Antioxidants & BerriesMost of us have heard about antioxidants, and we're told that we need them. Antioxidants neutralize harmful molecules called free radicals which can damage tissues in the body and lead to disease. Well, strawberries and most summer berries are chock-full of antioxidants and can prevent this kind of cellular damage. Strawberries also contain anti-carcinogens, a natural food chemical that reduces the occurrence of cancers. Like many members of the rose family, strawberries contain an enzyme called malic acid, known to gently cleanse and restore the liver.
Love your LiverToo much fun sipping summer cocktails over the weekend? Berries, and especially strawberries and blueberries, can help detox your liver and reduce a lingering hangover. Our liver is naturally more stressed out in the summertime, due to the increase in external temperature and therefore internal heat. Fortunately, the cooling qualities of berries can help. Their slightly sweet and slightly sour taste offer an ideal liver restorative, alterative and blood coolant. You'll notice the relaxing effect on the eyes, and better focus.
Blueberries (and berries in general) also protect the liver. A diet rich in berries reduces liver enzymes by as much as 23 percent (Source: European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2010). High liver enzymes are a sign of liver cell injury. Regular consumption of blueberries in particular also led to a reduction in liver size, indicating improved liver function (University of Michigan). Blueberries also reduce levels of inflammation in blood. Blue, red & purple berries are high in beta-carotene, which stimulates your liver.
Berry Gentle on the GIBerries are easy to digest. This means that it does not take very much energy for our body to process them and turn them into fuel. In the summertime, when your digestive fire is naturally low due to heat, berries become a digestible choice for many on a hot day when your appetite is absent. For those with digestive disorders, berries can often provide a rich source of nutrients with not too much effort on your GI tract and without irritating tissues.
The sourness of berries also indicate their GI benefits. Their sour taste means that that berries stimulate the appetite and moisten the entire gastrointestinal tract from mouth to final elimination. Next time you pucker while eating a handful of berries, notice how these invigorating little fruits strengthens your entire digestive system, even helping to dislodge stagnant and undigested food as it reduces feelings of heaviness. Strawberries in particular can also help soothe an irritated, inflamed stomach.
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SOURSour refers to anything fermented or acidic.
SWEETSweet refers to anything builds tissue, including macronutrients such as carbohydrates, proteins and fats.
ALKALIZINGAn herb or food that makes the urine more alkaline (higher pH). This herbal action can be helpful for a number of inflammatory conditions.
ALTERATIVELiterally, an herb that restores the proper function of the body. In practice, alteratives are usually blood cleansers and blood chemistry balancers. They were traditionally used to revitalize and detoxify after a long winter.
DETOXICANTAn herb that eliminates or metabolizes toxins from the body.
HEPATOPROTECTIVEAn herb that is capable of preventing liver damage.
LIVOTONICAn herb that strengthens the liver. It is helpful for people with a history of substance abuse, chronic liver issues from hepatitis and hemolytic anemias.
ANTIOXIDANTAn antioxidant is a molecule that inhibits oxidation. Oxidation is a chemical reaction that can produce free radicals that lead to a chain reaction causing damage or death to cells. Antioxidants terminate these oxidation reactions.
RED-BLOODRed blood (Rakta Dhatu) includes red blood cells and blood vessels.
About the AuthorJohn Immel, the founder of Joyful Belly, teaches people how to have a healthy diet and lifestyle with Ayurveda. His approach to Ayurveda exudes a certain ease, which many find enjoyable and insightful. John also directs Joyful Belly's School of Ayurveda , which specializes in digestive tract pathology & Ayurvedic nutrition. John and his wife Natalie recently published Explore Your Hunger: A Guide to Hunger, Appetite & Food.
John's interest in Ayurveda and digestive tract pathology was inspired by a complex digestive disorder acquired from years of international travel, including his public service work in South Asia. John's commitment to the detailed study of digestive disorders reflects his zeal to get down to the roots of the problem. His hope and belief in the capacity of each & every client to improve their quality of life is nothing short of a personal passion. John's creativity in the kitchen and delight in cooking for others comes from his family oriented upbringing. In addition to his certification in Ayurveda, John holds a bachelor's degree in mathematics from Harvard University.
John enjoys sharing Ayurveda within the context of his Catholic roots, and finds Ayurveda gives him an opportunity to participate in the healing mission of the Church. Jesus expressed God's love by feeding and healing the sick. That kindness is the fundamental ministry of Ayurveda as well.
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A little more information about when to eat berries would be helpful. I believe its an Ayurvedic principal not to eat fruit with other foods and not to snack between meals. Eating a handful of berries sounds like a between meal snack. Can you clarify? Personally, I never feel satisfied or full when I have only fruit as a meal.
Fruit should be eaten alone - an hour outside of meals. Fruit is considered the ideal snack in Ayurveda and is not meant to necessarily fill you up, but hold you over til your next meal.