“Do you eat blueberries everyday?” my Surgeon asked me at my first consultation. When I answered with a vague and surprised ‘no’ she shook her head and said “Eat blueberries everyday, they are expensive, but get over it, buy them and they will help you fight against any more cancer.” This was not what I was expecting to hear from the Dr who was about to remove a chunk of my shoulder tissue. I had recently had a mole removed that turned out to be a malignant melanoma and I needed more tissue removed to ensure all the cancer was gone. “Get rid of stress and baggage in your life. Maybe you should quit your job? Take a look at your life and ‘clear out’ anyone or anything that causes you stress and doesn’t make you happy.” So much for thinking that all my skin cancer troubles stemmed solely from too much South African sunlight on my fair skin whilst growing up.
The day after my surgery I struggled to move my right arm from where the tissue had been removed on my back. And I ached from where the second surgeon had removed two lymph nodes in my axilla to check that the cancer hadn’t spread any further. Again my surgeon asked me as she came to discharge from me the hospital, “Do you eat blueberries everyday?” This time I could answer yes and she said “Good. Eat broccoli and spinach too. Learn about superfoods, they will save your life.”
A week later after a painful and emotional but very healthy eating week at home, I went to see my Dr for the follow up. Again she asked about the blueberries and again I answered yes and that I was eating far more fruit and vegetables. “Good” she said, “it will save your life. The statistics for you are good, there has been no cancer spread to your lymph nodes and there is a 75% chance you will be alive from this in ten years.” Wow. I hadn’t expected that.
“I was hoping for a 100%” I replied.
“Well of course, YOU have to be healthy and stress free and make it 100%. Also, your chances of getting breast cancer are higher now too, be aware of this and we will regularly screen you. And, eat organic.”
And so has begun my dive into the superfood world. I’ve always considered my self pretty healthy-but from what I have read recently, I have massive room for improvement. After discussing some my new found knowledge with all my incredible friends and family who have supported me so much over the past few weeks, I’ve tried to summarise and share some of what I have gleaned. Naturally blueberries are where I’ve had to begin.
- Small but VERY mighty nutritional force.
- Combines MORE powerful disease –fighting antioxidants than ANY other fruit or vegetable.
- ONE serving of blueberries provides as many antioxidants as FIVE servings of carrots, apples, broccoli or squash.
So what are Antioxidants?
Antioxidants are substances that prevent damage to cells caused by free radicals. Free radicals are molecules that have lost an electron, thus are unstable. These free radicals basically steal electrons from other molecules in effort to heal themselves, ultimately creating new free radicals in the process. By stealing electrons, it can cause damage to DNA, leading to the possible development of cancer.
Antioxidants search for these free radicals and lend them an electron. This stabilizes the molecule, thus preventing damage to other cells. Antioxidants also turn free radicals into waste by products, and they eventually get eliminated from the body. They also have the ability to repair previous damage to cells.
Blueberries Health Benefits:
-Lower risk for heart disease and cancer
-Maintain healthy skin
-Can prevent diabetes, senility, and degenerative eye diseases.
Fresh or Frozen?
FRESH blueberries provide THE BEST vitamin C and the antioxidant phytochemicals.
FROZEN blueberries are only SLIGHTLY LOWER in vitamin C and have the SAME ANTIOXIDANT properties.
What’s in a cup of blueberries?
Calories: 84 (355 kJ)
Total Fat: 0.5g
Saturated Fat: 0g
Carbohydrates: 21.5 g
Eat them fresh or frozen, in a smoothie, with yoghurt or porridge or just in your hand, but please-
TRY TO EAT BLUEBERRIES EVERY DAY!