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  • HemoDynamic, M.D.

    Berry interesting! Maybe that’s why as a child I wanted Frankenberry and not Count Chocula as a breakfast cereal.
    Really! ;-)

    • JacquieRN

      Love it!

  • Karen

    Any thoughts on fresh vs. frozen? And what about microwaving berries to thaw them, or in cooking?

    • Mike Quinoa

      I believe that frozen are as, if not more, nutritious. I buy whatever’s on sale—fresh or frozen. One thing I’ve found is that you can buy frozen wild blueberries. They’re smaller than the cultivated ones, but very tasty. Tangy frozen cranberries are also very nice with steel-cut oats, a few walnuts, and some unsweetened soy milk.

      • Kitsy Hahn

        I agree they are indeed smaller than the cultivated ones. Wyman’s of Maine “fresh frozen wild blueberries” are often on sale at our local Stop&Shop. Yes, they are “very tasty.” I sure don’t scarf down 8 oz. a day of them, though — like Steve here!

        Maybe I’ll look into frozen cranberries, too. (Yeah, and I also do the soymilk — despite the bad press it often gets. Sometimes y’gotta take chances in life. ;-)

        • Mike Quinoa

          Agreed. I think if you worry too much about your food you offset all the good that food is doing. Besides, my soy milk is unsweetened, organic, and made from whole soybeans. Though sometimes I am bad and use TVP-type soy in soups. Oh well, it hasn’t killed me ye..ghfciuekolaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

          • Tommasina

            haha! good reminder not to take ourselves too soyriously… ;)

          • Ben

            The only that concerns me about soy is that it can, apparently, block phytonutrient absorption. Remember this Dr. Gregor video: http://nutritionfacts.org/video/soymilk-suppression/

            But perhaps this only happens with tea? I decided not to take any chances and switch to Almond milk. I would rather use soy because it is lower in fat. But I really don’t want to take any chances with blocking phytonutrient uptake.

          • Mike Quinoa

            Thanks Ben. Yeah, it is a bit of a concern. I don’t use a lot of soy milk—usually on my morning quinoa or steel-cut oats. That video leaves the phytonutrient absorption question a bit open, so I’ll continue the status quo for now. Besides, everything I eat is teeming with phytonutrients—I’m probably overdosing (lol).

          • Kitsy Hahn

            Are you still with us here on the earth plane? :-) I’ve been buying Westsoy from our local Stop&Shop. Nothing in it but filtered water and whole organic soybeans. It’s delicious on my cooked whole grains (breakfast) with either honey or molasses, and etc.. I suppose I should get their fortified version (more calcium), but I’m a plain and simple type of gal. Don’t like a lot of additives, even the “good” ones. This has more protein, although I use only 1/2 cup.

          • Mike Quinoa

            Ha-ha—yeah I’m still here.

            I like soy milk mainly for the protein, and I’ve gotta put something on my hot cereal.

            I read T. Colin Campbell’s “Whole,” and what I took from it was to just eat a varied, whole foods, plant-based diet and don’t worry about it too much. Worry affects your digestion, sleep, et cetera, so it’s better just to celebrate the joy of a vegan lifestyle and be happy about it.

        • Steve Mayer

          The Wyman’s of Maine are what I buy. Three pound bag for $8.99. I understand BJ’s has it for $7.99. I am considering cutting back a bit and going organic. I do love my BBs though. Less…we’ll see.

        • Tom Prebis

          Soymilk gets bad press? My 68 y.o. physician father recently switched our family to Soymilk….just make sure you get the ‘lite’ variety…fewer calories….

      • The director of the Plants for Human Health Institute at NC State University says that the individually frozen berries have more active phytonutrients than the ones frozen in a blob. She also recommends very short thaws in the microwave–15 seconds or so, just to remove the frosting. “Microwave can be devastating if overdone,” she says.

  • Steve Mayer

    I eat blueberries every day, at least 8 ounces. They are frozen, not organic (due to cost) and I sprinkle organic unsweetened cocoa (affordable) on these. I defrost for about 30 seconds in the microwave to soften them a little, not completely. I then eat them with chopsticks to slow me down. This is my favorite treat.

    • Timar

      You eat 8 ounces of blueberries a day with chopsticks?

      • Steve Mayer

        I do. I eat most meals with chopsticks.

        • Coacervate

          Youre a better man than me G Din!

