Tropical Blueberries Are Even Healthier Than US/Canadian Blueberries
blueberries that grow wild in Mexico, Central and South America … have even more healthful antioxidants than the blueberries — already renowned as “super fruits” — sold throughout the United States. These extreme super fruits could provide even more protection against heart disease, cancer and other conditions
Too bad you can’t buy ‘em here yet. I hope some good company starts importing them.
Your Body Shape and Heart Disease
A major new analysis challenges the long-held idea that obese people who carry their extra weight mainly around the middle — those with an “apple” shape — are at greater risk for heart disease than “pears,” whose fat tends to cluster on their thighs and buttocks.
The new report, published online on March 11 in The Lancet, pooled data from 58 studies about more than 220,000 people,mean age of 58. During the time they were followed, more than 14,000 suffered a heart attack or stroke. Conventional risk factors like blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes and smoking were accurate predictors of a heart attack or stroke, but additional information about weight or body shape (ascertained by measuring waist circumference or waist-to-hip ratio) did not improve the ability to predict risk.
What is being said here, in my opinion, is that there are some people who are pear shaped or fat - and for whatever reason they are actually quite healthy - and don’t have any of the above risk factors for heart disease. So despite being fat or pear shaped, they have low blood pressure, cholesterol, no diabetes, etc.
It’s an interesting exception.
Lamb - how grass fed is it?
So lamb has won praise because lambs can’t eat grains, so for those who like grass fed beef, lamb is one place where you can be reasonably sure you’re not getting a grain fed product (which produces lots of health problems). However, it turns out there is good lamb and even better lamb. Even better lamb is pastured.
In our own nutritional profile of lamb, we use a conservative average estimate of 40 milligrams of omega-3s per ounce of roasted lamb loin. That’s 50% of the omega-3s in an ounce of baked cod fish or broiled tuna, and 67% of the amount in an ounce of sesame seeds.
In research comparing indoor feeding on hay and nutrient concentrates with outdoor pasture feeding, pasture-fed lamb was found to contain significantly lower levels of trans fatty acids with the exception of a single trans fatty acid called vaccenic acid. Trans fats are a type of dietary fat that we want to avoid in large amounts due to increased risk of cardiovascular disease, but vaccenic acid is one specific type of trans fat that we do not want to avoid since it’s the building block for a cardioprotective fatty acid called CLA (conjugated linoleic acid).
This is important because some might think it’s easy to be less selective about lamb since lamb is not always grass fed, so pay up for the good stuff if you can afford it and it’s available.
Blueberries combat diabetes, metabolic syndrome, cancer
In a recent double-blind, placebo-controlled study, 32 obese, insulin-resistant (pre-diabetic) adult men and women drank smoothies made with freeze-dried blueberry powder for six weeks. A placebo control group consumed smoothies without blueberry extracts.
With no changes in body weight or composition compared to controls, the blueberry group showed a statistically significant and much greater improvement in insulin sensitivity (22.2% plus or minus 5.8%) versus the placebo arm (4.9% plus or minus 4.5%).
Another study examined 48 individuals afflicted with metabolic syndrome, the constellation of pathologies that includes high blood pressure, central obesity (around the abdomen), elevated blood glucose, insulin resistance, and unfavorable lipid profiles (high LDL cholesterol and triglycerides and low HDL cholesterol). In this randomized, controlled trial, participants consumed a freeze-dried blueberry drink or an equal amount of fluids. After eight weeks, the blueberry group experienced greater decreases in systolic and diastolic blood pressure readings, compared with the control group. The test group also exhibited lower levels of oxidized LDL and other inflammatory markers associated with the metabolic syndrome.
Researchers have discovered that blueberry anthocyanins combat cancer development in three distinct ways:
- They inhibit the creation of new blood vessels essential to tumor growth (angiogenesis).19
- They impede the spread of tumor cells to different locations in the body (metastasis).19
- They stimulate cellular maturation, or differentiation, into less injurious or malignant forms.19
Blueberries are one of the few foods that have a meaningfully positive effect on your brain. Foods that do this many good things are rare. Putting everything together it’s a pretty convincing argument to eat blueberries regularly.