Have yourself a “Berry Christmas”!

Berry-ing the myth of superfoods”  screams the headline from the health section of the paper I am reading on a train to Stanstead airport. And scream is exactly what I feel like doing after reading it! Another one “The great Detox Deception” leaps out from the health section of another tabloid here in the UK. I have seen now a number of articles over here in the UK, but also back in Australia which seem to be trying to put people off healthy eating. The whole tone of these articles is one of synicism, stating that berries are no better than other snacks, and that the label superfood gives people false expectations of benefits that can be obtained by consuming them.

This particular article quotes a nutritionalist as saying that liver would be a much better choice than eating berries to get your quota of vitamins and minerals – the liver being the organ which filters out all the toxins from an animals body…yum!

The Detox article quotes a ‘leading British expert’ (no name given) as saying “at best a detox is pointless, at worst, dangerous” it then goes on to mention extreme cases where people have become ill. I have to ask though, how can limiting the amount of toxins (which we know to causes illness and disease), we allow into our body, be pointless?

This really does annoy me because I spend my time trying to get people to eat healthily, to exercise, to improve their wellness. We in Australia (and the western world in general) have a massive problem with obesity and its co-morbidities such as diabetes, stroke, heart disease & high blood pressure – this costs our government millions of dollars in healthcare and is physically devastating for our population. People may read these type of articles and feel it’s an excuse to NOT eat healthily and make poor diet decisions.

What we need is HONEST articles, to give a well balanced view of such topics. Be wary of articles giving extreme, biased opinions. THINK about what they’re saying, LISTEN to your intuition – we have it for a reason.

This goes both ways – YES some marketers do embelish the benefits of their products and some are indeed dodgy (lemon detox anyone?). However these are often easy to spot.

s What has happened in the last 50 or so years?  has our diet improved? – no, its got worse, with fast food, preservatives, additives and pesticides being added to everything. Has the obesity problem got worse, yes, has the incidence of co-morbidities increased, yes. This is NOT coincidence!

The body does have an amazing organ called the liver that does a great job of eliminating toxins everyday from our bodies. However, nowadays we are bombarded with chemicals all the time, from the food we eat, the water we drink and the air we breath, which the body was not designed to deal with. The body uses fruit and vegetables to detox itself naturally, for example fibre cleanses the digestive system.

FACT – berries are high in fibre. The body is damaged by free radicals from toxins, but they are reduced by anti-oxidants, which we get from…berries.

My challenge would be to spend a couple of weeks not eating fruit and veggies, but fast food – processed and full of sugar – then spend the next couple of weeks adding colourful fruits (like berries) and vegetables (like beetroot or carrots), & reduce the chemicals (including coffee, alcohol, dairy, processed food) and see how you feel. I always say to my clients listen to your body – it tells you when something is wrong. Nature helps us by providing the best foods for a healthy life, it even gives them beautiful colours! This is natures way of saying something is good for us. For instance anything that stains your hands (e.g beetroot or blueberries), is good for you.

I want to finish by going back to berries, how do we know how good they are? -well, we need to look at their ORAC value – thats

Oxygen Radical Absorption Capacity’. This is a measurement of the anti-oxidant value of your fruit & vegetables. The higher the number the more anti-oxidant activity there is, for example blueberries (top end of the scale) comes in at about 6000.

Rick Hay, International Nutrition Expert says “berries are truly one of nature’s ‘superfoods’ and should be an integral part of everyone’s diet, the coloured pigments of the various berries provide the body with many immune boosting phytonutrients and the fibre content helps keep the digestive system in balance thereby helping the body to naturally detoxify” 

How can you add them into your diet? It’s easy, they can be fresh, frozen or dried, then they can be put on your morning cereal, in your yoghurt, salads or smoothies – or better still your daily ISOWHEY!  Even more reason to add them to your daily ISW shake is the fact that berries are ‘catabolic’ so they will assist to help you burn fat more efficiently. Here’s some of my favourites…

  • Blueberries – these have the highest ORAC score but they also have an anti-inflamoratory effect & are a great ‘brain’ food.
  • Blackberries – are high in vitamin C & E, plus Ellagic acid, (which research suggests may have cancer -protective properties), potassium & folate,  these come a close second in the ORAC value stakes.
  • Strawberries – have great amounts of Vitamin C (more than oranges), potassium & are good for heart health (plus a fab IsoWhey flavour!)
  • Raspberries – these have the most fibrei n addition to Vit C, manganese and other vital nutrients

Then of course we have the Goji and Acai berries from the Amazon – these are the ones ‘highjacked’ by the marketers, and although this may be true, if it gets people eating these rather than your high street burger or the slice of cheesecake… so what. I say, mix them up, get the best of all of them, but get into the habit of adding berries to your daily diet, they look good and taste great!..or of course you could just eat liver instead!

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