          • Steve Mayer

            For me, chopsticks are just a tool to help slow me down. I can shovel food at a remarkable rate. I realize that I, like most Americans and perhaps westerners, do not use chopsticks as they are used in the lands of their origin. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chopsticks#Chinese_etiquette

          • Thea

            Steve: Wow. I had no idea about all those customs. Thanks for sharing.

          • val

            Yes, I’ve heard of eating with chopsticks…we Americans do wolf down our food, I’m as guilty as anyone. Went to a neighborhood potluck the other night for our Community Garden…host keeps chopsticks all around his kitchen for this very same reason..to help him and his family eat more mindfully…great inspiration, I must say!

          • Karl Young

            Nice idea, though unfortunately I got pretty good with chopsticks !

    • forest

      hi steve, just letting you know that according to david suzuki, blueberries if not organic are on the ‘ dirty dozen ‘ list of food not to eat unless they are organic.

      • Steve Mayer

        Sigh. I am aware of that. It is a compromise I make to my budget. Thanks for thinking of me☺ Maybe I will reevaluate our eat fewer blueberries?

        • Ruby

          Steve, I just wanna put in my 2 cents here. I used to make the same compormises for the same reasons. I’ll just give you an analogy to stir your thinking pot down to the muck: it’s like someone saying they’ll be hapy to eat poison food if they can eat more of it (more poison comes with). Try costco, or even 1/2 your daily, and save yourself the poison. It’s the same as the rational for taking pharm drugs, small help, BIG price = HARM. now that i just don’t eat anything that has poisons, if I have a bag of potato chips I feel the poison. being insensitive is not necesary condusive to health. . . PS> I also eat everything with chopsticx, including soup. ;))

          • Steve Mayer

            Thanks Ruby. I will consider your kind suggestion. WRT microwaving, I’ve seen no evidence that this is unsafe to food. I don’t use plastic in a microwave and actually use very little plastic, period. Big fan of Mason jars Consider this video about cooking methods http://nutritionfacts.org/video/best-cooking-method/

            I don’t hover in front of the microwave so radiant energy is not a big concern. After pushing “start” I move about 5-6 feet away to do other tasks. Impatient? No doubt. :-)

          • Ruby

            steve, this thing crashed and lost 2 responses that had good info and . . .. i’ve been crashing for a week anytime i mention sub.versive info. the email i wrote you had the word t.esla. . . en.ergy tec.chnolo.gy. .and this started when I used thre word l.i.zrd. . . it’s a bit freaky .at least my email saves drafts. wanna chat off here for a jiff? rubifyitatgm

          • Kim Glasson

            I find thawing my berries in a colander under cool to warm running water to thaw them works well and is quick. I have a tendency to overheat things in the microwave. :-)

    • Ruby

      Steve and do you notice anything? I have frozen ones in my freezer to and have access to frozen and since I am in tropic I do not see but mainland berries, so frozen is about all there is. Love to hear back.

      • Steve Mayer

        Honestly, no. I remain grateful they taste good. The tropics sound pretty good to this Massachusetts winter sufferer!

  • Kitsy Hahn

    I too have been eating frozen (thawed) blueberries every day, and have done so for many years. I mix them with grapes, chopped apple, and walnuts, and have them as part of my lunch. Delicious! They’re also good for breakfast when added to cooked steel-cut oats and other whole grains.

    (I don’t own a microwave oven.)

  • Any anthocyanidins in bing cherries and cranberries?

    • Darryl

      See the USDA database for the flavonoid content of selected foods and http://www.phenol-explorer.eu.

      Cranberries are the 15th best source of total anthocyanidins in the USDA database (~100 mg / 100 g), while cherries are the 30th best (~ 33 mg). The best sources are black raspberries (685 mg) and elderberries (485 mg). A convenient listing for those who haven’t entered all the USDA values into a spreadsheet is this sorted list of anthocyanin content at phenol-explorer. Anthocyanidins are the polyphenols, anthocyanins are an anthocyanidin with one or more sugars attached, as they’re usually found in foods.

      Note that anthocyanidins are not the only polyphenols of health interest. Strawberries have only moderate levels of anthocyanidins (less than cherries) but are the major dietary source of fisetin, which appears to punch above its weight in neuroprotetion.

      • Thanks, Darryl!

      • Thea

        Darryl: That is such a helpful post! Thanks!!

