Berries are some of the most nutritious foods on the planet. In the case of blueberries, naturally occurring phytochemicals such as anthocyanins can do wonders to normalize and improve your health. And berries, in general, are also high in fiber and relatively low in sugar, so they won’t stimulate severe insulin swings if eaten in moderation.
Berries are best eaten in their raw, natural state, as heating and freezing can damage antioxidants. However, some antioxidants will remain even after heating or freezing.
Age-related brain conditions and disorders
Brain damage from strokes
These findings strengthen previous discoveries of the berry’s powerful impact on cardiovascular health.
Because in addition to anthocyanin – which gives the berry its deep blue color -- blueberries also contain an antioxidant compound called pterostilbene, which has been found to reduce cholesterol as well as prescription drugs. (It shares similar qualities to another cholesterol-reducing antioxidant, resveratrol, which is found in both grapes and red wine.)
As an interesting side note, another unusual way to benefit from blueberries is to add them to your ground beef before cooking (ideally at low temperatures) as they help prevent cancer-causing heterocyclic amines (HCA) from forming in the meat.
Metabolic syndrome -- also sometimes referred to as pre-diabetes -- is a conglomerate of health problems that include high amounts of abdominal fat, high blood pressure, elevated blood sugar, and high triglycerides. When combined, these conditions increase your risk of cardiovascular disease, heart attacks, strokes and diabetes.
In this latest study, rats that consumed blueberry-enriched powder as two percent of their diet had less abdominal fat, lower triglycerides, lower cholesterol, and improved fasting glucose and insulin sensitivity after 90 days, compared to the control group.
Additionally, they found that blueberry intake affected genes related to fat-burning and storage. And when they looked at muscle tissue, they saw alterations in genes related to glucose uptake.
This is interesting as another recent study concluded that metabolic syndrome is likely not caused primarily by abdominal fat, as previously thought, but rather by insulin resistance in your skeletal muscle, which leads to changes in energy storage – which in turn leads to metabolic syndrome.
When it comes to diet, you’ll clearly want to stay away from any foods that raise your insulin levels, namely grains and sugars, and of course, processed foods.
When battling either belly fat or diabetes – or both -- remember that controlling your insulin levels is as important to optimizing your weight as it is to protecting you against diseases like diabetes.