Altoona, WI–

Taken from Dr. Mercola….

Berries: A Great Source of Plant Antioxidants

Berries may fight cancer and heart disease by increasing levels of flavonoids in the blood.

Flavonoids are found in certain fruits and vegetables and are thought to fight the cell damaging effects of oxidation. Eating berries such as lingonberries, which are related to cranberries, blueberries, bilberries and black currants led to higher levels of a flavonoid called quercetin in the blood.

Quercetin is a potent dietary antioxidant that may protect against cardiovascular disease and possibly cancer.

In the study, 40 60-year-old men were split into two groups. One group of 20 ate 100 grams a day of blackcurrants, lingonberries and bilberries for eight weeks, while the others ate as normal.

The blood quercetin levels of the men eating berries increased from 32 percent to 51 percent compared to men eating their normal diet. Further, after eight weeks, men eating berries took in about 12 milligrams of quercetin per day compared with about 5.8 mg per day for the control group.

Not only do berries contain many flavonoids, but also fiber, vitamin C and other phenolic compounds. Not all berries contain equal amounts of nutrients, however. The best sources of quercetin are cranberries, lingonberries, bilberries and black currants, researchers said.

Ideally, berries should be eaten raw as heating and freezing destroy many antioxidants. However, some antioxidants will remain even after heating or freezing.

Juices contain less of the beneficial compounds because processing does not completely release them from the berry skin, researchers said.

European Journal of Clinical Nutrition January 2003;57:37-42

Dr. Mercola’s Comments:

Berries are some of the most awesome fruits on the planet partially because they haven’t been hybridized into giant fruits full of sugar. They are instead small and densely packed with a variety of potent phytochemcials that can do wonders to normalize and improve health.

Bilberry is one of the most potent antioxidants to treat and prevent age related macular degeneration, the most common cause of blindness in the United States. Lycopene and omega-3 fats are also useful for this problem, as is following a Metabolic Typing optimized diet.

But, just remember, don’t fall into Goldilock’s trap, or the classic American strategy when it comes to nutrition: if a little is good, then more is even better.

If you overdo any fruits, even berries, you will release too much sugar in your system that will cause insulin levels to rise and, eventually, a worsening rather than an improvement in your health.

Even all the wonderful phtyochemicals in fruits aren’t enough to overcome the negative influences of elevated insulin levels.