Each day our cells are bombarded with negatively charged ions known as free radicals that cause damage leading to accelerated aging and increased risk of heart disease, cancer and dementia. It`s estimated that each of our trillion or so cells is assaulted by up to 10,000 free radicals each day.
This damage must be repaired by our body to prevent disease and slow the aging process. Free radicals are a natural part of metabolism and represent the byproducts of respiration, digestion and physical activity. Fortunately nutritional research has confirmed a host of natural compounds found in berries. Start your New Year off on a healthy note with a bowl full of tasty berries.
The Free Radical Theory of Aging
One well accepted theory of aging explains how free radicals cause cellular degeneration and damage to nuclear DNA. As we age our ability to repair this damage becomes limited due to poor diet and lifestyle choices over the course of decades. Researchers have found that as we age, as many as one in three proteins have become dysfunctional due to free radical damage.
Proteins are the backbone of life and essential to health. Loss of protein function results in many of the outward signs of aging including wrinkles and grey hair and leads to cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes and dementia. Any nutrient that can neutralize free radicals will help to lower risk of disease and extend natural life.
Acai Berry is the Top Ranked Antioxidant Food
Acai berry has been shown to exhibit the highest antioxidant capacity of all natural food sources demonstrating the ability to attract and neutralize free radicals before they can cause cellular damage. Scientists at the USDA Human Nutrition Research Center have developed a standardized index known as ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) designed to measure the ability of antioxidants to absorb free radicals. Acai berry has the highest recorded ORAC score of 18,400 providing validation for its ability to provide protection to cellular mitochondria that are most susceptible to free radical damage.
The results of a study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry shows that people who supplemented with acai berry increased the antioxidant capacity of their blood threefold. Supplementing with acai provides a significant shield to our genetic foundation as well as the protein structures that we rely on for disease free health and natural aging.
Blueberries Improve Cognitive Health
Blueberries rank in the middle of the ORAC spectrum at 3,200 yet have been shown to enhance cognitive function due to their unique ability to penetrate the blood-brain barrier. Blueberries target the area of the brain associated with learning and memory and protect neurons by absorbing free radicals that limit the activity of neurotransmitters and electrical impulses necessary for optimal brain function.
Bilberries are Good for the Heart
A relative of the blueberry, bilberries have a demonstrated efficacy in lowering risk factors for heart disease. This berry significantly inhibits the angiotensin-converting enzyme that contributes to blood vessel constriction and high blood pressure. A major class of drugs has been developed by Big Pharma to accomplish this same task with many dangerous side effects. Bilberries are powerful antioxidants that naturally lower blood pressure and improve vascular health.
Acai and virtually all members of the berry family are potent antioxidants that promote vibrant health by neutralizing age-inducing free radicals. Health conscious individuals will want to include a variety of different colored berries as part of their diet to reap a multitude of life extending benefits and start the New Year with vibrant health.