People who know me, also know I am a devoted consumer of blueberries! I love these small fruits that hark from my homeland. I remember picking their little wild relatives as a child, and now on the other side of the world, I enjoy consuming them every day just as much.
Not only do they taste good, but it turns out they are good for you as well. Researchers have tested blueberries against an array of common disorders and discovered significant results. Most impressive was the ability of blueberries to improve memory as well as undo some of the degenerative changes seen in ageing neurones. As an octogenarian, this is important information.
Plants are rich sources of many nutrients that are essential for good health, including unsaturated fats, vitamins (such as folate), minerals (such as potassium), fibre and protein.
In one research trial, of 24 types of fruit, 23 types of vegetables, ten types of nuts, four types of dried fruits, and 16 types of herbs and spices, blueberries, both wild and cultivated, scored highest in total antioxidant capacity per serving among all the fruits, vegetables, spices, and herbs tested.
More generally, it is well known now that eating a plant-based diet has been linked to lower risk of obesity and many chronic diseases, such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, inflammation and cancer.
A recent study that followed more than 200,000 US adults for more than 20 years found that eating a diet high in plant foods and low in animal foods was associated with a 20 per cent lower risk of diabetes compared with individuals eating a diet low in plant foods.
Food health is a vast topic, and I have dear friends who have devoted their whole lives to understanding this remarkable area of health science. I invite you to visit Maria Middlestead’s wonderfully empowering website.
It’s a privilege to live at a time in human history when the availability of good food and good science surrounds those of us in wealthy western countries.
Each day, when I eat my bowl of beautiful blueberries, I reach out my heart and hope to the rest of the world, that such simple and powerful health benefits will be available to us all.