Myth Busting Berries

Posted by Nutrition Strategy on Dec 20, 2018 10:00:00 AM
Nutrition Strategy

 

 

Hi, my name is Jen Bruning and I am a Registered Dietitian with Guckenheimer.  Welcome to Food Myths Exposed where Guckenheimer’s dietitians deconstruct facts and debunk myths surrounding food, nutrition and health.

Today's topic: Berries on the Brain! Can eating more berries stave off diseases like dementia?  Let's unpack it!

Berries possess myriad health-enhancing qualities.  Chock-full of antioxidants and fiber, including berries in your diet could lower your risk of heart disease and several types of cancer. 

But there's something else.  Berries are rumored to decrease the likelihood of developing dementia- a debilitating neurological disorder afflicting 5.7 Million Americans.  Could this be true?  Could a tiny fruit hold huge potential for improving the lives of people as they age? 

Taking a peek at the evidence, we see some promising results.  Studies have shown that when people drink berry juice over a period of weeks, their recall improves. 

What's even juicier is that eating berries like blueberries, blackberries, raspberries and strawberries has been linked to delays and even improvements in dementia symptoms.

But why is this the case?  It turns out that those same cancer-fighting anti-oxidants we mentioned earlier may ALSO be responsible for boosting our brainpower.  Dark red, blue, and purple berries contain a class of substances called Anthocyanins.  Long touted as cancer-battling antioxidants, these Anthocyanins may also be hard at work protecting your brain cells.

We think it happens this way: in addition to their ability to fight free radicals in the brain, anthocyanins may also affect brain signaling.  This could lead to enhancements in cognitive function.  Pretty amazing, right?

But in order to take advantage of all the health benefits bursting from berries, we have to eat them!  While they're delicious in their fresh form, there are other ways to enjoy berries every day.

If your brain went straight to smoothies, you're not alone!  Many people drink their daily dose of berries in a convenient breakfast or snack smoothie.  Other easy eats include: smashing fresh berries onto whole grain toast with nut butter, adding berries to baked goods, and making a sauce for roasted meats.

Did I just say…meats?  Yes, I did!  Berries cook down into a perfect accompaniment for roasted meats and fish.  It's easy- take a look!

I take 1 cup of blackberries from the freezer and let them thaw. Once their juices have been released, I add them to a small saucepan with some fresh thyme, a drizzle of honey, some salt & pepper, and a splash of red wine.  I put this over medium heat until it starts to simmer.  Turn the heat down a bit so it doesn't burn, then let the sauce simmer gently for about 5 minutes.  Turn off the heat, then Pull out the thyme sprig, and mash the blackberries gently to break them up. Taste the sauce (carefully! It's hot!) and if you like, add a bit of lemon juice to brighten up the flavors, stir in about 1 tablespoon of good olive oil, and serve with meats like beef, pork, salmon, or wild game.

And there you have it!  Adding berries to your basket may boost your brainpower.  And they’re delicious to boot!  Thanks for watching.  Check out our other videos on Vimeo, and follow us on Instagram at Nutrition_at_guckenheimer.  And feel free to message us at: nutritionstrategy@guckenheimer.com.

Topics: Nutrition (Food), Health & Human Performance (Holistic), Food Myths, Health and Human Performance, Nutrition, Nutrition Strategy, Registered Dietitian, brain, berries