Possible Good News for Cocoa Raspberry Cookie Lovers!

From the Archives of Internal Medicine, February 27, 2006
“Cocoa Intake, Blood Pressure, and Cardiac Mortality”:

“Short-term intervention studies show that large amounts of dark chocolate and cocoa drinks improve endothelial function and reduce blood pressure, but results of observational studies have not been published thus far. In this population-based study of 470 Dutch elderly men, the intake of cocoa from the habitual consumption of cocoa-containing foods was investigated cross-sectionally with blood pressure and prospectively with cardiac mortality. Buijsse et al. report that cocoa intake is related to an approximately 3.5 mm Hg lower systolic and 2.0 mm Hg lower diastolic blood pressure. After 15 years of follow-up, comprising 314 deaths, cocoa intake was also associated with a 45% to 50% lower risk of cardiovascular and all-cause mortality. This study suggests that habitual daily intake of cocoa reduces both blood pressure and the risk of death from cardiovascular diseases and all causes.”

Small Berry Packs Awesome Health Benefits

Black currants, a forgotten fruit in most American diets (but extremely popular in Europe), may be just what the doctor ordered. This dark-colored fruit is jam packed with antioxidants, which have been shown to have significant health benefits. Studies show that antioxidants can prevent various types of degenerative diseases, such as heart disease and cancer, as well as slow down the aging process and protect the body’s vision and neurological functions.

Until now, blueberries have long been regarded as the “king of antioxidants.” Research has shown that the black currant has a much higher source of antioxidants than the blueberry and has three times the amount of Vitamin C found in oranges. Black currants also contain significant amounts of vitamin B6, vitamin E, potassium, copper and soluble fiber. They are rich in phytochemicals called anthocyanins, which are known for their outstanding anti-inflammatory benefits. Anthocyanins are the plant pigments that give black currants their dark color – the darker the fruit, the higher the amount of anthocyanin and the more antioxidant benefits available.


Eat Berries for Health

PIKETON, Ohio – Nutritionists are taking the opportunity to urge consumers to eat berries by the handful. Strawberries, blueberries and raspberries are all good sources of vitamin C and fiber, according to nutrition specialists with Ohio State University Extension.
Strawberries have the most vitamin C, with more than 80 grams in a cup of whole berries. Even with the recent increase in vitamin C recommendations, that’s close to 90 percent of the daily vitamin C recommended for adult men (90 grams) and more than 100 percent that’s recommended for adult women (75 grams).

A cup of strawberries also contains about 4 grams of fiber, which helps consumers toward the recommended 20-25 grams of dietary fiber each day. Raspberries have double that amount of fiber: 8 grams per cup. They also have about 30 grams of vitamin C.
A cup of blueberries has 3 grams of fiber and nearly 20 grams of vitamin C. But that’s not all. Blueberries, raspberries and strawberries all have high concentrations of something called “ellagic acid,” an antioxidant that acts as a scavenger to help make potential cancer-causing chemicals inactive. While not seen as a replacement for cancer treatments, “chemo-preventive” compounds such as ellagic acid are being studied at Ohio State and other institutions for their ability to prevent or stop cancer development.

There may be many more as-yet unknown properties in berries and other fruits and vegetables that carry potential health benefits. That could be why people who eat more fruits and vegetables on a daily basis tend to be at less risk for cancer, heart disease and other health problems.

Source: Sandy Kuhn (740)289-2071 or (800)297-2072
Source: College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental
Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Ohio Agricultural Research and Development news release

Berries – The Best Overall Fruit for Your Health

by Dr. Joseph Mercola with Rachael Droege – Berries are among the best fruits on the planet. Not only do they taste great, but they are densely packed with a variety of potent phytochemicals that can do wonders to normalize and improve health. They are also high in fiber and relatively low in sugar, so they won’t stimulate sever insulin swings if eaten in moderation.

The best way to eat berriesis in their raw, natural state, as heating and freezing can damage antioxidants. However, some antioxidants will remain even after heating or freezing.

Different types of berries do contain varying levels of nutrients, and can therefore be more beneficial for certain types of illness. You can find out the details of some of the most common and most nutritious berries – blueberries, cranberries, strawberries and raspberries – following.

Researchers at the USDA Human Nutrition Center(HNRCA) have ranked blueberries #1 in antioxidant activity when compared to 40 other fresh fruits and vegetables. They contain powerful phytochemicals, such as anthocyanin, which is the pigment that gives blueberries their color.

Blueberries are associated with numerous health benefits including protection against urinary-tract infections, cancer, age-related health conditions and brain damage from strokes. They may also reduce the build-up of so-called “bad” cholesterol, which contributes to heart disease and stroke.

The European blueberry, bilberry, is also known to prevent and even reverse the most common kind of blindness, macular degeneration.

Additionally, blueberries contain vitamins A and C, zinc, potassium, iron, calcium and magnesium, and are high in fiber and low in calories.

Along with their well-known usefulness in treating urinary-tract infections, cranberries also protect against cancer, stroke and heart disease.

Cranberries are rich in polyphenols, a potent antioxidant, and researchers have found that they may inhibit the growth of human breast cancer cells and reduce the risk of gum disease and stomach ulcers. They have also been found to decrease levels of total cholesterol and “bad” cholesterol in animals.

Many people associate cranberries with store-bought cranberry juice. I would not use this as your source of cranberries, however, as the juice is high in sugar and that will weaken your immune system and overall health.

To achieve the maximum health benefits, it’s best to eat whole raw cranberries. They taste especially great when added to vegetable juice.

Strawberries came in second to blueberries in the USDA’s analysis of antioxidant capacity of 40 fruits and vegetables. They are also rich in dietary fiber and manganese, and contain more vitamin C than any other berry.

Among strawberries’ antioxidants are anthocyanins and ellagic acid, a phytochemical that has been shown to fight carcinogens. Antioxidant compounds found in strawberries may also prevent the oxidation of LDL(“bad”) cholesterol, and thereby help fight the development of heart disease.

Strawberries are also high in folic acid, dietary fiber and potassium.

Raspberries are rich in anthocyanins and cancer-fighting phytochemicals such as ellagic, coumaric and ferulic acid. They also contain calcium, vitamins such as A, C, E, fiber and folic acid.

Some of the fiber in raspberries is soluble fiber in the form of pectin, which lowers the cholesterol. Raspberries have also been found to protect against esophageal cancer and other cancer.

Please note that fruit juices should be avoided as they contain a large amount of fructose. Each glass of juice, even those with no sugar added, has more sugar than a glass of soda. Although the sugar it contains is fructose, it will still negatively affect your immune system.

If you like to have your berries in a liquid form, Berry Living Fuel Rx is a great alternative to fruit juice. Readers of this newsletter are likely familiar with the highly nutritious Living Fuel Rx offered on this site. Berry Living Fuel, coming soon, contains the same concentrated sources of vitamins, minerals , proteins, essential fats, enzymes, co-enzymes, herbs, botanical extracts and soluble and insoluble plant fibers as the original but now has the added nutrition and great taste of organic blueberries, cranberries, strawberries and raspberries. Each serving contains 120 to 130 grams of whole, organic berries that are freeze dried and powdered.

As with all fruits, I do recommend that you eat berries in moderation. If you eat too many berries the carbohydrates will increase your insulin levels. This is partially compensated for by the fiber in the whole fruit, which helps delay the absorption of sugar.

Eating small amounts of whole fruits will not provide tremendous amounts of the natural sugar fructose, however, and therefpre should not be a problem for most people.

Related Articles (on web site:
Berries: A Great Source of Plant Antioxidants
Diet Help for Urinary Tract Infections
Raspberries Helpful for Throat Cancer
Blueberry Hamburgers for Your Health
Blueberry Glut Might Benefit Your Brain!
Berries May Fight Arterial Disease

Source: Northland Berry News, Volume 17, No. 3, Fall 2003