2013-09-06 / Sports

Jen’s Fitness Forum

By Jen Font de Bon

I believe that optimum health and happiness root from maintaining a well-rounded balanced lifestyle. Living consciously, finding moderation, staying active, and keeping a diet rich in whole nutritious foods helps us feel our best; and if we as individuals are good, everything around us will be better because of it.

They don’t dub it “brain food” for nothing! This “super fruit” is number one when it comes to antioxidants. It keeps us young, supports a healthy cardiovascular system, and reduces the risk of developing diseases. What’s more? We can grow it right in our own backyards.

That’s right, the BLUEBERRY is a nutrition powerhouse native to North America. Incorporate it in your diet all year long. It doesn’t matter if they’re fresh or frozen; either way will give you maximum health benefits.

ANTIOXIDANT POWER. Studies comparing more than forty different fruits and vegetables determined the blueberry as having the highest amount of antioxidants per serving. Antioxidants pump up the immune system and help detoxify the body of harmful waste. Also, the blueberry’s blue pigment (anthocyanin) reduces the action of free radicals associated with aging, Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, and heart disease.

HEALTHY HEART. Consuming blueberries as part of a healthy diet can substantially lower your risk of heart attack. The abundant compound in blueberries called anthocyanin is believed to broaden the arteries, which helps prevent plaque buildup– the main cause of heart attacks.

BETTER EYESIGHT. Load up on blueberries to lower your chances of developing age-related macular degeneration (the primary cause of vision loss in adults over sixty-five). The same anthocyanin that boosts heart health also protects your vision and can even improve it!

THE ANTI-AGER. Blueberries have been shown to reduce and even reverse age-related memory loss. They improve brain function and could also play an important role in fighting Parkinson’s disease. Why? Blueberries contain a large amount of antioxidants called flavonoids, which have been associated with boosting memory and learning.

DENTAL HYGIENE & BLADDER HEALTH. The polyphenols in blueberries protect teeth from bacterial adhesion. This helps strengthen collagen and prevents against the formation of cavities. Similarly, these polyphenols stop bacteria from sticking to bladder walls. One serving each day will help you steer clear of uncomfortable urinary-tract infections.

NO MORE CONSTIPATION. Blueberries can be used to help regulate the digestive tract. This high-fiber fruit soaks up as much as fifteen times its weight in water, which brings fluid into the stomach and increases bowel movements.

BYE-BYE BELLY FAT. Studies have shown that blueberries may help reduce abdominal fat and lower your chances of developing metabolic syndrome. They contain less than one hundred calories per cup and are extremely versatile in the kitchen. Use them in dishes that are sweet, savory, hot, or cold. Toss a handful in your smoothie, salad, on top of ice cream or quinoa. Questions, comments? E-mail: jennifer. fontdebon@gmail.com

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