There’s nothing quite like fresh blueberries with greek yoghurt and maple syrup – pretty and delicious. The benefits of blueberries are adding up – literally! Blueberries contain resveratrol, the same plant polyphenol found in red grape skins which gives red wine its good reputation for preventing cognitive decline and dementia. Resveratrol has been shown to slow down neuron damage and prevent the formation of amyloid plaques in brain tissue associated with the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.
New research is uncovering a similar neuroprotective mechanism of vitamin B12. It is no surprise that most micronutrients including B12 are commonly deficient in the elderly. B12 is only obtainable from animal foods and its absorption depends on adequate levels of a compound synthesised in the stomach called intrinsic factor. Declining digestive function and inadequate intake of B12 is linked to pernicious anaemia and cognitive decline. The problem is, with the mandatory addition of folic acid to staples like flour and breakfast cereals, the anaemia of B12 deficiency may be “masked” and the underlying deficiency undetected. Relatively low levels of vitamin B12 are required and it is stored in the liver for long periods. Deficiencies are therefore easy to address once discovered. If you are a long-term vegetarian (eggs, dairy and fish do contain small amounts of B12) or over 60 years of age, it may be a good idea to have your blood tested for vitamin B12 status. Once you have the all-clear you can get back to protecting your brain with the fun stuff: red wine, crosswords puzzles, regular massage to de-stress and blueberries of course!
Blueberries are in season now so we can enjoy the luxury of fresh local produce. No need to stop there though: frozen blueberries make excellent healthy mid-summer snacks straight from the freezer, or make frozen yoghurt treats with the kids by blending frozen berries with natural yoghurt and maple syrup. Pour into ice block moulds or an ice cream container and freeze – so much better than the sugar-laden store-bought variety.
Are you interested in learning more about healthy food and nutrition? I offer online nutritional assessment including a complete personal nutrient and energy balance analysis. Private health cover rebates are available for this service and all nutrition, naturopathic and homeopathic treatments. Let me help set you on the right path for a healthy and happy summer. To book, phone me on 0428 395 872 or click on the contact us page and send me an email.