      • Timar

        Thanks for the link to the paper on fisetin, Darryl, very interesting. Unfortunately, there is still a distinct lack of literature on fisetin and the fisetin content of plant foods.

        Of the above mentioned potent sources for anthocyanidins, chokeberries are one of the most interesting, not only because of the high amount of cyanidin glycosides (regarding CD38 inhibition) but also because of their content of proanthocyanidins (~660 mg / 100 g FW), which is much higher than that of any berry (giving dried chokeberries roughly the same OPC content as cocoa powder).

        • Darryl

          There’s little to say about the fisetin content of plant foods: strawberries have 16 mg / 100 g, apples (with skin) have 3 mg / 100 g, and no other food has significant amounts. Japanese wax tree bark has significantly greater levels, and is the source for fisetin supplements.

      • George

        Darryl, your second link above is about anthocyanin content of foods, which is spelled differently than the anthocyanidins Dr. Greger mentioned. Are these the same thing or is there a difference between them that matters?

        • Darryl

          There are only about a dozen anthocyanidins found in foods, which usually occur as part of one of 550+ anthocyanins, which differ from anthocyanidins by having one or more simple sugars or reduced sugars (aglycones) attached around the anthocyanidin backbone. The anthocyanin derivatives of a given anthocyanidin may vary in bioavailability and drug-like effects.

          The USDA database reports the anthocyanidin content of foods after their anthocyanins are hydrolyzed, so its more of an aggregate measure. The phenol-explorer site breaks down food contents further into the various anthocyanins.

      • MT2303

        Darryl,

        Any thoughts if we could expect the same cognitive benefits from the anthocyanins found in purple sweet potatoes as those found in blueberries? I can only find a rat study involving sweet potatoes and their effect on memory which was positive.

        Thanks

        • Darryl

          The anthocyanin content will differ, and as Phenol Explorer is down at the moment, I can’t say whether they’re comparable. Other sources indicate that purple sweet potato anthocyanidins consist of cyanidin or peonidin derivatives, whereas blueberry anthocyanins are a more complex mix of delphinidin, cyanidin, petunidin, peonidin, and malvidin derivatives. Without a human trial there’s no proof of comparable effectiveness, but we can speculate.

          Personally, I suspect anthocyanins are mostly absorbed as simpler colonic metabolites, so the actual anthocyanin profile may matter less than just consuming a bunch from whatever deep blue, purple, or black source. And while some of these compounds appear fairly promiscuous in their mechanisms, a common mechanism seems to be eliciting a hormetic effect to suppress chronic inflammation. Namely, even in small absorbed quantities they react to activate Nrf2 (a master regulator of antioxidant response), which in turn inhibits NF-κB (a master regulator of inflammatory/innate immune responses). Chronic inflammation is central to many diseases of aging, including cognitive impairment, so dialing it back a bit with any dark colored fruit, tubers or grains (cruciferous vegetables and tumeric are believed to work via the same mechanism) seems likely to offer comparable benefits.

          • MT2303

            Thanks a lot for the response, Darryl.

            I was most curious about purple sweet potatoes since I’m getting ready to help harvest some, namely the Okinawan variety as well as a couple others but what I was really try to get at was if making substitutions with a purple variety whether it be rice, cabbage, etc. could be a beneficial strategy to fight cognitive impairment so I appreciate your input.

          • Harriet Sugar Miller

            Would you mind explaining Nrf2 pathways a bit more for us lay folks? How does Nrf2 regulate anti-oxidant response? Do other phytonutrients in addition to anthocyanins (or is it more correct to say “anthocyanidins”?) contribute to activating Nrf2? How does Nrf2 lead to inhibiting NF-kB? I’ve heard NF-kB described as the “black knight” of cancer cells because it helps cancer cells hide from the immune system. Does that make sense? As always, thanks for your insights, Darryl.

          • Darryl

            Individual cells, like whole bodies, maintain homeostasis throughout life, attempting to maintain an appropriate balance of temperature, acid/base, redox state, etc. Without the benefit of the wiring our technology might use, cells use chemical interactions, like negative feedback by products on the enzymes that shepard reactions along, or reactions with regulatory proteins that control gene transcription.

