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Berries for Better Health

We all know that an apple a day keeps the doctor away.  However, there are powerful berries that have been designated as super foods that should gain your attention.  Do you know which berries are considered nutritional powerhouses?  Have you heard of acai, goji and resveratrol which come from red grapes? If not, find out how these super berries can transform your health.

Açaí (ah-sigh-ee) is the berry of an Amazon palm tree which is native to Central and South America.  Studies have shown that this fruit is one of the most nutritious and powerful foods in the world.  Research on the acai berry has focused on its possible antioxidant activity which may help prevent diseases caused by oxidative stress such as heart disease and cancer.  Acai contains anthocyanins that are responsible for the red, purple, and blue color in many fruits and vegetables.  Anthocyanins are powerful antioxidants that help defend the body against life’s stressors and also play a role in the body’s cell protection system. Some studies show that acai has a very high antioxidant capacity with even more antioxidant content than the cranberry, raspberry, blackberry, strawberry, or blueberry.

The goji berry is a bright orange-red berry that comes from a shrub that is native to China. In Asia, goji berries have been eaten for generations in the hopes of living longer.  Over time, people have used goji berries to treat many common health problems like diabetes, high blood pressure, fever, and age-related eye problems. These berries are eaten raw, cooked, or dried. Goji berries contain powerful antioxidants which may boost the immune system and lower cholesterol.  Eating foods high in antioxidants may slow the aging process by minimizing damage from free radicals that injure cells and damage DNA. When a cell’s DNA is damaged, it grows abnormally. Antioxidants can take away the destructive power of free radicals. By doing so, antioxidants help reduce the risk of some serious diseases.

Red wine, in moderation, has long been thought of as being healthy for the heart. Antioxidants in red wine called polyphenols may help protect the lining of blood vessels in your heart. Resveratrol is a polyphenol that helps prevent damage to blood vessels reduces “bad” cholesterol and prevents blood clots.  Resveratrol is a protective compound produced by grapevines and other plants in response to environmental stresses. The resveratrol in red wine comes from the skin of grapes used to make wine. Because red wine is fermented with grape skins longer than is white wine, red wine contains more resveratrol.  Many physicians do not advocate drinking red wine just to obtain resveratrol as it is easy to obtain in supplement form.

Human cell culture studies have demonstrated that resveratrol has potent antioxidant activity, as well as the ability to inhibit platelet aggregation. These actions may help prevent free radical damage throughout the body and provide protective support to the cardiovascular system.  Activate your body’s own longevity enzyme while protecting yourself from the aging effects of free radicals and oxidative stress with resveratrol.

Research supports eating a diet rich in antioxidants. There is no doubt that these berries should be a key part of a healthy diet.

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