Let Your Food Be Your Medicine: Blackberries, Blackcurrants & Blueberries
Your Medicine As Food
We all know that the human body needs food and water to survive. The Indian leader Mahatma Gandhi famously survived 21 days of complete food starvation, sustained only by occasional sips of water during the civil disobedience campaign against the British in the 1940s.
David Blaine, the American illusionist on one of his public spectacles in 2003, performed in London, England; spent 44 days suspended in a clear perplex box over the river Thames without food or water
I cite the Blaine and Gandhi examples because there was some controversy at the time whether Blaine could really have survived as long as he did without an intake of water. It is well known that the human body can endure for about a week without water. According to Professor Randall K. Packer of Washington University, the limit is about one week. This is based on end of life observations, when food and water intake has been discontinued. Generally however, it is thought that you can survive for up to 100 hours without an intake of fluid in an average temperature out doors, a bit longer if the whether is cooler and less in a hot climate.
What exactly does water do for us? Well, our bodies consist at least 60% of water, it lubricates all our living cells and keeps them functioning well. Cellular water lubricates joints, regulates body temperature, and assists in waste elimination either through micturition or in faecal matter.
There are other indispensible functions that water carries out for the human body, I've mentioned four already the other seven are forming saliva, delivering oxygen around the body, it's involved in digestion, its a shock absorber between our brains and spinal columns, it also needed for manufacturing neurotransmitter and hormones by the brain.
Water and food then are the foundational bedrock that upholds a healthy life. They buffer the body against the onslaught of stresses and strain of an increasing polluted and toxic environment.
It is well known that the root ginger is an excellent remedy for nausea, and honey is an ancient tonic for soothing coughs and minor throat complaints, the spice saffron contains antioxidants that protect against age-related vision loss. My dear late mum always took some garlic everyday after she'd achieved three score and ten years because she'd say for its blood thinning properties that help in preventing or lowering the risk of strokes. She ended up having ten bonus years on life as a result.
A diet rich in tree nuts is supportive to male fertility and healthy heart, I could go on and on but this post is specifically about the three dark berries, blackberries, blackcurrants and blueberries.
Basket of Wild Blackberries
How To Make Blackberry Jam
Blackberries: Nutritional Facts and Benefits
Blackberries are high in antioxidants, with the phytonutrient anthocyannis being responsible for their deep purple colour. Anathocyannis are very beneficial their good for dealing with free radical damage in the body, a range of health conditions including hypertension, diabetes, cancer, vision loss, poor liver function and declining mental function.
These berries have detoxifying properties they also promote good gut health as they contain both insoluble and soluble fibre helpful to for the bowel regularity that removes toxins from the gut.
Your skin will also benefit from your intake of blackberries on a regular basis because they are a great source of the antioxidant ellagic acid, which helps to reduce skin damage from overexposure to the sun. It also prevents the breakdown of collagen to support firmer skin and preventing inflammation. It has also been shown to stop the growth of cancer cells in laboratory tests.
Salicylic acid, a compound with properties similar to aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid), contained in blackberries help to protect against heart disease and lower blood pressure.
To get the best from the blackberries you eat having the freshly picked is best. This is due to the rapid rate in which the nutrients deteriorate, so eating them at room temperature with a few days of purchase or picking. Don't throw away the leaves; they contain the natural antibiotic Tannin and Gallic acid. Brewed in a tea, blackberry leaves are a traditional remedy for acute diarrhoea, mouth ulcer and bleeding gums.
How to make Blackberry Vinegar
Blackberry vinegar adds a real lift to a salad dressing, marinades and stir-fries. To make blackberry vinegar do the following:
- Mix fresh blackberries in white wine or cider vinegar and store in a dark place for 3 weeks.
- After the mixture has stood for 21 days, strain the vinegar into a pan and add 450g (1lb) of castor sugar for every 600ml (1 pint) of water, and bring the mixture to a gently boil for about 5 minutes.
- Decant the lot into a sterilized container, tightly seal and use within a year.
How to Make Blackcurrant Cordial
Blackcurrants: Nutritional Facts and Benefits
Like blackberries, blackcurrants are also rich in anthocyannis. They also have useful levels of potassium and phosphorus, but a high in vitamin C. Many people find the fruit as too sour to eat fresh on their own, so they make cordial, syrups and jams.
The potassium in blackcurrants helps to maintain heart function, acts as a diuretic and blood pressure regulator. It also and antioxidant that helps prevent damage to blood vessel walls which leads to the hardening of the arteries also known as atherosclerosis.
The anthocyannis associated with blackcurrants act as brain food that help to protect the brain from the free radicals linked with dementia and Alzheimer. The antioxidants in the fruit have been shown to help with improving better night vision, relieving eyestrain and preventing cataracts.
Blackcurrants also have similar antibacterial properties to cranberries, regular consumption of it juice can help to fight and/or prevent urinary tract infections (UTIs). The high levels of vitamin C and the antioxidants make a good general tonic that helps to boost the immune system and helps to heal wounds quickly. Oil made from blackcurrant seeds will be rich in vitamin E and several unsaturated fatty acids like alpha-linoleic and gamma-linoleic acids. The regular consumption of these fatty acids is helpful to skin conditions like eczema and dermatitis.
Blueberries: Nutritional Facts and Benefits
Native North American nations have long valued the nutritional and medicinal properties of Blueberries. They seem to have had an intuitive knowledge of the antibacterial compounds they contain that fight off stomach bugs and antioxidant that prevent and improve damage to the eyes and memory. Blueberries are also good for male health in that they keep the prostate glands healthy due to their rich source of proanthocyannis compounds that fight cancer cells.
Blueberries belong to the 'dirty dozen' list of fruits that have been found to have the most pesticide residues, so its best to buy the organic kind to avoid chemical contamination. The dozen fruit and vegetables that should be bought in their organic form are: apples, strawberries, celery, peaches, bell peppers, grapes, nectarines, spinach, potatoes, lettuce, kale/collard.
Blueberries make great smoothies, add them to your breakfast cereal and eat them straight with yogurt. And you can preserve them by freezing. Blueberry leaf infusion or tea contains antibacterial and hypoglycaemic properties.