Wild Blueberries the Secret to Staying Healthy Forever?
Are wild blueberries or, perhaps, their organically raised derivatives, the secret for maintaining optimal health and longevity? There is certainly a plethora of evidence leading to this premise. Regardless, what a most powerful natural medicine it is, those bluish-purple store-houses of vast treasures: wild, remote-source blueberries. These are the kinds of blueberries which grow wild in and near the forests. There can be no doubt about the powers of wild blueberries. Such berries are up to twice as powerful as the commercial types in antioxidant powers. Even so, organic blueberries are an excellent option to the wild types and do provide a potency which is significant for health improvement. They are all treasure-chests of nutritional and phytochemical powers with great powers in disease treatment as well as prevention.
Is it not the most incredible issue conceivable, which is that a food or plant substance so beautiful, so delicious and inviting, could despite its seeming softness and mildness be a dependable cure?
Nature goes through a highly refined, sophisticated process to produce them. Moreover, in what is a miracle of wild nature each blueberry is unique, just as is every fingerprint of human bodies.
To truly comprehend their versatility and practicality it is important to review wild blueberries in history. Let us begin with the aboriginal use of this wild food. Here is a glaring example. It is said that the berries “were used by the Chippewa in a medicine for ‘craziness’.” Bizarre as it seems this makes sense when it is carefully considered. The anthocyanins of this berry are well-known for their actions on brain tissue, let alone their significant activities for the revitalization of the visual apparatus. They are one of the most potent of all berries for modulating brain functions, and the aboriginal people determined this by personal experience.
They also used the berry to calm chronic cough. It is now believed that the tannin compounds act to soothe and relax the bronchial tree. Yet another was in intestinal disorders where it was found that raw blueberries helped halt diarrhea, normalizing bowel function.
Today, the potential uses for wild blueberries, as well as their organically raised cousins, are vast. Blueberries have great power for easing, even treating, major disease syndromes, including arthritis, cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and hypertension. They are also a potent therapy for visual disorders, particularly nearsightedness and macular degeneration. To a degree they are an effective prevention against cataract. Then, what disease process do blueberries not affect?
Regarding the aging process blueberries are decidedly anti-aging. As reported by Life Extension the components of wild blueberries act directly on the genetic mechanisms which help halt or reverse aging of the cells and organs. The genes upon which they act are responsible for producing key enzymes, notably superoxide dismutase and catalase, which are vastly important for interceding in the processes that result in aging and tissue degeneration. The consumption of wild/organically-raised blueberries cause a great increase in the synthesis of these enzymes, resulting in a reduction in the production of harmful disease-inducing free radicals.
Blueberries and their extracts seem to block the aging process in all cells but have particularly potent actions in the eyes and brain. New research has demonstrated that the regular consumption of blueberry-based products increases mental capacities, including memory, in the elderly and also helps prevent the loss of thinking capacity in the aging population.
It is rather incredible. Blueberries and their extracts have direct actions on the tissues of the body, doing all that people might hope to achieve for their preservation and for achieving optimal health. A variety of studies have demonstrated the capacity of to the almost inconceivable, which is to reverse lipid disturbances, such as high LDL and cholesterol, blood vessel degeneration, as seen in coronary artery disease, stiffness of the vessels, as seen in hypertension, weakness of the heart, poor oxygen delivery to the heart, insulin resistance, high blood sugar, digestive insufficiency, and cancerous degeneration.
Yet, perhaps, the most overriding discovery in regard to blueberry’s impressive powers relates to its anti-aging capacities. Using insect models for age prevention a number of studies have clearly demonstrated a life-extending capacity which cannot be explained merely by the anthocyanin, that is antioxidant, content. At least this is what the major studies are demonstrating. There seems to be a kind of magic in these berries, which simply defies any scientific explanation. In representative studies surely the antiaging actions are highly definitive, and while the researchers had expected such effects they had no idea that blueberries powers would be this astounding:
In some models of life-extension actions by blueberries the lifespan of the worm was extended by as much as 28%, which amounts to a potential life-extending capacity of humans of as much as 20%. In mice, too, blueberry phytochemicals increased longevity. When fed blueberry extracts, calorie restricted mice outlived all other mice tested, including mice who were restricted in food intake but who were not given the extracts.
How does this apply to humans? It means that a regular consumer of high-quality, chemical-free blueberries and/or high-grade blueberry extracts could live as much as 10 to 20 years longer than the expected or inherent lifespan. In other words, a person who might have died at 65 could live to be 75-plus or a person who might have died at 75 could live as long as 90 or even longer. A person with a genetic lifespan of 80 could through wild and organic blueberry therapy live to be 100. This is particularly plausible if the person includes with the blueberry intake the consumption of wild spice oils with potent anti-aging powers, including oils of wild oregano and rosemary as well as the wild spices themselves.
