Blueberries, Little Blue Dynamos

In 1974, the USDA declared July as National Blueberry month.  In the 1990’s health researchers began to explore the antioxidant activity in Blueberries.  In 2010 Blueberries became “little blue dynamos” and are considered a “superfood” since they’re full of antioxidants and phyto-flavinoids, both protect body from stress and cell damage.

1. Blueberries are Low in Calories, but high in nutrients ~ Blueberries are among the most nutrient dense berries. A 1 cup serving (148 grams) of Blueberries contains: Fiber: 4 gram, Vitamin C: 24% of the RDA, Vitamin K: 36% of the RDA, Manganese: 25% of the RDA, Water about 85%

2. Blueberries are the King of Antioxidant Foods ~ Antioxidants help our cells fight stress by neutralizing other environmental damaging effects that cause damage to our cells by 20%.   Blueberries are believed to contain the highest antioxidant capacity of ALL commonly consumed fruits and vegetables.

3. Blueberries Reduce DNA Damage ~ which may help protect against aging and cancer.  Oxidative DNA damage (like rusting metal) is part of everyday life and is the reason for the aging process.  It is said to occur tens of thousands of times per day, in every single cell in the body.

4. Blueberries Protect Cholesterol in The Blood From Becoming Damaged ~ Oxidative damage is not limited to our cells and DNA.  It is also problematic when our circulating LDL lipoproteins (the “bad” cholesterol) are oxidized.

5. Blueberries May Lower Blood Pressure ~ Blueberries appear to have significant benefits to 8% reduction in the risk for developing high blood pressure (hypertension). The anthocyanins (blue, violet, red pigments) in Blueberries help open blood vessels, which allows for smoother blood flow and a lower risk for high blood pressure.

6. Blueberries May Help Prevent Heart Disease ~ In a 2013 study on 93,600 nurses, eating plenty of blue, violet, red pigments linked to a 32% lower risk of heart attacks.

7. Blueberries Can Help Maintain Brain Function and Improve Memory ~ Oxidative stress can accelerate the brain’s aging process, having negative effects on brain function.  According to animal studies, the antioxidants in Blueberries tend to accumulate in areas of the brain that are essential for intelligence.  They appear to directly interact with aging neurons, leading to improvements in cell signaling.  Human studies have also shown promising results. (BrainMemory)

8. Blueberries Can Have Anti-Diabetic Effects ~ Research suggests that these blue, violet, red pigments in blueberries can have beneficial effects on insulin sensitivity and glucose metabolism.  In a study of 32 obese subjects with insulin resistance, a blueberry smoothie caused major improvements in insulin sensitivity (Diabetic).  Improved insulin sensitivity should lower the risk of metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes, which are currently some of the world’s biggest health problems.

9. Blueberries May Help Fight Urinary Tract Infections ~ Urinary tract infections are a common problem in women.  It is well known that cranberry juice can help prevent these types of infections.  Blueberries are highly related to cranberries, and contain many of the same active substances as cranberry juice (UTI).  These substances are called anti-adhesives, and help prevent bacteria like E. colifrom binding to the wall of the bladder.

10. Blueberries May Help Reduce Muscle Damage After Strenuous Exercise ~ Strenuous exercise can lead to muscle soreness and fatigue, in part, by local inflammation and oxidative stress in the muscle tissue (Muscle). Blueberry supplementation may reduce the damage that occurs at the molecular level, minimizing soreness and reduction in muscle performance.  In a small study of 10 female athletes, blueberries accelerated muscle recovery after strenuous leg exercises (Recovery).

“Let food be thy medicine, and medicine be thy food.” Hippocrates
Promoting a lifestyle of preventative care!
WELLNESS PRINCIPAL:  Health comes from within.  You cannot buy it in a bottle.
          Please visit Catherine’s Pinterest boards by clicking this link:  Catherine’s Place.   There, you will find a variety of healthy sources, natural solutions, recipes, God’s Creation, and SO MUCH MORE.  Grab yourself a healthy snackmake yourself comfortable, and take time to browse through the wealth of information and be not only inspired but uplifted.

