I spent last Saturday at an all-day conference on the topic of nutrients and gene expression. Amongst the foods cited as having the greatest capacity for positively influencing gene expression and maintaining optimal health, was the beautiful blueberry.
Fortunately, blueberries to me are like Haribos to a child – an addictive, brightly coloured, delicious, sweet treat.
It’s not just the taste I’m enthralled with. I know that each time I pop these into my mouth, it’s like giving my cells a huge ‘health’ hug.
Blueberries can benefit us in so many ways:-
They contain anthocyanin antioxidants such as resveratrol, lutein and zeaxanthin – making them one of the highest antioxidant foods able to combat aging and inflammation (the root of most diseases)
They are fabulously rich in vitamin C – ideal for staving off the winter sniffles or summertime hayfever sneezes
They contain high amounts of gallic acid – a very powerful anti-fungal and antiviral agent (an unbelievable 90% of the population is infected with one or more types of dormant or active virus)
The resveratrol and gallic acid content have cancer fighting properties – able to kill breast cancer cells (without destroying healthy cells like conventional cancer treatment does)
They have been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects in individuals with inflammatory bowel disease such as colitis
Their vitamin K, calcium, magnesium, manganese and phosphorus content aids with maintaining bone density, and strong collagen and elastin for healthy skin
The calcium, magnesium, fibre and B vitamin content make them heart friendly – lowering the risk of heart attacks, as well as reducing high blood pressure, high cholesterol and high homocysteine levels.
These low-calorie, high fibre fruits make a wonderful satiating snack when trying to lose weight or maintain weight.
The anthocyanins in blueberries have been shown to reduce the risk of cognitive impairment (induced by chronic mild stress), and improve short term memory and motor co-ordination. They are also thought to be beneficial for stopping Alzheimer’s disease in its tracks.
Having listened to the highly regarded Italian scientist/researcher wax lyrical about this fruit, I was inspired to make a delicious berry beverage to accompany our Sunday lunch.
500ml soda water
1 handful of basil
Juice of ½ lime
1 tsp raw honey
Boil the water in a medium saucepan and add the raw honey, stirring until it dissolves completely. Next, add the blueberries and cook until they burst, about 2 minutes. Stir to break up the blueberries, then remove from heat. Add the basil leaves and allow to infuse. Sieve once cooled. Serve over ice, and enjoy!