Updated: Oct 3, 2019
When it comes to detoxing your body from harmful toxic build up, whole foods really are the perfect medicine and way to go. One of my favourite foods to detox with are fresh, organic berries. Blackberries, blueberries, strawberries or raspberries can help to improve your body's blood sugar and insulin response especially if you eat them with high-carb foods or included in smoothies. Interestingly, berries can also help to detox your brain!
That's right. The human brain has the natural capacity to detox itself whereby certain cells (microglia) remove and detoxify toxic proteins that can interfere with brain function.
Dr Shibu Proulose, PhD of the US Department of Agriculture, studied the effects of blueberry and strawberry extract on mouse cells. He found that these berries strongly supported autophagy, or a natural detox. The berries worked by inhibiting a protein that blocks the brain's own detox process.
Pretty remarkable, hey? Given that most brain diseases, including Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s are characterised by the accumulation of toxic proteins in the brain, Dr Proulose's research and other studies like it truly are ground breaking.
According to Dr Ann, a featured expert in national media – The Dr. Oz Show, Oprah and Friends Radio, Time, WebMD, and Prevention – scientists have determined the plant compounds found in berries stimulate the brain’s natural ability remove toxic proteins that can build up as we age. This is exciting news as the build-up of biochemical debris in the brain is a hallmark feature of dementia. Who would of thought a neurologic detox could be supported by eating more antioxidant-rich berries?
Other Health Benefits of Berries
In addition to detoxing the brain, berries have also been shown to help reduce inflammation, lower cholesterol, fight cancer and other diseases. Including a variety of fresh or frozen berries in your weekly meal plan, also provides an excellent, super tasty source of dietary fibre. Studies have shown that consuming soluble fibre naturally slows down the passage of food through the digestive tract. This in turn reduces your hunger and leaves you feeling fuller for longer.
For a 100g serving of berries:
Blackberries contain approx. 10.2g of carbs, 5.3 of which is dietary fibre
Blueberries contain approx. 14.5g of carbs, 2.4 of which is dietary fibre
Raspberries contain approx. 11.9g of carbs, 6.5 of which is dietary fibre
Strawberries contain approx. 7.7g of carbs, 2.0 of which is dietary fibre
Berries are delicious when served alone or in healthy recipes and boast many undeniable health benefits. I highly recommend you add them to your weekly meal plan to reap all the goodness.
Brain Detox Recipe
I love blending this brain detox recipe. I always use coconut water to hydrate as our brains are made up of nearly 70% water and we need to be fully hydrated to function our best. Brain fog be gone! I add a scoop of added fibre and a hit of protein to make it a meal. If you just want to enjoy it as a tonic, omit the protein. A scoop of acai berry powder contains the antioxidant anthocyanin, which is abundant in acai berries, and works to lower oxidative stress and inflammation, promoting brain health. Blitz and enjoy!
250ml coconut water
1/3 cup frozen strawberries
1/4 cup frozen blueberries
1 scoop FibreBoost (buy here)
2 scoops Vanilla protein (I use this one)
2 tsp acai powder
1 sprig, organic fresh mint (well rinsed)
1/2 cup crushed ice
Blend ingredients in a high powered blender until thick and creamy. Serve chilled and top with your favourite whole food toppings.
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