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You want a candidate for the healthiest food in the world? Consider berries—all types of berries.

They’re super-rich in vitamins and minerals. They provide plenty of potassium, magnesium, Vitamin C, and Vitamin K. The compounds credited with many of their health-promoting benefits are called anthocyanins. There are actually hundreds of individual forms of anthocyanins in berries that have been identified, in both the flesh (especially in red berry fruits) and the skin of berries. These also provide the berries with their deep colors, designed by nature to attract us to eat them. Anthocyanins, along with other compounds in berries such as ellagic acid and resveratrol, are powerful anti-oxidants, helping to prevent cancers and to slow down aging. Only pomegranates rival berries in anti-oxidant activity. 1

Are berries good for your heart? I’m glad you asked. In one study 2 of over 93,000 young women studied over 18 years, those who ate considerably more berries lowered their heart attack risk by more than one-third. A twelve-year Finnish study 3 of almost 2,000 middle-aged men demonstrated that men eating the most berries had significantly reduced heart disease risk. In the sixteen-year Iowa Women’s Health Study of over 34,000 post-menopausal women, a significant reduction in coronary disease CVD mortality was associated with increased strawberry intake. 4 One could go on and on, but it shouldn’t be surprising that an antioxidant-rich food helps prevent oxidative stress to the arteries and the heart, and helps prevent the oxidation of cholesterol.

Okay, berries are delicious and good for your heart, but how about your brain? These sweet

little powerhouses got you covered there, too. One study noted that “phytochemicals in berry fruits (e.g., anthocyanin and caffeic acid) have a beneficial role in brain aging and neurodegenerative disorders because of their anti-oxidative, anti-inflammatory, anti-viral and anti-proliferative properties.” 5 A study of dozens of middle-aged individuals starting to experience cognitive decline found that “blueberry supplementation has neurocognitive benefit in middle-aged individuals with insulin resistance and elevated risk for future dementia.” 6 A 20-year Harvard study of women north of seventy years old for that eating blueberries and strawberries a few times a week delayed cognitive aging significantly. 7

But can berries improve your blood pressure? Yes—apparently, blueberries rank as the top berry on that score. If you’re a regular reader of the journal Hypertension, you may recall the 2021 article that demonstrated that eating 1.5 cups of blueberries a day was enough to reduce systolic blood pressure by 4.1 mg Hg, nearly equivalent to a reduction in heart attack or stroke risk of 10%. 8

Surely berries can’t also protect your vision? Wrong! Yes, they can. Would you believe that a

mere ounce of goji berries five times per week enhanced the density of protective pigments in the eyes, protecting against macular degeneration. 9

Berries also protect against insulin resistance and diabetes. 10 They also help reduce inflammation and lower cholesterol levels. The ellagic acid in berries may be beneficial to your skin.

Now for the challenge. For those who believe that humans are natural omnivores, who believe that somehow flesh foods and dairy promote human health (in spite of a lack of scientific evidence of same), please name a single animal food that has anti-cancer properties, improves blood pressure, protects your heart, sustains your vision, protects against diabetes, improves cognitive function, and provides fiber and prebiotics.

Okay, maybe the fiber and prebiotic part was a little unfair, since no animal foods provide

either. But can you name an animal food that can protect against all the aforementioned diseases and improve your health in so many ways? Or even half as many ways? Does roast beef improve your blood pressure? It does not. Have sausages been found to protect your vision? Negative. Are eggs good for your heart? Au contraire. Does dairy have anti-cancer properties? No, but there’s a world deal of evidence that it promotes cancer. Does fried chicken do anything to reduce inflammation? I think not.

You would think that, if there was a case for eating animal foods, there would be at least one

animal food that could rival berries for its health benefits.

Is there even any single animal food that is as beautiful, as endowed by nature with color to

attract us to eat it? Well, there I suppose the advocates for an omnivorous diet can make the case for salmon, which can be a lovely pink. Unfortunately, farmed salmon is actually grey, but the fish farmers add a coloring dye to their feed.

Still, nice try, omnivores.



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