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   Aug 19

Heart problems, eye strain, high blood pressure – whatever your ailments, it’s been a BERRY good year

Fresh berries or supplements can help with a number of health issues

The cold spring may be a distant memory but this year’s sluggish start could soon, quite literally, bear fruit. Our topsy-turvy weather means a flourishing crop of wild berries this autumn.

Although fruiting is expected later than usual, it will yield an abundance of health-boosting goodies, says the Woodland Trust.

‘Berries are a critical part of our diet, thanks to their high levels of Vitamin C, fibre and antioxidants,’ explains nutrition scientist Bridget Benelam of the British Nutrition Foundation, who says three heaped tablespoons or 80g provide one serving.

Blue bliss: Blueberries lowers the risk of a heart attack and improves blood flow

Some berries are especially good at fighting certain conditions. Here we gather the latest research to show which could be best for you (and suggest a supplement that gives the same benefit) .  .  .

GOOD FOR .  .  . protecting your heart
Eating three servings of blueberries a week can cut the risk of heart attack by a third, according to research from Harvard University and the University of East Anglia. The berries contain the super antioxidant dietary compounds called anthocyanins.

These may benefit the heart by improving blood flow and countering the build-up of plaque that can clog arteries and lead to a heart attack. Research also suggests blueberries can improve the health of the vascular system, helping to lower blood pressure. Those who had at least one serving of blueberries per week were ten per cent less likely to suffer hypertension.

Cram some crans: Power Health Cranberry Juice concentrate can help cure bladder infection

GOOD FOR .  .  . bladder health
It’s been much debated, but drinking cranberry juice really can cure bladder infections, according to research from McGill University in Montreal.
The study found that cranberry powder stopped colonisation by proteus mirabilis, a bacterium frequently linked to bladder infections.
Experts now say extracts from the fruit could even keep medical devices such as tubes and cannulas free of bacteria.

GOOD FOR .  .  . joints
An extract from raspberries could help to dampen inflammation in the joints. Scientists at the University of Rhode Island extracted various compounds, including polyphenols and anthocyanins, from raspberries.
In animal laboratory experiments they found those that had consumed 120mg of raspberry extract for 30 days typically showed less inflammation and cartilage damage, as well as slower breakdown of bone.

GOOD FOR .  .  . vision
The anthocyanins found in bilberries could help with vision problems. During the Second World War, British fighter pilots reported improved night-time vision after eating bilberry jam.
Bilberry has been suggested as a treatment for retinopathy (damage to the retina) because its anthocyanins appear to help protect the retina and may also help protect against macular degeneration, glaucoma, and cataracts.

Dark juices: Antioxidant blackberries have been found to improve balance, co-ordination and memory

GOOD FOR .  .  . memory
An animal study found blackberry extracts improved balance, co-ordination and memory – possibly because of the fruit’s antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
The fruit is also said to encourage communication between brain neurons, improving our ability to soak up new information, according to a 2009 Tufts University study.
They key ingredient is Omega-3 fatty acids, of which blackberries are an excellent vegetarian source. Blackberries are also high in iron for a soft fruit – one cup provides about five per cent of recommended daily intake.

GOOD FOR .  .  . lowering blood pressure
Researchers say lingonberries are rich in health-boosting chemicals flavonols and polyphenols, that lower blood pressure and make your heart healthier.
Scientists from the University of Helsinki in Finland fed rats with high blood pressure a diet of lingonberry juice for eight weeks. After the trial, blood pressure and heart rate among the rats had dropped significantly.

GOOD FOR .  .  . tackling sinusitis
Some evidence suggests that chemicals in elder flower and berries may help to reduce swelling in mucous membranes, such as the sinuses, and help relieve nasal congestion. One study suggested that using elderberry extract Sambucol could shorten flu by about three days. Recommended dose is four teaspoons a day.

Keep it currant: Improve your eyesight with blackcurrants
GOOD FOR .  .  . fighting eye strain
A Japanese study has found that a supplement of blackcurrant anthocyanins helped to alleviate eye fatigue caused by visual tasks at a computer screen.
Participants took the extract for 14 days. The same study also showed that anthocyanin supplementation helped support the eyes in adjusting to darkness.
Research by the Scottish Crop Research Institute has found the blackcurrant contains greater levels of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants than 20 other fruits tested, including blueberries.

GOOD FOR .  .  . dry mouth and mouth ulcers
Dry mouth affects up to 40 per cent of adults, and can be a side effect of medication. The sea buckthorn berry contains fatty acids Omega-3, 6, 7 and 9.
The Omega-7 fatty acids in sea buckthorn oil have been shown to enhance the regeneration of mucus.
Sea buckthorn oil was used for pain relief and treatment of mouth sores in victims of the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear accident.
Research has found that using the oil topically three to four times a day on mouth ulcers led to an improvement in healing and pain relief. It may help to maintain natural lubrication during the menopause, via its soothing action on mucous membranes

GOOD FOR .  .  . Combating heart failure
Hawthorn extract as a supplement taken for two months (900mg/day) was as effective as low doses of leading heart medication captropril in improving symptoms of heart failure, according to researchers at Maryland University in the United States. Hawthorn berries have also been shown to combat chest pain in angina sufferers and lower cholesterol.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2396201/Heart-problems-eye-strain-high-blood-pressure–Fresh-berries-supplements-help.html#ixzz2cN97EVgQ

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