Thanks to a lab study, the disease-busting credentials of the diminutive, yet all-powerful blueberry got even bigger. Scientists fed a group of mice genetically prone to develop premature heart disease standard rat chow spiked with blueberry powder and a second group the same diet without the blueberry powder.
After 20 weeks, the mice fed the blueberry-spiked diet had 58 percent less plaque build-up in their aortic arteries. This study is the first to show direct evidence that blueberries can slow the growth of arterial plaque (the ultimate cause of heart attacks and most strokes). The dose used was the human equivalent of ½ cup of fresh blueberries daily.
In a second lab report, black raspberries wowed cancer researchers with their colon-cancer fighting potential. The researchers fed a group of mice genetically prone to develop colon cancer a Western-style (high risk) diet for 12 weeks. Half of the mice had their unhealthy diet supplemented with black raspberry powder while the other half didn’t.
The mice that consumed the berry-enhanced high-risk rat chow were 50 percent less likely to develop colon cancer relative to the other group. The scientists attributed black raspberry’s cancer protection to the super-potent anti-inflammatory compounds it houses. Keep in mind that inflammation is involved in the development of practically all chronic diseases.
Thankfully all types of berries pack a whopping anti-inflammatory punch. Make it a habit to eat berries daily.
(Journal of Nutrition, September 2010)
(Cancer Prevention Research, November 2010)
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