The cranberry is an evergreen dwarf shrub or a trailing vine in the genus Vaccinium subgenus Oxycoccos. They are grow in acidic bogs through the cooler parts of the Northern Hemisphere. They grow to be about 2m long and 5-20cm in height.
The berry is very tart and is commonly recommended by doctors for urinary tract infections. A study showed that it reduced E. coli bacteria in urine at twice the levels of the placebo. The berries are high in vitamin C and proanthocyanins, both of which are powerful antioxidants….which makes it another one of our antioxidant fruits.
In the medical world, the berry is best known for its protective effects on the urinary tract. A 2006 study confirmed this information, showing that the berry can inhibit the formation and activity of the Streptococcus mutans bacteria. The berry’s capability to fight bacteria is one way it prevents and effectively treats urinary tract infections.
Nearly 95% of all the berries harvested are processed into products such as juice drinks, sauce and dried berries. See some of these great products below.
Bilberry – also known as: European blueberry, Huckleberry, Vaccinium myrtillus, Vaccinium corymbosum
A close relative to the blueberry (as you can tell in the photo), the fruit has impressive antioxidant properties and is historically linked to eye health. Studies indicate that the berry, with its abundance of antioxidants, may also be effetive in protecting the body against carcinogens and free radicals.
A study done in Canada in 2006, found that the berry can help and may be able to prevent and slow the progression of neurodegenerative diseases (like Parkinson’s), mainly due to its antioxidant powers.
Do you know some fun facts about the Bilberry? If so, leave a comment and share them with us!
Heart health is crucial for longevity. Your heart is an amazing machine. About the size of your fist, it’s the strongest muscle in your body, and with each beat, it pumps blood carrying life-giving oxygen and nutrients from head to toe and back again.
Like any intricate piece of equipment, your heart needs constant care and maintenance to ensure peak performance. If your heart’s functions become compromised, that condition is called cardiovascular disease.
When you talk about heart disease, most people think of coronary artery disease – the narrowing of the arteries leading to the heart. However, that’s only one type. Actually, heart disease, or cardiovascular disease, is a general term used to cover a long list of conditions related to the function of the heart and blood vessels.
The important thing to understand about cardiovascular disease is that most of its forms are associated with modifiable risk factors, such as an unhealthy diet, smoking, obesity or lack of exercise. Simply put, your lifestyle choices can determine how healthy your heart will be.
Examples of Cardiovascular Disease:
Coronary artery disease
Peripheral arterial disease
Abnormal heart rhythm
Valvular heart disease
Click on the following links to learn more about heart disease:
Cholesterol is a waxy substance that’s produced by the body and found in foods that come from animals. Contrary to popular opinion, cholesterol isn’t a bad thing. In fact, you couldn’t live without some cholesterol, because your body needs it to make hormones, skin oils, digestive juices and vitamin D.
The problem with cholesterol arises when you have too much of it, especially too much low-density lipoprotein (LDL), which is a major contributor to heart disease and cholesterol. This is the form of cholesterol that’s responsible for the build-up of fatty deposits that clod your arteries, reducing or blocking the flow of blood and oxygen your heart needs.
The other type of cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein (HDL), is the good kind. It actually helps remove build-up in the arteries and can help protect against heart disease.
Triglyceride is another fatty substance found in your blood. It can also raise heart disease risk.
After age 20, everyone should have his or her cholesterol checked at least once every five years. Cholesterol levels are measured in milligrams (mg) of cholesterol per deciliter (dL) of blood. If your total cholesterol level is 200mg/dL or higher, you should get a complete lipoprotein profile done to determine the individual levels of LDL, HDL and triglycerides.
Keep in mind that cholesterol is a modifiable risk factor. Eating foods high in fiber and low in fat and cholesterol, and getting plenty of exercise, are just a few lifestyle changes that can help. However there are issues other than lifestyle that can cause high cholesterol. If necessary, your doctor can prescribe medications to help reduce your cholesterol level.
HDL = good cholesterol – this number should be high (45 mg/dL or above).
LDL = bad cholesterol – This number should be LOW (less than 130 mg/dL for low-risk individuals, less than 100 mg/dL for high-risk individuals, and less than 70 mg/dL for every high-risk individuals).
Anti-Aging has been all the rage. There are many ways to avoid the wrinkles and sagging skin that comes with aging. Antioxidant Fruits is one way to get that done. Watch the following video to see how Dr. Oz shows the effects of oxidation on an apple and how antioxidants can keep that oxidation from happening as quickly:
You are what you eat. Remember that calories count, so keep your body weight at a healthy level, which is a crucial part in anti-aging. Excess body fat is toxic in many ways, promoting cancer, heart disease, diabetes and aging. It makes you look older, too.
You can control many of your aging processes with what you eat. Food affects your brain as well as your body. This, in turn, affects how you feel, your performance, your health, your joy. Our bodies are being constantly rebuilt, and the food we eat is our raw material. Imagine food as fuel for your body. If you put the incorrect gas in your car, it will need repairing. Well, the same goes for our bodies.
Eating and living properly benefits you way down at the cellular level, where free-radical damage is the most significant reason we age. Free radicals come mainly from our diets, but also from exercise and the environment. Free radicals, which are byproducts of oxygen use by the cells, take electrons from cell. This causes damage. Antioxidants, such as Vitamins C and E and beta-carotene, can provide the missing electrons, sparing damage to the cells. Neutralizing and/or reducing free radicals produces a positive effect in your health and against aging.
Free-radical damage may also be involved in cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, cataracts, hypertension and many immune problems. A diet high in antioxidant fruits can help protect you from these diseases that are associated with aging.
In fact, the acai berry has been recognized as one of the foremost superfoods for anti-aging. The amino acids and trace minerals that are found in acai help in ideal muscle contraction and regeneration; this helps slow down the destructive effects to the skin which cause the signs of aging.
The fatty acid in acai is high in monounsaturated oleic acid which together with omega 3 oils enter cell membranes and help to make them suppler; this in fact allows neurotransmitters, hormones, and insulin receptors to work more efficiently, diminishing inflammation. Inflammation is a leading cause of the aging process.
For many of us these days, it is important to find a source of blood pressure control. Since high blood pressure is a primary risk for heart disease and stroke, it is important to find a way to control it. Diet and excercise, as we hear so often, are great ways to control your blood pressure.
The best diet is one that is low in salt, sugar, and fat, and high in calcium, magnesium, and potassium.
You should eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains, fish, poultry, and low-fat dairy products. You should limit red meat, sugar, fat, foods high in cholesterol, and alcohol. You also should try to stay at a healthy weight.