With Memorial Day just a couple of weeks away, we're on the verge of summer's official arrival.
It’s an important occasion -- not only to remember those who sacrificed their lives for the sake of the ol’ Red, White and Blue, but also to celebrate the next few months of sunshine that are headed our way.
But there’s another reason to rejoice at this time of year, too – and that’s for all the delicious summer produce that's coming our way.
From bright red tomatoes and cherries... to deep purple eggplant and plums... and orange-hued peaches and nectarines, there's about to be a rainbow of tasty options.
But according to the latest research, there's one summer fruit in particular that really stands out -- and not just because it's the only blue thing in your basket!
I'm talking about blueberries.
A new study shows that this "super" berry can change your gut bacteria for the better, which can tamp down inflammation and slash your risk of diabetes.
In the study published in the Journal of Nutrition, researchers fed rats the equivalent of a "cheeseburgers and milkshakes" diet, either alone or supplemented with blueberry powder.
Now, we know that diets that fatten up rats (and men) are linked to the growth of harmful strains of gut bacteria.
But after two months, it turned out that the guts of rats that ate blueberry powder contained MORE of a certain strain of BENEFICIAL bacteria than the guts of the rats that didn't.
The theory is that compounds that give blueberries their vibrant color, called "anthocyanins," can directly alter your gut population.
And when the composition of the rats’ gut bacteria improved, so did the integrity of the gut lining.
The rats in the blueberry group had LESS leakage of gut toxins into their bloodstream than the rats who didn't eat the berries.
And since "leaky" guts are known to trigger an inflammatory response by the immune system, these gut improvements may be why rats in the blueberry group also REDUCED their markers of inflammation -- even while inflammation increased in the non-blueberry group.
What's more, the positive gut changes may also explain why only the blueberry group had IMPROVED insulin resistance, since imbalances in gut bacteria can also make your cells more resistant to insulin.
Of course, blueberries' benefits don't end in your gut. These petite but powerful berries have also been proven to fight cancer... keep your blood vessels healthy... and even protect against cognitive decline.
And now that fresh blueberry season has arrived, it's the perfect time to load up your cart with these sweet, juicy berries.
Blueberries are delicious by themselves, but you can also toss them into salads, add them to Greek yogurt, or blend them into smoothies.
You can also find blueberry extract in liquid, powder, or capsule form in the supplement aisle.
Just stay away from those blueberry muffins and milkshakes.
Beat Parkinson's with pie?
It's 3 a.m., and you're shaking like a dog pooping razor blades. Your heart is beating through your chest, and everywhere you look you see terrifying hallucinations. The walls are melting. Dark, hooded figures surround you.
And finally, when you just can't take it any more, you vomit all over yourself.
No, friend, you haven't been stricken with some mysterious new illness. This evening of hell was brought to you courtesy of a powerful, million-dollar medication designed to make you well!
If you suffer from Parkinson's disease, you've likely already been living this nightmare for far too long. Big Pharma's answer for the stiffness and tremors of Parkinson's disease has been a class of sledgehammer drugs that can leave everything from your bowels to your brain in tatters.
But Canadian scientists say help may be on the way -- all thanks to a powerful little berry you can pop by the handful or bake into a delicious pie!
It sounds strange -- but stick with me. You see, when you're suffering from Parkinson's disease, a nasty gene called alpha-synuclein builds up on your neurons like grime in a filthy bathtub. It blocks levels of dopamine your body and brain need to stay healthy, and your motor skills start going to hell in a hand basket.
But when scientists tested regular ol' blueberry extract on fruit flies, it didn't just keep levels of alpha-synuclein in check -- it actually increased the flies' lifespan by an impressive 15%.
Now 15% of a fruit fly's life may not add up to much, but researchers say it could translate to an extra eight years of healthy, active living for you!
It's a big jump from fruit fly studies to human trials, but blueberries are packed with flavonoids and could help fight diabetes or keep your cholesterol in check naturally, so there's no reason you can't start enjoying them today. And, if you're lucky, they just may be a sweet way to ditch those sickening Parkinson's meds for good.