The tiny food that packs huge anti-inflammatory benefits

Chronic inflammation is now widely recognized as one of the most destructive forces on your health. It’s been linked to cancer, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, reduced immune function, weight gain, arthritis, cognitive decline, and dozens of other conditions.

But one of the easiest (and most delicious) ways to reduce chronic inflammation is with blueberries.

Just one cup of blueberries provides:

  • About 4 grams of fiber
  • Vitamin C—about a quarter of your recommended daily intake (RDI)
  • Vitamin K—more than one-third of your RDI
  • Various other nutrients, including magnesium, potassium, and folate
  • Plenty of antioxidants
  • Plenty of anthocyanins

Of all those components, anthocyanins may be the least familiar, but they’re arguably the most important. Anthocyanins are flavonoid plant pigments that give blueberries their gorgeous color, along with potent anti-inflammatory properties.

As Dr. Marc Micozzi points out in his Inflammation Fighting Protocol, the anti-inflammatory power of blueberries are primarily responsible for these health benefits:

  • Immune system support
  • Cognitive health maintenance
  • Short-term memory enhancement
  • Prevention of atherosclerosis (plaque buildup in the arteries)
  • Blood pressure control
  • Weight-loss support
  • Reduced risk of gum disease

But as Dr. Micozzi notes, one of blueberry’s biggest anti-inflammatory benefits actually occurs in your digestive tract.

Reduced inflammation benefits start here…

Dr. Micozzi stresses that one of the keys of chronic inflammation control is a healthy gut microbiome—the vast community of beneficial bacteria that thrive in your digestive tract.

That’s why he was so intrigued by a new animal study in which researchers investigated the effects of blueberries on gut bacteria.

Researchers at the University of Georgia used rats to test a high fat diet against a high fat diet plus blueberry powder.

After eight weeks, researchers found significant improvements in the composition and diversity of healthy probiotic bacteria in the gut of the rats that consumed blueberry powder.

The other rats didn’t fare so well. As Dr. Micozzi notes, “Eating just a high-fat diet, on the other hand, shortened the length of intestinal villi, the small, finger-like projections that line the intestines, improving digestion and absorption. But adding blueberry restored the length!”

Most importantly, inflammatory biomarkers shot up in the rats eating only the high-fat diet, but that rise was prevented in the rats getting the high-fat diet and blueberry powder.

Cultivated blueberries are good—but wild are better

Dr. Micozzi’s takeaway from all this research: “Don’t skimp on blueberries!”

And he adds, “You can sprinkle them on your morning oatmeal, add them to salads, or just enjoy them one handful at a time.

“Just make sure to load up on organic blueberries, to avoid any trace of toxic pesticides. And wild blueberries are better than cultivated—they contain three times more phenolic acids, which have both anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.

“That means wild blueberries are three times better for your health.”

And just like those rats in the Georgia study, blueberry powder is also an excellent choice. Dr. Micozzi recommends adding the powdered form to smoothies, juice, or just plain water. In this form, or in a supplement, he recommends 400 mg of blueberry extract daily.

And to really power up an anti-inflammatory effect in your diet, include two more types of berries that Dr. Micozzi also highly recommends in his Inflammation Fighting Protocol.

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