            Nrf2 (an abbreviation of “Nuclear factor (erythroid-derived 2)-like 2”) is one of these transcriptional regulators, and appears to play a paramount role in controlling endogenous antioxidant response to foreign chemicals, and has been extensively studied for two decades. When sulfhydryl reactive chemicals, like arsenic, cadmium or sulforophane from broccoli, curcumin from turmeric, oxidized anthocyanidins from berries, EGCG from tea, etc. enter cells, Nrf2 is released into the cell nucleus, where it attaches to DNA upstream of several hundred genes important in cellular protection (glutathione synthesis, antioxidant enzymes, DNA repair, protein chaperones, metal chelators, and toxin export), and promotes their transcription. I’ve discussed Nrf2 in more detail in some past comments: a, b, c, d, e, f.

            NF-κB is a master transcriptional regulator of cellular inflammatory signalling, and has an antagonistic role to Nrf2. Just as Nrf2 activation inhibits NF-κB, NF-κB activation inhibits Nrf2. This makes sense for cells, much of the generation of reactive chemical species is due to inflammatory responses, for example from NADPH oxidases regulated by NF-κB. By enlisting Nrf2’s detection of excess redox stress, cells have a feedback mechanism for regulating inflammatory production of radicals and protecting themselves. You’ll note considerable overlap between the list of Nrf2 activators I assembled and lists of NF-κB inhibitors (eg, Table 1 here), so much so that I suspect the well understood mechanism for Nrf2 activation, and its known inhibition of NF-κB, likely mediate the connection.

          • Thank you, Darryl. Is the following a correct description of the positive feedback loop discussed in one of those articles you cite?

            Oxidative stress activates NF-kB—
            and NF-kB causes NADPH oxidase to be produced (which is what exactly?) –
            and NADPH oxidase activates ROS.

            So is this how oxidation and inflammation are intertwined?

          • Darryl

            It an important but not the only way oxidative stress and inflammation are intertwined. I occasionally come across images like this:

            http://www.nature.com/nrneph/journal/v2/n10/images/ncpneph0283-f1.jpg

            The body regularly uses low concentrations of the less harmful radicals like nitric oxide and hydrogen peroxide for intra- and inter cellular signalling, and also generates copious superoxide to deal with perceived infections. There are positive feedback cascades by which this signalling can be amplified (like the squeal when microphones are pointed at speakers). Enough nitric oxide and superoxide in one place, and the very destructive radical peroxynitrite is formed. One paper that address this pathological cycle in atherosclerosis is:

            Zinkevich & Gutterman 2011. ROS-induced ROS release in vascular biology: redox-redox signaling.

            Some of these positive feedbacks occur at mitochondria and membrane bound enzymes and don’t require NF-κB, but many of the longer term inflammatory responses that require gene trascription do. When scientists talk about inflammation, they ‘re usually talking about increased levels of the signalling cytokines like the IL-1s, TNFα, or IFNγ, but these aren’t intrinsically toxic, its the radicals that are generated downstream that do the dirty work. The body tries to keep this regulated, sometimes with anti-inflammatory cytokines like IL-10, and likely also with Nrf2 mediated antioxidant response.

            Much of the benefit of whole plant based diets appears to be in interfering with feedback cycles of inflammation and oxidative stress. by reducing initial innate immune alarums (set off by saturated fats, endotoxins, Neu5gc, etc), by directly quenching excess radicals (with direct antioxidants like vitamins C, E, the carotenoids, ergothioneine, and folate), by making less inflammatory hormones (with less arachidonic acid and more omega-3s), and in the case of many phytochemicals, by activating Nrf2 mediated endogenous antioxidant response and directly or indirectly interfering with NF-κB promoted inflammatory gene transcription.

          • That’s very helpful. What else would you put on your list of factors that set off innate alarms? And do you discuss Neu5gc elsewhere on this website?

          • Darryl

            Neu5gc has its own topic category on NutritionFacts, and perhaps a recent damning study will feature in a future video. I believe I erred in describing it as a stimulator of innate immune response, as its a red meat derived sugar that’s incorporated into our cell membranes and recognized as foreign by our adaptive immune response. There’s speculation that Neu5gc is involved in nonresolving inflammation.

