Blueberries Help Reduce the Risk of Type 2 Diabetes

From a recent post in the New York Times…

September 4, 2013, 12:51 pm

Some Fruits Are Better Than Others

By NICHOLAS BAKALAR

Eating fruits is good for you, but new research suggests that some fruits may be better than others, and that fruit juice is not a good substitute.

Recent studies have found that eating a greater variety, but not a greater quantity, of fruit significantly reduces the risk for Type 2 diabetes. This made researchers wonder whether some fruits might have a stronger effect than others.

Using data from three large health studies, they tracked diet and disease prospectively over a 12-year period in more than 185,000 people, of whom 12,198 developed Type 2 diabetes. The analysis appears online in BMJ.

After controlling for many health and behavioral factors, researchers found that some fruits — strawberries, oranges, peaches, plums and apricots — had no significant effect on the risk for Type 2 diabetes. But eating grapes, apples and grapefruit all significantly reduced the risk. The big winner: blueberries. Eating one to three servings a month decreased the risk by about 11 percent, and having five servings a week reduced it by 26 percent.

Substituting fruit juice for whole fruits significantly increased the risk for disease.

“Increasing whole fruit consumption, especially blueberries, apples and grapes, is important,” said Dr. Qi Sun, an assistant professor of medicine at Harvard and the senior author of the study.

The 11 Best Foods You Aren’t Eating

From the NY Times:

The 11 Best Foods You Aren’t Eating by TARA PARKER-POPE

Maybe you should be eating more beets, left, or chopped cabbage.Nutritionist and author Jonny Bowden has created several lists of healthful foods people should be eating but aren’t. But some of his favorites, like purslane, guava and goji berries, aren’t always available at regular grocery stores. I asked Dr. Bowden, author of The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth, to update his list with some favorite foods that are easy to find but don t always find their way into our shopping carts. Here’s his advice.

  1. Beets: Think of beets as red spinach, Dr. Bowden said, because they are a rich source of folate as well as natural red pigments that may be cancer fighters.
    How to eat: Fresh, raw and grated to make a salad. Heating decreases the antioxidant power.
  2. Cabbage: Loaded with nutrients like sulforaphane, a chemical said to boost cancer-fighting enzymes.
    How to eat: Asian-style slaw or as a crunchy topping on burgers and sandwiches.
  3. Swiss chard: A leafy green vegetable packed with carotenoids that protect aging eyes.
    How to eat it: Chop and saute in olive oil.
  4. Cinnamon: May help control blood sugar and cholesterol.
    How to eat it: Sprinkle on coffee or oatmeal.
  5. Pomegranate juice: Appears to lower blood pressure and loaded with antioxidants.
    How to eat: Just drink it.
  6. Dried plums: Okay, so they are really prunes, but they are packed with antioxidants.
    How to eat: Wrapped in prosciutto and baked.
  7. Pumpkin seeds: The most nutritious part of the pumpkin and packed with magnesium; high levels of the mineral are associated with lower risk for early death.
    How to eat: Roasted as a snack, or sprinkled on salad.
  8. Sardines: Dr. Bowden calls them “health food in a can.” They are high in omega-3′s, contain virtually no mercury and are loaded with calcium. They also contain iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, copper and manganese as well as a full complement of B vitamins. How to eat: Choose sardines packed in olive or sardine oil. Eat plain, mixed with salad, on toast, or mashed with dijon mustard and onions as a spread.
  9. Turmeric: The “superstar of spices,” it may have anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties.
    How to eat: Mix with scrambled eggs or in any vegetable dish.
  10. Frozen blueberries: Even though freezing can degrade some of the nutrients in fruits and vegetables, frozen blueberries are available year-round and don’t spoil; associated with better memory in animal studies.
    How to eat: Blended with yogurt or chocolate soy milk and sprinkled with crushed almonds.
  11. Canned pumpkin: A low-calorie vegetable that is high in fiber and immune-stimulating vitamin A; fills you up on very few calories.
    How to eat: Mix with a little butter, cinnamon and nutmeg.

You can find more details and recipes on the Men’s Health Web site, which published the original version of the list last year. In my own house, I only have two of these items: pumpkin seeds, which I often roast and put on salads, and frozen blueberries, which I mix with milk, yogurt and other fruits for morning smoothies. How about you? Have any of these foods found their way into your shopping cart?

Blueberry Yogurt Parfait Recipe

We’d like to share this delicious Blueberry Yogurt Parfait recipe with you.

Blueberry Yogurt Parfait

parfait

This beautiful parfait tastes so much richer than it is. You can serve it for breakfast or for dessert. Look for organic yogurt that has no thickeners or gums added to it.

2 cups blueberries 1/4 cup sugar 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice 1/2 teaspoon balsamic vinegar 2 cups drained low-fat yogurt or low-fat Greek style yogurt 1 tablespoon shelled pistachios, finely chopped

1. Combine the blueberries, sugar, lime juice and balsamic vinegar in a medium saucepan, and bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook for five to 10 minutes, until the liquid is reduced and the blueberries have cooked down to a jam-like consistency. Allow to cool. You should have about 1 cup of thick, jammy sauce.

2. Spoon 1/4 cup thick yogurt into the bottom of each of 4 tumblers or parfait glasses. Top with 2 tablespoons of the blueberry sauce. Make another 1/4 cup layer of yogurt on top of the blueberry sauce, and finish with another 2 tablespoon-layer of blueberry sauce. Cover tightly and chill for at least 1 hour. Just before serving, sprinkle finely chopped pistachios over the top.

Yield: Serves four.

Advance preparation: The assembled parfaits will hold in the refrigerator for a day. Sprinkle on the pistachios just before serving.