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Billionaire Banks on Blueberries for Longevity

Imagine you are an 87-year-old billionaire keen on living until you are 125. What food holds your interest? Why it’s blueberries, of course. David Murdock, businessman and Forbes billionaire (he comes in at #374 on their list) was profiled in this past Sunday’s New York Times Magazine in an article that focuses on his quest for health and longevity and his fascination with this promising little blue fruit.

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The businessman and owner of fruit and veggie marketer Dole is responsible for vitalizing the company and creating the Dole Nutrition Institute to teach the benefits of a plant-based diet to promote health and prevent disease. Murdock has devoted $500 million dollars toward a mammoth scientific center near his home in North Carolina that is dedicated to plant research and, specifically, their life-extending powers.

Part of Murdock’s grand plan included bringing distinguished researcher and member of the scientist and researcher collective known as The Bar Harbor Group, Mary Ann Lila, to the research center. It allows her access to equipment that would make anyone with a passion for blueberry research reel with delight. For example, Lila is mentioned in the NYT piece for her work with high-powered nuclear magnetic-resonance machines, which analyze compounds on a molecular level. She is using them to look for the unknown natural compounds in blueberries that will speed efforts to maximize the fruit’s medicinal properties.

Wild About Health spoke with Lila in September about her work as the Director of the Plants for Human Health Institute and her role as a David H. Murdock Distinguished Professor. Her dedication to revealing even more of the blueberry’s nutritional mysteries has lead efforts that aim to uncover major scientific discoveries in the fields of health and nutrition. She continues to contribute to research into the connection between blueberries and Parkinson’s, metabolic syndrome, obesity and diabetes. She views blueberries as most powerful when used as a preventative for general preventative treatments that bolster overall immunity and enhance metabolism.

Murdock’s quest to find the key to life extension has Lila well-placed in his corner: part of her research includes mapping the fruit’s genome in an effort to ultimately allow for enhanced breeding lines to develop a fruit with more concentrated health benefits.

A Long, Healthy Life

While living to be 125 may be the goal for some, what good is it if you can’t enjoy it? Most of the advantages associated with wild blueberries are related to living a disease-free, healthy life. While life-extension is one benefit of optimum health, disease prevention and anti-aging associated with maintaining youth by combating age-related diseases and ailments is the benefit we should be most concerned with.

Blueberries in Progress
We’ve heard it from those around us—it may have even come out of our own mouths: I don’t want to get old. We’re afraid of getting old because we fear losing our eyesight, our hearing, and our mobility. But good health practices – evidence suggests specifically eating berries – helps us avoid all that.

Your brain, your heart, your eyes and your susceptibility to cancer all go together. According to Superfood expert Steve Pratt, longevity and overall health go hand in hand. “Rarely do you see a brain that’s top notch and poor eyesight. It’s good for the eyes, it’s good for the brain and if it’s good for the brain it’s good for the heart.” The goal is not getting into the Guinness Book of World Records for our age, but it is to keep the body working at its best, and living healthily as long as we can. 

Would Murdock approve of these Blueberry Blintzes?

While the health-conscious billionaire eschews sugar (the recipe includes agave) the egg whites, Greek yogurt and blueberries pack a nutritional punch that makes this Healthy Blueberry Blintzes only sound decadent. Be sure to use wild blueberries for optimum nutrition – they provide the highest level of antioxidants compared with most other fruits, including their cultivated cousins.

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