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February, 2010

Stop the Clock with Blueberries

By Cheryl Forberg

Eat your antioxidants. Eating foods high in antioxidants like vitamin C and vitamin E will help protect your body from head to toe
.

Blueberry
Different kinds of fruits and vegetables contain a tremendous variety of antioxidants and phytochemicals that work in concert to provide a variety of different health benefits, including slowing the aging process. Nutrition experts have barely scratched the surface of knowing what these food components do individually, let alone in teams. Blueberries alone contain more than 300 different plant chemicals. Berry up. Make berries a part of your breakfast and dessert routine. Blueberries contain compounds that promote better memory retention. They also have tons of fiber and more antioxidants than most fruits and vegetables. Stock up on fresh berries and freeze some too. When they’re out of season, reach for your frozen stash.

Although whole fruits are, in general, excellent sources of antiaging nutrients, pomegranates, blueberries, grapefruit, plums, and purple grapes stand out from the pack. Pomegranates are the most concentrated source of antioxidants from fruit. When fresh pomegranates aren’t in season, try the refrigerated juice, available year-round. Plums contain boron, a mineral thought to play a key role in the prevention of osteoporosis. Along with purple grapes, plums also contain phenolic compounds. These rich reserves of antioxidants are believed to reduce the incidence of heart disease by slowing the oxidation process and lowering LDL (bad) cholesterol. Blueberries contain compounds that not only prevent loss of age-related impairments of memory and motor coordination, but may actually help reverse the process. Berries contain anthocyanins, antioxidants with triple the power of vitamin C. These phytochemicals are known to block cancer-causing cell damage and the effects of many age-related diseases. Fresh or dried, plums, grapes, and berries are available year-round and offer a delicious way to slow the aging clock.

Easy Blueberry Jam

Easy Blueberry Jam
Now that you know the incredible benefits that blueberries provide, here’s another way to cook them. This is as great on whole grain toast as it is stirred into plain yogurt.

MAKES 12 SERVINGS (2 TABLESPOONS EACH) OR 1-1⁄2 CUPS

Ingredients:
3 cups fresh blueberries
1⁄3 cup agave nectar
2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1⁄4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 Tablespoon grated lemon peel
1⁄4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Instructions:
Place the blueberries in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until roughly chopped but not pureed. Transfer to a 2-quart saucepan. Add the agave nectar and lemon juice. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. When the mixture boils, reduce the heat to low. Simmer for about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the juices have reduced slightly and mixture has thickened. Remove from the heat and cool. Stir in the vanilla extract, lemon peel, and cinnamon. Keeps refrigerated for about 2 weeks.

BLUEBERRY FACTOID:
The rich, vibrant color of this berry is a beacon to the powerhouse that lies within. The plethora of antioxidants helps reduce the risk of diseases such as cancer, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s.

NUTRIENT ANALYSIS PER SERVING
34 calories, < 1 g protein, 9 g carbohydrates, 0 g total fat, 0 g saturated fat, 0 g monounsaturated fat, 0 mg omega-3s, < 1