PROFESSOR’S HOUSE – Many people would not associate the world of high stakes poker with healthy eating, but for the big winner in the 2006 World Series of Poker, a nutritious snack made all the difference.
Jamie Gold gives part of the credit for his $12 million in winnings to blueberries, a fruit he refers to as “brain food.”
Long known only as an ingredient in muffins or pies, blueberries have, in the past few years, gained a new claim to fame.
It turns out these little blue fruits are nutritional powerhouses. Their numerous health benefits have earned them a place atop many nutritionists’ lists of must-eat foods.
Antioxidants in Blueberries
Since about 2004, the word has been out that blueberries have high levels of antioxidants.
Why is this important? The benefits of antioxidants are tied up in a complex chemical process in the body involving oxygen and free radicals, but the basic point is this: free radicals are bad and antioxidants neutralize their ill effects.
And make no mistake, if free radicals are left unchecked they can lead to serious disease.
Research is ongoing, but it is increasingly showing that antioxidants can combat certain cancers and neurodegenerative diseases, like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. And blueberries have been shown to contain the highest levels of antioxidants in any fruit.
So, what gives blueberries the edge over other fruit? Well, the fact that they’re blue, for one thing. Their rich purple-blue colour comes from the antioxidant anthocyanin, which is also the source of many of their health benefits.