Weekly challenge: eat more berries
With their rich, deep colors, berries of all varieties -- strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries -- are known as the nutritional powerhouses of the fruit family. They’re packed with more antioxidants than other fruits and vegetables and are chock full of other plant chemicals or phytochemicals.
Ellagic acid, a phytochemical found in virtually all berries, helps block metabolic pathways that can lead to cancer and also acts like an antioxidant to preserve blood vessel function. Pterostilbene, found in blueberries, is another powerful antioxidant phytochemical that can help protect against biological processes that lead to the development of heart disease and other vascular diseases.
This could help explain the link between berry consumption and a lower risk of age-related memory loss. A Harvard study published last week found that women who reported eating at least two servings a week of strawberries, or one serving of blueberries, had more preserved brain function for up to 2 1/2 years longer than those who ate fewer servings of these berries.
Try getting at least one serving a day of berries and go for a colorful variety to ensure that you get the full array of antioxidants and phytochemicals that berries offer.
Deborah Kotz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @debkotz2.
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