Be Cool with Blue

a92df2c66e194396a01a3928baab57fbThe Color Psychology of Blue

Although it is often overlooked and often unappreciated, colors play a very big part in our life.  God has truly blessed us with color and for good reason.  Before I deal with how the color blue benefits us physically, I would like to touch on how the color blue effects behavior.

  1. The color blue symbolizes qualities such as depth, stability, trust, loyalty, wisdom, confidence, intelligence, faith, truth, heaven, tranquillity, calmness, and sincerity.
  2. Blue conveys a subtle connotation of importance and confidence and is associated with intelligence, stability, unity, and conservatism.

Blue is one of the most popular colors with both male and female alike, but it is one of the least appetizing colors.  We aren’t generally attracted to blue foods.  Some weight loss plans even recommend eating your food off of a blue plate because interestingly some believe blue suppresses one’s appetite. Blue rarely occurs naturally in food aside from blueberries and some plums.  If you are trying to lose some weight, and try the blue plate method and it works, let me know.  Another way is to just use a smaller plate.

Physiological & Physical Benefits:

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  • Blue can also lower the pulse rate and body temperature.  As a collective color, it invokes rest and can cause the body to produce chemicals that sooth and calm the senses. Peacefulness and tranquility are qualities of blue that causes the body to produce calming chemicals, so it is often used in bedrooms.
  • Blue tends to regulate your cortisol and adrenoline levels that activate fight and flight response and may help you recover from stress more quickly.  Each individual has his/her own level of stress tolerance. When stress acts as a positive motivating force it is termed eustress. When it acts as a negative force it is termed distress. Stress only becomes a problem when it is chronic or severe. Stress plays a very crucial role in a multitude of negative human health behaviors. Chronic stress tends to erode coping mechanisms.
  • The blue/purple hues in foods are due primarily to their anthocyanin content. The darker the blue hue, the higher the phytochemical concentration.  Anthocyanins are antioxidants that are particularly heart healthy and may help support healthy blood pressure. Anthocyanins that give fruits their distinctive colors that may help ward off heart disease by preventing clot formation. They may also help lower risk of cancer.
  • Blue was believed to soothe illnesses and treat pain.
  • Blue promotes the healing of burns and wounds.

What is the Blue color?

food-sources-anthocyanins-gnowfglins-blueAnthocyanins (also anthocyans; from Greekἀνθός (anthos) = flower + κυανός (kyanos) = blue) are water-soluble vacuolar pigments that may appear red, purple, or blue depending on the pH.  Their purpose is to isolating materials that might be harmful or a threat to the cell by participating in the destruction of invading bacteria.  Vacuole are essentially enclosed compartments within a cell that are filled with water containing inorganic and organic molecules including enzymes in solution, though in certain cases they may contain solids which have been engulfed.  Anthocyanins play a role in the colors of ripening fruit.

Anthocyanins have been shown to act as a “sunscreen”, protecting cells from high-light damage by absorbing blue-green and ultraviolet light, thereby protecting the tissues from high-light stress.  They are found mostly in flowers and fruits but also in leaves, stems, and roots.

Antioxidants protect cells from damage and have important disease-fighting compounds. Antioxidants are actually powerful buffers to the unwanted various chemical reactions that occur in the human body.  Scientists believe they help prevent and repair the stress that comes from oxidation, a natural process that occurs during normal cell function.  They may help reduce risk of cancer, stroke and heart disease.

On the Antioxidant Color Wheel, the purple-blue-red-orange spectrum is home to the most antioxidant-rich fruits.  Wild blueberries are the winner overall. Just one cup has 13,427 total antioxidants – vitamins A & C, plus flavonoids (types of antioxidants) like quercetin – a flavonoid (plant pigment) – and anthocyanidin.

Quercetin Supports:

  1. Normal Respiratory Health – When your respiratory system is irritated, redness and swelling can result from the release of histamines, and quercetin has been reported to have an antihistamine effect. Lab tests have shown quercetin influences intracellular enzymes and may help inhibit histamine release.
  2. Cardiovascular Health – First, it encourages blood flow.  Secondly, researchers have observed that quercetin’s antioxidant action protects against LDL cholesterol oxidation.
  3. Balances Blood Pressure – quercetin naturally promotes balanced blood pressure.
  4. Protection Against Stress – when your stress levels are high and ongoing, cortisol can damage muscle tissue, leading to protein breakdown in the body, quercetin can fight these effects during times of extended stress as it suppresses the enzyme necessary for cortisol release.
  5. Upper Respiratory Conditions – quercetin caused a relaxation of the airway smooth muscle, leading researchers to suggest it may offer therapeutic solutions for persons suffering from upper respiratory conditions.

