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Berries & Your Health
An abundance of research has highlighted the significant benefits of daily consumption of richly pigmented berries (and a variety of other colorful superfruits) for our good health and longevity. But what’s the science behind this daily directive from health experts around the world to eat our berries? Let’s dive deeper and learn why these superfruits really are super.
It’s All About the Colors
Nature is a wondrous work of art with its dazzling array of colorful edibles. The deep purple of Concord grapes and acai berries, the glowing crimson red of raspberries and cranberries, the lovely pink of pomegranates and sour cherries, the beautiful rich indigo of blueberries and bilberries.
Turns out these beautiful colors are a whole lot more than just pretty to look at. They are also brimming with health-supporting goodness.
In the great wisdom of nature, plants have developed a very powerful system whereby they create their very own natural protective compounds to safeguard and heal themselves against damage. Many of these protective compounds are found within the beautiful colors we see with our eyes. These hues of nature not only protect the plants that formed them, but also have the remarkable potential to protect and heal us as well. Research has shown that when we as humans ingest these whole food pigments (aka phytonutrients) they offer up their very similar protection to us! This generosity from the plants confers great health benefits on us-from heart health to brain health to skin health and beyond.
A Rainbow of Phytonutrients
When it comes to our fruits and veggies, the common saying “variety is the spice of life” might more aptly be stated “variety is the health of life.” The rainbow of colors in our diet provides us with a diversity of healthful phytonutrients that have the ability to boost our health and wellness. For example, the darkly pigmented phytonutrients that give many berries their rich colors are called anthocyanins. These powerful pigments are associated with heart and vessel health, skin health, brain health, and more. And the list of valuable phytonutrients goes on and on, each with their own profile of health advantages. There’s polyphenols, quercetin, catechins, salicylic acid, phytoestrogens, chlorogenic acid, ellagic acid, and countless others that are still being discovered and researched for their powerful health benefits.
More Than The Sum of Their Parts — “Synergy”
But there’s even more to the story. Variety is important and research backs this up. A big part of the benefit of eating a diversity of berries and fruits has to do with: SYNERGY! The powerful health benefits of berries work synergistically and are far more effective when a full spectrum of fruits and berries is consumed all together. In a very recent study published in Nutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Disease in August 2012 about anthocyanin consumption from berries and health benefits, results indicated that the anthocyanins had significant synergistic effects. Thus it was very important to consume a wide array of berries and fruits not just one or two. The researchers themselves concluded in their very own words: “Hence, incorporating plant-based foods rich in different anthocyanin compounds in the diet is likely to be more beneficial than consuming a single anthocyanin supplement.”
Growing List of Health Benefits
So what is all this berry synergy so good for? Lots and lots of things! All of these extraordinary compounds come together to do some very good things for our bodies. There is a growing mountain of research on how various berries and their phytonutrients play a significant and positive role in the following:
- Cellular DNA protection
- Estrogen-balancing metabolism
- Allergy modulation
- Memory and cognition enhancement
- Healthy immune function
- Healthy aging
- Conserving and recycling of vitamin C
- Blood sugar support
- Vascular support
- Heart health
- Eye health
- Joint health
And that’s just the short list. See the potential?
One of the most recent findings was from one of the largest studies ever with approximately 100,000 participating Nurses: Nurses’ Health Study (NIS) II. This long-term nutrition study highlighted berry intake as a key strategy for maintaining heart health. Over an 18 year period, women who ate the most berries and fruit every week had a remarkable 34% better chance of keeping their hearts healthy than women who consumed far less. The researchers attributed this discovery to — you guessed it — the natural phytonutrient in berries called anthocyanins. (This report was published in 2013 by the American Heart Association. Cassidy A, et al. Circulation 2013; Vol 127, pages 188-196.)
Eat Your Berries! But Which Ones?
When it comes to these extraordinary health benefits, not just any old berry will do. We have made sure you get the real goods, and nothing but the best, in our Organic Berry Power™. All of us are familiar with blueberries, raspberries, cranberries, and grapes. But did you know that the normal and “commercial” varieties of these are often sprayed with pesticides, fungicides, and other chemicals? In addition, they are hybridized for factory farming rather than for their phytonutrient-rich and health supporting contents. Couple this with the fact that these normal commercial berries are usually picked long before peak ripeness and lose much of their nutritional oomph during transport to your grocery store. Certainly these commercial berries are better than nothing when it comes to positively affecting our health.
However, research and testing have shown over and over again that the most powerful nutritional profiles come from wild and heirloom varieties of a full spectrum of berries. This includes not only the berries we are more familiar with, but also some of the rare ones that most of us are not consuming on a regular basis like aronia, black currant, maqui, bilberry, lingonberry, and many others.
Of course we encourage you to keep eating your everyday berries. But to cover all your bases year-round and take the nutritional potential up several notches, why settle for anything but the purest, safest, and healthiest? We recommend what all the leading health experts do: a full spectrum, concentrated organic berry superfood that contains all the benefits (and yumminess) of the best fresh berries and superfruits from around the world.