Sunday, October 12, 2008

Blueberries for Inflammation

My favorite anti-inflammatory food is BLUEBERRIES

I prescribe one cup of frozen blueberries daily to all my patients with inflammation, heart disease, or diabetes. Most people are happy to add such a delicious food in to their diet, but occasionally I will have a patient balk at the cost of eating so many blueberries each month.

If you are already taking medications or other supplements, you are clearly paying quite a bit for your health already so adding a superfood in like blueberries is well worth the $30 a month. You could buy a bottle of some herbal product for that same price, or you could just enjoy eating blueberries.

  • Blueberries are highly anti-inflammatory and their proanthocyanin behavior is fundamentally protective to our cardiovascular system.
  • In my opinion there is not a more delicious, advantageous way to improve your health than by eating a cup of frozen blueberries a day.
  • I like to enjoy them as an evening snack, and let them sit out and thaw about 20 minutes before eating.
  • You can also add them to smoothies or your morning cereal.
  • Cooking them does not destroy their important pigments, and the freezing process actually makes these proanthocyanins more bioavailable for absorption. A rare exception to the rule that fresh is best!

Blueberries Prevent Cancer

The American Cancer Society recommendations suggest that people try to consume a mostly plant-based diet with minimum of 5 servings of fruits and vegetables per day.

What the ACS doesn’t say is how large a serving is, nor what types of fruits and vegetables are the best to focus on.

First off, it’s important to point out that a serving is typically only a half cup, so five servings really only add up to about two and a half cups.

Also, it is important to know which foods offer the highest degree of disease protection, so that these foods can be incorporated into the diet. Some of the best plant foods for preventing cancer include dark skinned berries such as raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries, tomatoes, pomegranates, turmeric, and green tea.

The dark skinned berries have high levels of the substance known as ellagic acid. Ellagic acid is found is in many types of fruits including strawberries, cranberries, walnuts, pecans, and pomegranates, and especially in red raspberries. Ellagic acid has been found to have substantial anti-cancer properties, as well as strong anti-oxidant capabilities.

This natural substance promotes it’s anti-cancer effects through a couple of different mechanisms. Ellagic acid has been found to stop the growth of many types of cancer cells, including cervical, prostate, breast, colon, pancreatic, esophageal, and skin cancer lines. Ellagic acid stops cancer growth by interfering with a particular part of the cancer cell’s reproductive cycle. When these cells can no longer reproduce, they eventually die without making any new cells.

In some studies this effect was seen within 48 hours of taking ellagic acid. Other studies have shown that ellagic acid has the ability to prevent the effects of toxins known to cause cancer. The ellagic acid prevents toxins from binding to DNA, so that cancerous growth cannot be genetically promoted. Lastly, eating foods which contain ellagic acid may be more beneficial than taking supplements containing ellagic acid.

Blueberries for Subconjunctival Hemorrhage

Most red spots on the eye that appear suddenly are subconjunctival hemorrhages and typically not of a concern as long as it is contained to the white portion or “sclera” of your eye, and you are not having changes in your vision or eye pain.

If you are unsure of the diagnosis you should see your doctor for a definitive diagnosis.

I would eat more blueberries for the 7-10 day period this takes typically to resolve as the proanthocyanin content helps to build blood vessel integrity and should reduce the odds of you having a permanent tiny red mark on your sclera.

A frozen cup of blueberries daily until resolved would not be a bad idea. The freezing process actually increases the bioavailability of the healing pigments from the berries. Proanthocyanins are also found in blackberries, grapes, red wine and red cabbage.

Addressing the cause of subconjunctival hemorrhage may be necessary to prevent future recurrence. High blood pressure, straining with bowel movement, coughing, vomiting, drug or alcohol use may all be precipitating factors.

Blueberry Smoothie Recipe

  • 1-2 cups of rice milk, almond milk, or soy milk (I do half water/half milk to save calories) You can also use organic juice (no high fructose corn syrup or food colorings please!)
  • 1/2 cup or more of frozen blueberries (You can buy a variety of all the different bags of frozen fruits your grocery store offers and mix it up: Blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, mango’s, peaches, and pineapple are all great. Peel bananas, chop, and freeze in baggies ahead of time.)
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder (Designer Whey vanilla is my favorite)
  • 1/4 cup plain yogurt
  • 3 Tablespoons of freshly ground flaxseeds (grind fresh to preserve the delicate omega-3 oils)
  • 1 scoop of L-glutamine powder (equivalent to 500mg) for those that have chronic digestive complaints, are easily prone to ulcers, IBS or food allergies, and need some extra gut healing help on a daily basis.

Blend and enjoy!

This delicious treat is one of the fastest healthiest breakfast meals you can make. Let me break it down for you:

  • The anti-oxidants, vitamins, and fiber in fruit are great for your cardiovascular system, and a MUST for any anti-aging program.
  • Protein powder in your smoothie will stabilize your blood sugar and energy levels, and aid your concentration abilities.
  • The pro-biotics in yogurt help insure optimal digestion as they break down your food in the large intestine
  • Flaxseeds are high in omega-3 oils, protein, and fiber. 3 Tablespoons of flaxseeds gives you 6 grams of dietary fiber! Fiber is great for anyone trying to lose weight as it stabilizes your blood sugar and keeps you feeling full much longer.
  • L-glutamine is the fuel of the enterocytes (cells that line our digestive tract), providing them with the food they eat ensures they are replenished on a regular basis. L-glutamine is especially helpful and healing for anyone with chronic digestive complaints.

Blueberries and Asthma

Asthma is an inflammatory condition that will improve by eating anti-inflammatory foods like blueberries.

Simply eat 1 cup of frozen blueberries daily
. Blueberries are very anti-inflammatory and great enjoyed as dessert or in my smoothie recipe!

Blueberries and Rheumatoid Arthritis

Try eating a cup of frozen blueberries a day to reduce inflammation. The proanthocyanins in blueberries naturally reduce inflammation. Reducing inflammation means reducing pain.

Try this:

Anti-inflammatory Smoothie: Eat 1 cup of frozen blueberries daily in “Dr. Nicole’s Smoothie Recipe” (be sure to include the L-glutamine to heal your gut and the flaxseeds for omega 3’s.)


This website is intended for educational purposes only. Read our full disclaimer. Always work with your physician for proper care and supervision. Never make any changes to your health care without first consulting with your physician. Have your physician check for drug interactions, and always be cautious when combining natural medicines and prescription drugs. Keep in mind that side effects or drug interactions still may occur when using high quantities of blueberries in the diet. If you are taking any medications, ask your doctor first if it is safe for you to be eating therapeutic quantities of blueberries.