanthocyanidan is a bioflavonoid that is present in a number of fruits and vegetables. It has been reported that proanthocyanidan contains both anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties, and has even shown promising results as a potential inhibitor of hepatitis C.
People have used blueberries for hundreds of years in an effort to improve a number of health-related conditions. Blueberries are an effective natural alternative to often expensive medications that often have a number of side effects and in some cases can even worsen the condition.
Epicatechin is another powerful antioxidant that can also help to improve liver function. Also found in food and drink such as grapes and green tea, blueberries contain other components that work synergistically to improve various other bodily systems and functions.
Pterostilbene is another major component found in blueberries that can actually protect the body against colorectal cancer, a disease that takes the lives of approximately 50,000 people each year. More than one million women will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year, and at least half of that number will die. Blueberry extract has been proven to inhibit the growth of breast cancer cells, and was also found to decrease particular enzymes associated with the spread of cancer. With all the evidence available to us today, there is no doubt that blueberries are one of the most effective tools we can use to protect our bodies from developing various types of cancer. Who knew that good things could be found in such small packages?
Are All Blueberries Created Equal?
Unfortunately, all blueberries have not been created equal. Blueberries grown in organic conditions will contain higher antioxidant levels than those blueberries that have been sprayed repeatedly with harmful pesticides. In fact, blueberries sprayed with these chemicals actually cancel out the benefits of the blueberry.
Furthermore, recent studies have linked such conditions as ADHD with the ingestion of insecticides. The best way to avoid pesticides is to purchase locally-grown organic products. You may even opt to grow certain fruits and vegetables yourself. If so, be sure that the seeds you use have not been genetically altered, and the soil has been treated properly.
Blueberry supplementation is another good way to make sure you receive the benefits of the antioxidants. When choosing a supplement, however, be sure that it contains standardized pterostilbene, as not all blueberry supplements have been created equal, and it defeats the purpose of taking the supplement if it does not contain the right ingredients. Keep in mind that you will not receive the same antioxidant benefits from supplements as you will from the actual berry.
Juicing is another good way to get all the health benefits you can from this fruit. In fact, this is true for whatever fruits and vegetables you may be juicing. Important to remember when juicing; however, is to be sure to drink the juice once you have made it because leaving it to sit will reduce the power of the nutrients.
Improve Your Health
Eating raw fruits and vegetables is an excellent way to improve your health. As mentioned, blueberries are one of the best raw fruits you can eat to protect yourself from various sicknesses and diseases, while simultaneously strengthening the body’s immune system.
The cancer protection alone is reason enough to take advantage of the many health benefits that can be obtained by eating this fruit on a regular basis. For this reason, it is true, good things do come in small packages, and in this case, these small packages can protect the body from illness, and even prevent more serious diseases.
Article courtesy of Beliefnet.com. Beliefnet offers daily inspiration with news articles on faith, religion, politics, health, family entertainment, sustainable living and more.