January 10, 2011

Monday “Did you know…” Have a berry good new year!

From the Berry Health Benefits Network (click here for facts about specific berries)
“Scientists have found berries have some of the highest antioxidant levels of any fresh fruits (measured as ORAC), and kale and spinach are the only vegetables with ORAC values as high as fresh, delicious berries. Fresh berries are some of the most powerful (and delicious) disease-fighting foods available.

Color pigments in berries that are powerful antioxidants. Blue, purple, and red color has been associated with a lower risk of certain cancers, urinary tract health, memory function, and healthy aging.

Dietary Fiber
Found only in plant foods, fiber helps maintain a healthy GI tract, lowers blood cholesterol, reduces heart disease and may prevent certain types of cancers.

ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity)
ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) values are a measure of the antioxidant activity. Specifically, it measures the degree and length of time it takes to inhibit the action of an oxidizing agent. Antioxidants inhibit oxidation which is known to have a damaging effect on tissues. Studies now suggest that consuming fruits and vegetables with a high ORAC value may slow the aging process in both body and brain. Antioxidants are shown to work best when combined; the presence of fiber and other plant compounds enhance the health benefit. For this reason, a nutraceutical source is a more viable antioxidant option than that of a dietary supplement.

Single servings of fresh or freshly cooked fruits and vegetables supply an average of 600-800 ORAC units. Scientists believe that increasing intake of foods that provide 2000-5000 units per day may be needed to increase serum and tissue antioxidant activity sufficiently to improve health outcomes.

Phytochemicals are naturally occurring antioxidants in plants that add flavor, color pigments and scent, and they are abundant in all types of fruits and vegetables, particularly berries.

The pigments that give berries their rich red to blue, black and purple colors are a type of phytochemical that has been shown to have significant disease-fighting, cell-protecting antioxidant capacity.

Salicylic Acid
The salicylic acid found in Oregon caneberries may prove to have the same protective effect against heart disease as aspirin. Aspirin is a closely related compound know to pharmacists as salicylic acid acetate. The therapeutic successes of small daily doses of aspirin to inhibit atherosclerosis suggest the possibility that salicylic acid consumed in foods may provide a similar benefit. A 100-gram serving (about 3 /4 cup) of red raspberries contains around 5 milligrams of salicylic acid.

Vitamin C
A water soluble vitamin that functions as a powerful antioxidant.”

For more berry good information:

  • Avatar
    Wicasa Yatapika January 11, 2011 Reply

    MD…Good stuff!!! Oxidation is common, we see it all the time on steels left out in the weather, or fruit that has been cut open and then begins to brown, but what actually happens inside our bodies where oxygen molecules are in abundance….

    One of the paradoxes of life on Earth is that in order for life to exist oxygen is required. But, oxygen is also a highly reactive molecule that can damage living tissue by producing “reactive oxygen species” and free radicals. This is the basis of oxidation and why anti-oxidants are needed to help offset and/or neutralize the effects.

    Oxidation is linked to the effects of aging in humans, as well as conditions like cancer, hardening of the arteries and rheumatoid arthritis. These highly reactive oxygen molecules (O2), and other oxidizing agents are always hungry for negatively charged “free electrons”, and they will extract “free electrons” from the membranes in human cells. This leaves the cells damaged and open too mutation and breakdown. When there are an excessive amount of “free radicals” present this can set-off a chain reaction in the body that can lead too early aging and a breakdown of the bodies immune system.

    Some of the more common sites of negatively charged free electrons are DNA and proteins in the body. These reactions can cause the DNA to mutate or degenerate because the molecular chains are damaged by the loss of free electrons. The reactive oxygen species produced are peroxides and hypochlorous acid. Free radicals are typically hydroxyl molecules (OH) or superoxide anions, which are negatively charged oxygen molecules.

    Hydroxyl radicals are highly reactive. Hydroxyl free radicals cause damage to oxidative cells, particularly erythrocytes (or red blood cells). Glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) is an enzyme the body produces to destroy OH-, before it starts damaging the cells.

    One other interesting note is that the hydroxyl group (OH) is especially predominant in a family of molecules known as carbohydrates. Maybe you can start to see why diets higher in proteins and fats and less sugars and carbohydrates may be healthier….!! Just some FOOD for thought…..

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *