Sounds like 'Berries a Day Keeps Doctor Away'

Work & Family Life, March 2003 | Go to article overview

Sounds like 'Berries a Day Keeps Doctor Away'


A Healthy You

Berry fruits have been used for centuries to treat a variety of ailments. Now we're hearing that berries may help ward off high blood pressure and cancer and that blueberries, in particular, may improve the brain's functioning and reduce the effects of aging.

Berries are, in fact, a good source of antioxidants which play such an important role in the body. They knock out "free radicals," those unstable molecules that cause tissue damage and "oxidative stress" and may also lead to diminished brain functioning, specifically memory loss and problems with balance and coordination.

Of the berries studied so far, blueberries have been found to have one of the highest scores on tests of antioxidant capacity. Thus the claim you may have seen on a bag of blueberries in the supermarket: #1 Antioxidant Fruit.

"You have to take some of that with a grain of salt," says James A. Joseph, Ph.D., chief of the Neuroscience Lab at the USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University. While his studies have shown that blueberry-fed rats performed better on some tests involving memory, he points out that not all blueberries contain the same amount of antioxidants and, in any case, it's a lot harder to tease out different aspects of a human's lifestyle that could also have an impact on memory and motor function. …

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