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Blueberries: cancer-fighting flowers in disguise

Tue, Jun 30, 2009

Oral Cancer News

Author: Julie LeBlanc


I can’t say I’ve been one for gardening. Or just liking plants, in general, for that matter. I’m the person that killed two rose bushes within two weeks while living in the school dormitories last year.

It’s things like this that make you contemplate becoming a super-villain.

Even I was amazed to find out that blueberries are not, in fact, berries at all. They’re not even fruit. claims they are “epigynous fruits” which, aside from having a name that could tongue-tie Mr. Ed, means that they are actually flowers. Tiny, blue, delicious flowers that go fabulously with vanilla ice cream.

Instead of parts like the stamen and petals falling off when the bud is ready to ripen, these organs stay attached and actually form alongside the plant ovary to create these little “false fruits.” Other veggies in this genre of plants include cucumbers, melons, bananas and figs.

Sneaky little buggers.

“The health properties of blueberries” or “Why you need another reason to eat these for dessert”:

Containing only about 40 calories in ½ a cup, blueberries have ascended to the superfood pantheon which includes, among other things, açai berries, red wine and plums. Like their cancer-fighting counterparts, blueberries contain high levels of anthocyanins and antioxidants, two phytonutrients which amp up the body’s immune system and to detoxify harmful chemicals. Some species even contain reservatrol, another phytonutrient that aids in fighting cancer and Alzheimer’s.  Red grapes and red wines are well-known for containing high amounts of reservatrol.

The growing season for blueberries typically peaks between May and June. If you’ve got a farm in your area, look into picking some on your own. You’ll never buy berries from the supermarket again. Bring your significant other, or kid sister, or your Grandma Maybelline. It’s more fun to pick berries together and you can pass the time gorging on the occasional tempting berry or pelting each other with the green, unripe ones.

Not that I condone of that sort of thing, mind you.

What this means for you: claims that the average adult should take in roughly two cups of fresh fruits a day. If possible, said fruits should range the colour spectrum. Darker fruits in reds and blues contain more antioxidants and, thus, your diet should include them as often as possible. Yes; believe it or not, the universe has colour-coded your diet. Does it get any easier? Not really. Does it get more delicious? You bet your cookie dough it does.

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