As a professional health coach concerned with the health and well-being of my clients it is my intention to improve your well-being and longevity by using the principles of nutrition, fitness, diet, lifestyle dynamics, and anti-aging medicine.
Together you and I will work as a team to accomplish all of your health needs and to ensure that you practice prevention and live your life through the lens of quality.
Remember….your quality of life is the measurement of successful living regardless of your age.
Dr. Kevin. J. McLaughlin
Clinical Director: The Vitality Project
I refer to berries as nature’s miracle fruit because they contain a large concentration of specialized chemicals called flavonoids which naturally occur in our food supply. Flavonoids contain various pigments which can appear blue, red, purple or deep orange and these pigments are referred to as anthocyanins. Anthocyanins give fruit and vegetables their characteristic bright colour and are found in higher amounts within the pulp and inner skin surfaces.
Foods which contain higher amounts of anthocyanins includes, blueberries, raspberries, cranberries, blackberries, bilberry, grapes and grape skins, peaches, black currents and red cabbage. A great deal of interest has occurred over the last decade regarding these pigments because they have been studies quite extensively for their purported health benefits. Such is the case that these nutritional superstars have in the development of cardiovascular disease. The intake of the anthocyanins can decrease free-radical activity inside the artery wall and decrease the inflammatory response which can cause plaque development to begin or progress. Another interesting finding is that these fruit pigments can also increase the amounts of good LDL cholesterol in our arteries which can remove harmful fats from our artery walls.
The higher intakes of anthocyanins can also decrease blood pressure and artery stiffness by decreasing the level of inflammation inside your arteries. Over time, higher levels of inflammation within our arteries can actually change the structure of the artery wall causing loss of elasticity which can lead to high blood pressure. Anthocyanins have also been studies to determine their unique affects upon insulin sensitivity. The intakes of these chemicals from red wine and berries has been linked to a lower risk of developing type-2 diabetes because of its effect on improving the way our bodies use insulin to control our blood sugar. These chemicals improve our cells ability to recognize insulin once it is secreted following a meal.
The other exciting issue I wanted to discuss with you involves the affect that the ingestion of deep-coloured fruit has upon cancer occurrence. The anthocyanins contained within berries, are known to be potent free radical scavengers which can help prevent damage to our cells which can precipitate cancer growth. In addition to this finding, these pigments can also help decrease the pre-cancerous cellular damage smoking can inflict upon your lung tissue. There are also many studies which link the increased intakes of these chemicals with the development of many types of cancers so eating more berries may be one of the ways which you can help prevent cancer from developing.
To get the needed amounts of anthocyanins in your diet, try eating 1-2 servings of fresh or frozen berries daily. Always ensure that you eat the skins as well as the pulp because they contain the highest amounts of these super- healthy pigments.