The Disease-Fighting Power of Berries

Scientists now agree that one of the best ways to protect against the killer diseases of aging is to consume a diet rich in fruits and vegetables.

Yet even the scarce few who manage to consume the recommended five daily servings of fruits and vegetables may not be obtaining enough antioxidant protection to ward off cancer, cognitive decline, and cardiovascular disease. The reason is that it requires about ten daily servings of typically consumed fruits and vegetables to obtain the level of antioxidant protection recommended by USDA scientists.

Fortunately, berries and other richly colored plants possess supercharged antioxidant power, allowing you to dramatically boost your levels of antioxidant protection. By stoking up the body’s defenses against damaging free radicals, berries and other richly colored foods provide unprecedented protective effects.

Nature’s most colorful fruits and vegetables provide powerful antioxidant benefits. Below is a list of antioxidant-rich foods, as measured by oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC) value per 100 grams (about 3.5 ounces).

Acai Berry - This exotic South American fruit is a relatively new addition to the list of “functional foods.” Even at low doses, antioxidants from acai enter human cells and quench dangerous oxygen radicals. Studies using freeze-dried acai fruit pulp have shown it to have anti-inflammatory action—an important finding since inflammation underlies many chronic diseases of aging.

Goji Berry - Goji berries are rich in nutrients.Some studies using goji berry juice found possible benefits that included a feeling of well being and calmness, better athletic performance and quality of sleep, and weight loss. But those were preliminary studies that need to be repeated before drawing conclusions. All berries are good for you. It's not clear if goji berries are better than other types of berries, or if goji berry supplements have the same health benefits as the actual berries.

Mangosteen - Modern scientists and a growing number of health practitioners now agree on the medical benefits of Mangosteen. They have found that the fruit is helpful in preventing and possibly even stopping a wide range of diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, Alzheimer's disease, cancer and other chronic diseases.

Pomegranate - Heart disease is currently the world’s most common cause of premature death. It is a complicated disease, driven by many different factors. Punicic acid, the main fatty acid in pomegranate, may help protect against several steps in the heart disease process. Pomegranate juice has also been shown, in both animal and human studies, to protect the LDL cholesterol particles from oxidation, one of the key steps in the pathway towards heart disease.

Noni Fruit - Noni stimulates the production of nitric oxide. Nitric oxide is an extremely useful substance, one that is at the base of many of noni’s benefits. In this case, it reduces tumor growth and helps your body fight against the cancerous replication of cells. It also contains an immunomodulatory polysaccharide rich substance known as noni-ppt that further fights cancer. The immune boosting properties I mentioned in an above section are also a great help. One more thing that’s important are the amount of phytochemicals in noni that fight cancer. Phytochemicals are found in vegetables and herbs, if eaten regularly will build up preventive amounts. In the case of cancer already being present, noni and other plants with high amonts will slow, stop, or totally reverse the cancer process.

Cranberries - A fat-soluble antioxidant involved in immune function that may help prevent or delay the chronic diseases associated with free radicals. Cranberries also contain vitamin K, manganese and a large array of phytonutrients, naturally occurring plant chemicals that help to protect the body from harmful free radicals and offer anti-inflammatory and cancer-preventing properties.

Blueberries - Blueberries Reduce DNA Damage, Which May Help Protect Against Ageing and Cancer. Oxidative DNA damage is part of everyday life. It is said to occur tens of thousands of times per day, in every single cell in the body. DNA damage is part of the reason we grow older, and it also plays an important role in the development of diseases like cancer. Because blueberries are high in antioxidants, they can help neutralize some of the free radicals that cause damage to our DNA.

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