Blueberries, Grapes and Apples
Yesterday, I reported on a new study which concluded that people who eat plenty of blueberries, grapes and apples enjoy significantly greater protection against type 2 diabetes than people who do not eat these whole fruits. Today, I thought I’d delve a little deeper into these superfoods.
Blueberries are on most people’s list of top superfoods. Experts cite their high levels of antioxidant compounds. These potent antioxidants, called anthocyanins, have been linked to numerous health benefits. Recent research shows that even very small amounts of these compounds can act as potent antioxidants within cells.
Oxidative stress is thought to play a key role in many of the diseases blueberries help prevent. Oxidative stress refers to a condition in which highly reactive molecules, called free radicals, damage cells. Antioxidants from the diet and the body itself are helpful because they neutralize these rogue molecules.
Red grapes feature another potent natural antioxidant compound, resveratrol, among other compounds. Resveratrol is believed to have multiple beneficial effects. Early research suggested it might directly contribute to an increased lifespan due to its effects on a family of proteins known as sirtuins. While antioxidants from a broad range of fruits have been shown to protect people from oxidative stress for up to 90 minutes after consumption, antioxidant activity from grapes lasts as long as two hours after consumption.
We’ve all heard “an apple a day keeps the doctor away.” Research shows this folk wisdom is correct. Apples are especially good at putting heart and diabetes doctors out of business. Apples contain all sorts of beneficial compounds, including antioxidants. One compound, quercetin, may play a direct role in helping to prevent cardiovascular disease and stroke. That’s because quercetin acts like a natural blood thinner, making platelets less likely to clump together. Clumping of platelets encourages blood clots, and clots are implicated in both stroke and heart attack.
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