Food For Thought: Blueberry Your Brain

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As we age, many see a decline in mental capabilities whether it’s memory loss, trouble thinking of the right word, being forgetful, and we blame it on getting old. When in fact, uh… I’m sorry, I forgot what I was just saying. Oh, yes. Forgetfulness. That’s it. The two major causes of mental decline are oxidative damage and inflammation. Conditions that can be prevented!

The National Institute of Aging conducted a study with rats on how blueberries may protect the brain. The two groups were both given a toxic chemical that causes the same kind of damage to the brain as we see in Alzheimer’s. The outcome was that the rats that had a diet rich in blueberries, prior to having been exposed to the chemical, showed much less decline. That’s powerful protection!

This is significant research when you consider that 1 in 5 people over the age of 65 have Alzheimer’s.

Blueberries contain almost 40% more of the same antioxidant found in Red Wine. It’s this antioxidant, Resveratrol that protects the brain from oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is what happens when the cells of the body die off due to lack of antioxidants such as Resveratrol. Think of a car that is rusting…eventually the metal will crumble. This is what oxidative stress does to our “frames.”

Blueberries are in peak season from May through October, so get them while they are in season, stock up and freeze them for the winter time.

Some simple ways to make sure you are getting the benefits of the powerful antioxidants of blueberries daily is by adding them to smoothies, throwing a hand full into your bowl of oatmeal, mix in your yogurt and even toss fresh blueberries into salads. Really, berries are delicious in salads!

And remember organic is preferable. Blueberries are #5 on the list of the most heavily sprayed crops. Personally, I don’t buy them unless they are organic. So when I find them at a good price, I stock up and freeze them. You can download the guide to pesticides in your produce at www.foodnews.org.

And lastly, in addition to eating all the fresh organic blueberries I can get my hands on, I supplement with a berry powder supplement called Juice Plus Vineyard. You can learn more about it at this website: www.allyourservings.com

About Karen Roth

Hi. My name is Karen Roth, www.karenrothnutrition.com and I’m a Holistic Nutritionist. Okay, I know what you’re thinking… quick, hide the food; the snack police is here! No need to panic. I describe myself as a “practical” nutritionist, one who doesn’t go to extremes one way or the other and understands that life is challenging enough without having to torture yourself by cutting out many of the things you enjoy. Most of us have limited time to shop for food and to cook healthier meals. And a one-size-fits-all approach does not work when it comes to what and how we all eat. Trust me, I get it.

In my early years out of college when I was bartending, my eating and drinking habits were anything but healthy. But, then you grow up and start thinking about the bigger picture and listening more to what your body is telling you. My pre-nutritionist days were on the corporate treadmill where stress and snacking at the desk was part of my daily routine. Never enough hours in the day and proper eating was always at the bottom of my list.

It wasn’t until I broke my jaw in a freak accident that my food life really changed. When you’re wired shut for two months and denied the food you need for your very existence, you begin to look at the world a little differently. When I healed myself, primarily by creating my own foods I could sip through a straw, I decided to pursue something that was always of interest to me… nutrition. Pulling the plug on the corporate treadmill, I went back to school for three years to get my Masters Degree in Holistic Nutrition. I then opened a practice in Valencia, California, and I’m pleased to say that over the years I have helped so many people improve the quality of their lives by helping them make simple changes in their diets and lifestyle.

Eating healthy doesn’t have to be time-consuming or tasteless, and it is my intention to bring you practical tips each week on how to fit in nutrition one bite at a time. In addition to being practical, I’m also positive so you don’t have to worry that I am going to be Debby Downer and tell you that everything you put in your mouth is going to kill you. Instead, I will offer you easy to implement, simple strategies to help you improve your health. I’ll be introducing new foods (that taste good – because I don’t eat anything that tastes like sawdust or is unappetizing) and new habits that are realistic. I hope you’ll join me as a regular reader and together we’ll build the healthier you with FOOD FOR THOUGHT.

(Karen Roth, MS, NC is a graduate of Hawthorn University’s Master of Science in Holistic Nutrition training program. She helps her clients to take control of their health with foods choices that best support their specific health condition and specific metabolic type and believes that every ill health condition can benefit and possibly improve from a solid foundation of healthy foods choices. Visit her website at www.karenrothnutrition.com

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