My bones (Skelly) and I love the summer. Next week we’ll spend time with friends at the beach and get lots of bone-building sunshine. And we’ll eat plenty of brilliant fresh summer berries.
Even though berries are tiny, they pack a powerful punch when it comes to your bones. Their beautiful reds, blues, blacks, and purples tell you that they are full of natural antioxidants.
You know by now that your cells are constantly under attack from free radicals. These “oxidants” are waste products that result when your cells do their important work. But free radicals are also produced when you’re exposed to stress, sun, pollution, chemicals, alcohol, processed foods, and cigarette smoke.
Your body naturally produces a supply of antioxidants to neutralize these free radicals. But when your body can’t keep up, damage from free radicals builds up. It can break down healthy cells, and damage DNA, proteins, and fats. Eventually this damage can lead to poor immunity, increased aging, and chronic diseases like heart disease, cancer, and even osteoporosis.
To boost your body’s natural supply of antioxidants it’s important to eat antioxidant-rich foods like berries. Antioxidants from berries help absorb free radicals and knock them out of commission.
That can help protect bones from osteoporosis.
In one animal study, blueberry powder fed to rats helped prevent bone loss. The researchers believe that polyphenols – a type of antioxidant in berries – help slow the rate of bone turnover, saving the bone.
Research shows that berries protect bones from oxidative stress even in smokers who have a lot of free radical damage that leads to bone loss. In one study researchers worked with a group of post-menopausal smokers.
They divided the smokers into three groups. Every day, one group ate 45 grams (about ½ cup) of blueberries, and another group ate 45 grams of blackberries. The third group didn’t eat any berries.
After nine months, the smokers who ate no berries saw their bone mineral density drop significantly more than the smokers who ate the berries. In other words, the berries protected bone mineral density from free radical damage even in smokers.
Without enough vitamin C your body makes more osteoclasts, the cells that break down bone. At the same time it slows down the growth of osteoblasts, the cells that form new healthy bone.
That means that low vitamin C levels can lead to fractures. Studies show that older patients who break bones have significantly lower levels of vitamin C.
I love to add bone-loving berries to my smoothies, yogurt, and salads. And of course, they’re great all by themselves for a sweet treat.
But here’s the thing. Berries are very perishable. Have you ever purchased a pint of mouthwatering local raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, or blackberries to find them growing mold the next day? Total bummer!
Here’s a simple tip that works like a charm;
Give your berries a vinegar bath
The vinegar kills any mold spores and other bacteria that may linger on the surface of the berries.
Add the vinegar and water to a large bowl.
Place your berry beauties in the mixture and swirl them around gently.
Drain the berries thoroughly. You don’t even have to rinse them because the vinegar bath is so diluted that you can’t taste it.
Place your “bathed” berries in the fridge in a covered container.
Raspberries will last a week or more – really! Strawberries last almost two weeks without getting moldy and soft.
One last thing. Please buy organic berries. Strawberries in particular are heavily sprayed with pesticides and are listed on the Dirty Dozen List you can find here: Dirty Dozen.
Also try this thirst quenching summer beverage:
When it comes to choosing the right foods to optimize your bone health, what is the single biggest challenge, frustration or problem you’ve been struggling with?
Please let me know so I can write content that meets your needs.
Plus I have wonderful alkaline salad dressing waiting for you on the other side to thank you for your time 🙂.
From my bones to yours,