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Antioxidants: Health Benefits That Might Surprise You
Wild blueberries are a fantastic fruit. Pancakes, smoothies, salads and desserts aren’t the same without them! On the surface, they seem like a fun, delicious, and healthy food that deserves a place in your daily diet. But there’s another reason to eat them. The little blue fruit has a secret deep within its dark blue color, and that secret is antioxidants.
Wild blueberries are an antioxidant powerhouse – test after test, they come out as a leader. When it comes to living a long, disease-free life, the importance of this simply cannot be underestimated.
What do antioxidants do in my body?
Antioxidants are a hot topic today. Why? They help our bodies protect against disease and age-related health risks. According to Susan Davis, MS, RD, Nutrition Advisor to the Wild Blueberry Association of North America, research focused on this area of health “is not just fascinating but incredibly consequential for members of our community and the public at large.” Here’s why:
Every day, our cells wage a battle against free radicals – unstable oxygen molecules associated with cancer, heart disease and the effects of aging. Dietary antioxidants are the antidote. These phytonutrients, natural substances found in fruits and vegetables, neutralize free radicals and help prevent cell damage. Antioxidants also protect against inflammation, thought to be a leading factor in brain aging, Alzheimer’s disease and other diseases of aging.
Where do I get an “antioxidant”?
Start with wild blueberries. They have the highest antioxidant capacity per serving, compared with more than 20 other fruits. Using a lab testing procedure called Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC), USDA researcher Ronald Prior, Ph.D., found that a one-cup serving of wild blueberries had more total antioxidant capacity (TAC) than a serving of cranberries, strawberries, plums, raspberries and even cultivated blueberries.
Wild Blueberries also outperformed selected fruits in an advanced procedure known as the cellular antioxidant activity (CAA) assay, a new means of measuring bioactivity inside cells. (The Cellular Antioxidant Activity Study was conducted by a Cornell University research team led by Dr. Rui Hai Liu.) As a result of their intense nutritional benefit, wild blueberries are implicated in areas of:
- Brain Health
- Cancer Prevention
- Heart Health
- Urinary Tract Health
- Vision Health
The Dark (Blue) Secret of Wild Blueberries
The secret to wild blueberries’ powerful advantage is in the deep blue color. Potent antioxidants are highly concentrated in the deep-blue pigments of wild blueberries. Wild blueberries deliver more antioxidant punch due in part to their pulp-to-skin ratio: they are smaller than cultivated berries, which means when we’re eating wild, we’re eating more of the good stuff per bite.
And, the research into the health benefits of wild blueberries continues. Cardiovascular heath and metabolic syndrome headlined the Wild Blueberry Research Summit, held last year in Bar Harbor, Maine where compelling new data to substantiate the connection between a blueberry-rich diet and prevention of two devastating illnesses: cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
Now, doesn’t that wild blueberry pie taste even better?
Read more about the research into the health benefits of this antioxidant powerhouse.