I attended Syracuse University in Upstate New York, where there are lots of black bears.

It is a well-documented fact that in most parts of the northern hemisphere where bears have been studied, black bears spend extensive amounts of time eating just about anything they want to eat. During the summer, they eat a lot so that they can be as fat as possible. When winter arrives, they go to secluded places and sleep the winter away.

The behaviour of bears is the opposite of what humans are supposed to do. We are advised not to eat a lot and not to sleep or sit around for extended periods of time.

However, there is a certain component of the black bear’s eating habit that can be imitated because it is good for your health. They consume huge amounts of various types of berries that include but are not limited to blueberries, raspberries and strawberries. Yummy!

Yes, there are many other types of natural foods that are good and, honestly, some don’t taste that good. Berries, on the other hand, taste great largely due to their natural sugars. They are also amongst the most health friendly foods that one can eat.

Better still, berries are among the most health friendly foods that can be consumed, compared to many foods that taste great but are not good for health.

Compared to other foods, the details of the health benefits of berries have only been studied more seriously much later than other food types. Researchers have found the health benefits of berries to have massive potential for human beings. 

Tufts University Studies

Tufts University has conducted a number of interesting studies on the health benefits of berries. The results of one such study can be found on their website on an article entitled Pick Berries to Protect Your Aging Brain. Another related and equally interesting article from their website is entitled Blueberries Good for Your Blood Pressure and Brain.

On another study, researchers took a group of old rats whose age was the equivalent to person who is 70 years old. They fed them diets of different foods that included spinach, strawberries and blueberries.

Seeing that the food administered were high in beneficial antioxidants, the researchers were interested in see if any of these foods would improve the physical and mental capabilities of these old rats.

The researchers discovered that, while a number of the tested foods seemed to offer some antioxidant protection, the rats that had blueberries were the only ones whose abilities had improved. They were actually found to have performed like much younger rats! 

With this discovery, the scientists set to look for the component of the blueberries that contributed to this beneficial effect. They found out that the chemicals that caused these aging rats to act mentally younger and more lively were the pigments in the skin of the blueberries.

They also discovered that the compounds that give ripe berries their beautiful colors happen to have have strong anti-oxidant powers. Interestingly, antioxidants are compounds that help repair some of daily damage that takes place in our body cells. 

Berry Skin Pigmentation

Researchers have discovered that the darker the berry, the more health benefits it has! By their calculation, eating two thirds of a cup of blueberries will give you as much anti-oxidant protection as five servings of apples or squash!

Better still, the dark pigments in these berries seem to offer protection against cardiovascular disease, degenerative eye disease such as cataracts, and may be even helpful in preventing some cancers as well as bladder infections.

It is believed that if the exciting results of the rat studies turn out to also hold true for humans, it may mean that compounds in these dark berries may help protect brain cells from the degenerative diseases of aging.

The good news is that the state of the berries when consumed does not make that much of a difference. The beneficial antioxidant protection is the same regardless of whether the berries are consumed fresh, frozen or dried.

Berries can be eaten raw or be added to cereals. Smoothie drinks can be made with various berries, fruits, milk and yoghurt. We are encouraged to become creative and find ways to mix berries into our favorite recipes.

In a number of countries in both hemispheres, blueberries are available fresh or frozen throughout the year. Where fresh berries are not readily available, dried berries can also do the job as they are also filled with very concentrated levels of the beneficial antioxidants.

Where blueberries are not readily available, other fruits and berries that have very dark red or dark purple colors can come in handy.

Foods such as pomegranates, bilberries, cherries, black raspberries, saskatoons or serviceberries also have high levels of these beneficial dark pigments. These foods offer benefits similar to the benefits of blueberries.

So there you are. Include one of the desirable habits of the black bear into your regular diet and you will thank yourself as benefits pile up!


Categories of My Research Blogs

DIETS:
Superfoods
Keto Diets
Healthy Diets

IMMUNITY:
Immune System
Respiratory Health
Infections

External Reading

I have compiled the links below for more reading on research done on health benefits of berries. Some of it might be of an academic nature.

Recent Research on the Health Benefits of Blueberries and Their Anthocyanins
9 Amazing Health Benefits of Berries
Potential Health Benefits of Berries
Everything you need to know about blueberries
Berries and Health: A review of the evidence

Jeff Moji

Hi there. I'm Jeff Moji, an engineer, information technologist, and health enthusiast. I have set up this website to explore the best ways to keep fit and healthy as I grow older during this pandemic-prone time. Please keep in touch so we can exchange information and spur one another on.

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