Resveratrol – is a polyphenolic/antioxidant compound is primarily found in the skin of grapes.  It directly up-regulates the tissue that forms a single layer of cells lining various organs and cavities of the body, esp. the blood vessels, heart, and lymphatic vessels in original cells.

  1. This nutrient relaxes blood vessels that increase the diameter of blood vessels and also dilutes the blood.  This helps increases the blood flow through blood vessels smoothly towards the heart.  There is extensive epidemiological evidence suggesting that dietary intake of these compounds reduces cardiovascular mortality.  Studies show inhibition of platelet aggregation.  High Resveratrol provides grapes anti-cancer property. This powerful antioxidant plays a protective role against cancers of colon and prostate, coronary heart disease (CHD), degenerative nerve disease, Alzheimer’s disease and viral/ fungal infections. It contains anthocyanin and proanthocyanidin compounds that inhibit the growth of cancer cell.
  2. It offers protection against disease, especially fungal infections.  Research shows that resveratrol acts as an antioxidant and an anti-inflammatory.  In recent studies, scientists found that resveratrol may stimulate the expression of adiponectin (a hormone shown to possess anti-obesity properties and fight insulin resistance.). Obesity, too, makes you prone to inflammation, as fat cells churn out inflammatory proteins called cytokines “cyto” meaning cell and “kinos” meaning movement, are (proteins with a sugar attached) that alter the immune system response.
  3. High Resveratrol provides anti-cancer properties. This powerful antioxidant plays a protective role against cancers of colon and prostate, coronary heart disease (CHD), degenerative nerve disease, Alzheimer’s disease and viral/ fungal infections. It helps inhibit the growth of cancer cells.
  4. Suppresses cancerous cell’s power of division and growth.  One study shows resveratrol helped prevent estrogen from reacting with DNA molecules and forming compounds that mark the start of cancer cell formation for genetic influences.
  5. Stimulates Mitochondria activity where biochemical processes of respiration and energy production occurs.
  6. Resveratrol reduces stroke risk by altering the molecular mechanisms inside the blood vessels. It does so, firstly by reducing the susceptibility of blood vessel through decreased activity of angiotensin (a systemic hormone causing blood vessel constriction that would otherwise elevate blood pressure) and secondly, through a beneficial compound that causes relaxation of blood vessels)
  7. Keeping your heart healthy and improving elasticity in your blood vessels
  8. Normalizing your anti-inflammatory response decreasing system inflammation
  9. Helping to prevent Alzheimer’s disease. Loss of cognition as we age is not normal. Our brain is highly susceptible to the damaging effects of inflammation, free radicals and insulin resistance.

Putting it all together:  Although Blue is not a bright cheery color, the color blue has positive effects on the mind and the body. Blue can cause the body to produce chemicals that are calming and offer a tranquility of the spirit and encourages rest.

On a spiritual note:  12061175c8ff5a31b29dd18d08d7728aWe have talked about how blue provides us with a calming and restful presence that soothes and can cause the body to be at peace.  The creator of blue knew what He was doing for our physical need.  John 14:27 (KJV) Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.  The only way to find true peace is through Jesus Christ.  He is the Prince of Peace.

My prayer for you is found in 2 Thessalonians 3:16 – Now the Lord of peace himself give you peace always by all means. The Lord [be] with you all.

Plants rich in anthocyanins are: blueberry, cranberry, bilberry, Rubus berries, black raspberry, red raspberry, blackberry, blackcurrant, cherry, eggplant peel, black rice, Concord grape, muscadine grape, red cabbage, and violet petals.

How does the color blue make you feel?  Do you like blue foods?  Which ones?

If you appreciated this information, share it with others.

Sources:

Global Healing Center