September 11, 2009


Blueberry is food for thought: A blueberry smoothie at breakfast can stop your powers of concentration waning in the afternoon - and even help fight dementia in the long term, new research suggests. (Richard Alleyne, 10 Sep 2009, Daily Telegraph)

The findings of the study, reported at the British Science Festival, add to the growing reputation of blueberries as the super-food of super-foods.

The fruit, which is an anti-oxidant, has already been linked to lower heart disease and cancer rates as well as anti-ageing.

Antioxidants remove free radicals - chemicals that have the potential to cause damage to cells and tissues in the body.

But Dr Jeremy Spencer, a molecular nutritionist at the University of Reading who carried out the latest study, believes its affect on the mind is less to do with its antioxidant properties and more to do with its ability to increase the blood flow to your brain.

Special chemicals in the fruit, known as flavonoids, open up blood vessels, allowing increased blood flow and at the same time a reduction of blood pressure.

The effect is improved cognitive performance in the short term, and a healthier brain in the long term.

Popcorn and cereals as rich in antioxidants as fruit and vegetables: Snack foods like popcorn and many popular breakfast cereals contain the same amount of healthy antioxidants as fruit and vegetables, claim researchers. (Richard Alleyne, 19 Aug 2009, Daily Telegraph)
Polyphenols are a group of chemicals found in many fruits, vegetables, and other plants, such as berries, walnuts, olives, tea leaves and grapes.

Known as antioxidants, they remove free radicals from the body. Free radicals are chemicals that have the potential to cause damage to cells and tissues in the body.

Polyphenols have up to 10 times the antioxidant effect as vitamins C and E.

It is known that whole grain foods are good for you but it was always thought that it was the fibre in them that had the health benefits.

Now scientists are reassessing their effectiveness and think it might be the polyphenols that are active health-giving ingredient.

The US chemist Dr Joe Vinson, who made the discovery, said: "We really were surprised by the levels of polyphenols we found in popcorn. I guess its because it's not processed. You get all the wonderful ingredients of the corn undiluted and protected by the skin.

"In my opinion it's a good health food."

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 11, 2009 6:29 AM
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