Modern science is catching up with ancient wisdom. The expression “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food” has been attributed to Hippocrates, father of medicine, around 431 B.C. Hippocrates’ adage is aptly illustrated by a glance down a supermarket produce aisle with its colorful display of deep red strawberries, fiery orange carrots, bright green broccoli and brilliant blueberries. The vibrant hues found in plant pigments that create these distinct colors have aroused the interest of the scientific community as vast amounts of research uncovers the beneficial effects these “phytonutrients” have on preventing disease and maintaining health.
Antioxidants, phytonutrients, and polyphenols have become familiar buzzwords to the health-oriented, and certain fruits and vegetables have achieved “superfood” status due to their high content of these beneficial compounds. In the arena of produce with high antioxidant abilities, blueberries have topped the list. Blueberries are considered the gold standard due to their high levels of polyphenols, which are a subgroup of phytochemicals. Anthocyanins are a further subgroup of polyphenols and provide the pigments that color deep red and purple foods such as blueberries, acai, blackcurrant and red wine. Research has shown these polyphenols to protect against diabetes, cardiovascular disease, memory loss, inflammation and cancer. [Read more...]