Victoria Hall

Why Blueberries Are The Ultimate Super Fruit

Blueberries

Blueberries have been touted as a super fruit for years thanks to their antioxidant powers. Plenty of studies have cemented their position as the top fruit with research revealing that blueberries can help combat oxidative stress, which is known to exacerbate the natural ageing process and increase the risk of age-related diseases.

Recently, the University of East Anglia discovered that eating a cup of blueberries, or 150g, every day can reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular disease by up to 15% in people who are already of high risk. It’s thought that blueberries are particularly good at reducing the risk of heart disease because they are rich in anthocyanins, which are flavonoids responsible for the red and blue colour in fruits. Anthocyanins are known to help fight free radical damage, ease inflammation and lower cholesterol.

An older study by the American Chemical Society in 2016 concluded that blueberries could help slow down the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. The small study took almost 50 adults aged 68 and older, who were at risk for Alzheimer’s and gave them either freeze-dried blueberry powder (the equivalent of a cup of fresh berries) or a placebo powder every day for 16 weeks.

“There was improvement in cognitive performance and brain function in those who had the blueberry powder compared with those who took the placebo,” said lead researcher Robert Krikorian, Ph.D. “The blueberry group demonstrated improved memory and improved access to words and concepts.”

That’s not the only study to reveal the brain-boosting powers of blueberries. Just one year later the University of Exeter found that drinking concentrated blueberry juice can improve your cognitive functions. Researchers focused on healthy people aged between 65 and 77 years and found that their memory improved.

“In this study we have shown that with just 12 weeks of consuming 30ml of concentrated blueberry juice every day, brain blood flow, brain activation and some aspects of working memory were improved in this group of healthy older adults,” said Dr Joanna Bowtell, head of Sport and Health Sciences at the University of Exeter.

It’s thought that up-and-coming clinical trials will highlight that blueberries can help improve your arterial blood flow too. “We know that blueberries are mini nutritional powerhouses providing vitamin C, calcium, potassium, magnesium, folate and manganese, as well as anthocyanins and a diverse range of polyphenolic compounds such as quercetin, so it makes good sense to eat them regularly as we age, “ says Dr Emma Derbyshire, Public Health Nutritionist. With British blueberry season in full swing there is no better time than now to fill your boots.

When September comes and blueberries go out of season there is New Nordic Blueberry Tablets, which offers a high content of bio-activeanthocyanins. If you want to protect from inflammation all year round, Shabir regularly recommends incorporating 15ml of Fulvic Acid Elixir by Ful.Vic.Health into your daily routine. Fulvic acid is another incredibly powerful antioxidant that not only nourishes your body, but also improves its ability to absorb nutrients. For more information, read Shabir’s paper: Fulvic Acid: The Elixir Of Life

Mankai Duckweed: The Next Superfood?

Mankai Duckweed

A few years back the latest superfood had the ability to cannibalise our lives. Remember a few years back when kale was enjoying its moment and popped up at juice bars as the way to start your morning, or when it was deep-fried and disguised as chips or even when beauty brands added it to your face cream? While most of us are more attuned to the benefits and limitations of so-called superfoods these days, celery farmers are definitely doing higher than average trade this year after celery juice was dubbed the latest health trend for 2019. 

While kale, blueberries and celery are well known and relatively easy to get hold of, it’s unlikely that you’ve heard of the newest superfood: mankai duckweed. It’s not the most elegant of names, but according to Israeli researchers it has impressive benefits.

So, what is mankai duckweed? Mankai is a protein-rich, aquatic plant strain of duckweed, which has been served up on dinner tables in Southeast Asia for centuries where it is commonly known as the ‘vegetable meatball’. Duckweed has the same protein profile as eggs and contains the nine essential amino acids. The mankai strain is particularly rich in iron, zinc, vitamin A, vitamin B complex and vitamin B12.

The small study by Ben Gurion University of the Negev, compared the benefits of slurping on a mankai duckweed shake to a yoghurt shake and found that the former helps to lower your glucose levels. Previous research published in Clinical Nutrition found that mankai duckweed has the same amount of high quality protein as soft cheese and peas and pinpointed the plant as a unique source of vitamin B12. 

Perhaps what gives mankai the edge over kale and celery is that it is virtually tasteless and odourless,so you can reap the rewards and it is pretty much undetectable. And, it’s relatively sustainable as you only need a small amount of mankai duckweed compared to soy, kale and spinach, and it can be grown year round.

It’s not surprising that the cafeteria at Harvard University is already serving up mankai shakes. Until the superfood comes to your local juice bar, you could add a spoonful of Aduna’s Moringa Green Superleaf Powder to your morning coffee or smoothie. If you’d rather slather a superfood onto your skin, it’s worth exploring PHB Ethical Beauty’s dedicated Superfood range, which includes some of the buzziest ingredients in the dreamiest textures, including the cult hero, Superfood Brightening Serum.

Can You Prevent Insect Bites With Your Diet?

Insect Repellent

It starts with a slight tingle, develops into an itch and by the time you wake up in the morning it’s a sore, red lump that you scratch without even thinking. Insect bites are one of the less glamorous side effects of the warmer weather. Google how to prevent insect bites and you’ll find mists, balms and creams, as well as several suggestions of what to eat to avoid being eaten alive. But, can what you eat or not eat really put mosquitoes off?  Read More…

What Is Niksen And Will It Help Your Stress Levels?

niksen

Stress is a mammoth health and wellness topic. We are all told on what feels like a daily basis that we haven’t struck the work-life balance and our stress levels are dangerously high. Yoga studios are popping up left, right and centre and there are enough mindfulness apps available to keep you  busy for five days straight – if you had the time. Interestingly, research by the University College London and the University of Bath recently questioned the success of such apps when a small study found that playing Block! Hexa Puzzle game left participants feeling less stressed and more energised than HeadSpace. Read More…

Summer Sadness Is More Common Than You Think

Summer Sadness

We might be in the throes of one of the hottest, sunniest summers in history, but new research suggests that millions of Brits are unknowingly suffering with anxiety and depression. While we should be reaping the rewards of surplus serotonin (happy hormone) levels, according to a survey carried out by treatment clinic Smart TMS, 33% of us feel less confident than we used to and over 20% of us are sleeping more than we need to. 

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) might be something you usually associate with the cold, dark months of winter, but summer SAD is more common than you think. Read More…