By all accounts a 10% increase in the lives of experimental insects in the case of the fruit fly, while a 28% increase in the C. elegans experimental worm, is no minor issue. Yet, it is not just in the animal/insect research model where these effects are confirmed. In humans an anti-aging and disease-reversing power is seen, including in relationship to the number one killer, heart disease:
Blueberries decrease cardiovascular risk factors in obese men and women with metabolic syndrome.
Among all fruits, berries have shown substantial cardio-protective benefits due to their high polyphenol content. However, investigation of their efficacy in improving features of metabolic syndrome and related cardiovascular risk factors in obesity is limited. We examined the effects of blueberry supplementation on features of metabolic syndrome, lipid peroxidation, and inflammation in obese men and women. Forty-eight participants with metabolic syndrome…consumed freeze-dried blueberry beverage (50 g freeze-dried blueberries, approximately 350 g fresh blueberries) or equivalent amounts of fluids (controls, 960 mL water) daily for 8 wk in a randomized controlled trial…The decreases in systolic and diastolic blood pressures were greater in the blueberry-supplemented group… than in controls… Our study shows blueberries may improve selected features of metabolic syndrome and related cardiovascular risk factors at dietary achievable doses.
J Nutr. 2010 Sep;140(9):1582-7
Blueberries are also good for the blood and, particularly, the blood cells. It has been determined that the food complex can increase bone marrow activity to an incredible degree, by some 70%. This makes it an ideal adjunct for the treatment of anemia as well as hyper-active bone disorders such as leukemia and lymphoma.
Then, once again, who wouldn’t benefit from increasing the intake of wild blueberries and/or taking wild or organic blueberry extracts or concentrates? Every effort should be made to consume healthy, clean blueberry sources on a regular basis. This includes the actual organic or wild berries themselves, their extracts, and concentrates. Wild, steamed remote-source blueberry extract is one such highly potent concentrate, as are wild and organic blueberry powders, ideal for adding into smoothies and shakes. Wild oregano and cinnamon potentiate the powers of blueberries, greatly increasing its antioxidative powers. The oils of these spices are found in the steam-extracted beverage and the raw blueberry drops. Known as Bluebenol, this wild extract is made in small batches from remote-sourced, wild blueberries (apparently, this extract is now sold out and is seasonally produced). The key to this supplement is that it is the only raw, wild blueberry extract available and that it is made fresh as soon as the wild berries are picked. The same is true of the steam extract, which is produced just after the berries are wild-harvested.
There is great preventive power in wild blueberries, along with the organic types. Commercial blueberries are tainted with herbicides and pesticides and, therefore, must be avoided. It is likely that with the regular consumption of these berries and their concentrates and/or extracts, life expectancy and overall health will be impacted in a most significant, determinable way.
Wild Blueberry Zucchini & Yellow Squash Bread
(Adapted from a recipe by Lindsay L.)
1 cup grated organic zucchini squash (grated with excess water wrong out)
1/2 cup grated organic crooked neck yellow squash (must be organic, since non-organic is GMO) – grated with excess water wrong out
1 organic or free range egg
1/2 cup plain organic or grass-fed yogurt, full fat
1/4 cup butter, melted and cooled slightly
1/3 cup natural honey
1 tsp. or slightly more cinnamon powder
1/2 tsp. baking powder plus 1/2 tsp. baking soda
a bit of freshly ground vanilla pod
3/4 or slightly more wild blueberries (use organic, if unavailable)
1 1/4 cup brown rice flour or mixture brown rice plus gluten-free oat flour
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
- In a large bowl, combine zucchini, yellow squash, egg, yogurt, butter, cinnamon, and honey: mix well.
- Add dry ingredients (except 1 T. flour) and mix until just combined.
- Toss frozen Wild Blueberries in remaining tablespoon of flour, then add to batter and stir lightly until just combined.
- Pour into a greased loaf pan (or two smaller loaf pans) and bake for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Aires DJ, Rockwell G, Wang T, et al. 2012. Potentiation of dietary restriction-induced life span extension by polyphenols. Biochim Biophys Acta. 1822(4):522-6.
Wilson MA, et al. 2006. Blueberry polyphenols increase life span and thermotolerance in Caenorhabditis elegans. Aging Cell. 5: 59-68.