            Stimulants of innate immune response are generally pathogen fragments, and activate subvarieties of Toll like receptor. They include peptidoglycan (TLR1) or lipoteichoic acid (TLR2) from Gram positive bacteria, double stranded viral RNA (TLR3), bacterial lipopolysaccharide (endotoxin) (TLR4) from Gram negative bacteria, bacterial flagelin (TLR5), single-stranded viral RNA in endosomes (TLR7), guanidine rich DNA (TLR8), unmethylated CpG DNA (TLR 9) etc. Some of these receptors are critical to chronic inflammatory disease, for example mutant mice lacking TLR4 don’t develop atherosclerosis and insulin resistance when fed the same high fat diets that induce these in wild-type mice. Saturated fats are believed by some to also active TLR4, both by increasing intestinal permeability to endotoxin, and perhaps also directly by causing TLR subunits to raft together. There’s even been evolutionary biology speculation on just why our innate immune responses should respond to dietary saturated fats. EDIT FORTHCOMING WHEN I FIND THAT PAPER.

          • Would you mind sharing the source of that graphic?

          • Darryl

            That’s from Vaziri, N. D., & Rodríguez-Iturbe, B. (2006). Mechanisms of disease: oxidative stress and inflammation in the pathogenesis of hypertension. Nature Clinical Practice Nephrology, 2(10), 582-593.

            No, I don’t spend my idle hours looking at kidney journals, it just happened to be a simple diagram found in Google image search that illustrated how the amplification circuits for inflammation could result in runaway oxidative stress, but which is consistent with other more jargon / pathway specific ones.

          • Thanks. No rush. I’m also wondering whether this cycle of oxidative stress and inflammation is involved in the actual initiation of cancer? It would clearly be relevant to promotion and spread of cancer, right? Can it actually cause damage to DNA–or perhaps keep DNA from repairing itself? I realize some scientists (Thomas Seyfried, for example) suggest cancer is caused by damage to the mitochondria of cells–and an out of control feedback loop of ROS and inflammation would likely fuel that, correct? I’m guessing here and welcome your expertise.

          • Darryl

            You could do worse than reviewing Reuter et al 2010. Oxidative stress, inflammation, and cancer: How are they linked?. Where this review fails IMO is the assertion that ordinary aerobic respiration is the major source of oxidative stress, which is contested, and not focusing on the amplification cycles for ROS and inflammation noted above.

            If mitochondrial respiration is just a fractional contributor to oxidative stress, then much more blame can be attributed the alternative major sources noted in the second link, peroxisomes (involved in oxidative toxicity from burning C14+ saturated fats) and NADPH oxidases (superoxide generating enzymes involved in inflammation and implicated in both cancer initiation and progression/survival).

          • Could you tell us about TLRs 7 and 8? My son was prescribed (overprescribed–He took it for much longer than the FDA approves it for–iatrogenic error) a medication that works by binding to TLRs 7 and 8, thus activating several pro-inflammatory cytokines and has been experiencing neurological problems (dizziness, brain fog, dyslexia, which he never had before). So far, we’ve had no luck with medical specialists. Any thoughts on how to reverse the inflammatory signalling?

          • Are there any other direct antioxidants that are well-absorbed?

          • Thanks so much for this. You have surely put a lot of work into distilling all the information out there, and your fans in cyberspace are very appreciative.

            Re: your list of Nrf2 inducers:

            1/ So are you saying that the strongest Nrf2 inducers are also the strongest NF-kB inhibitors? Have you compiled a similar list of the strongest NF-kB inhibitors?

            2/ It’s interesting that coffee and black tea, according to your list, are stronger at inducing Nrf2 than green tea, with its EGCGs. Comments?

            3/ What’s the deal with luteolin? I see that at the bottom of the list, you’re questioning its actions. And how might Nrf2 inhibitors help if you’re taking chemo?

  • livewell

    Very good info. – confirming previous videos, esp the one about adding Pepper and Cardamom to blueberries for maximum effect – I can feel this healing me big time!! I recommend it to all! I sometimes use Young Living essential oils cardamom and black pepper – this is even more potent than the ground spices.
    http://nutritionfacts.org/video/boosting-natural-killer-cell-activity/

    However, I would not go the grape juice route mentioned in the video – to get my berries. Ever since I read a theorem presented by Dr. Mercola (below) I stay away from canned or bottled fruits and juices. (Unless you juice them and eat them – right away.)

    WE ALL KNOW HOW EXTREMELY TOXIC FORMALDEHYDE IS (let alone methanol) – IT’S USED TO EMBALM PEOPLE!

    http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2010/09/14/why-do-heavy-drinkers-outlive-nondrinkers.aspx
    Mercola – “New Concern in Your Food: Wood Alcohol (Methanol)

    Fresh fruits and vegetables contain small amounts of
    naturally-occurring methanol, and the artificial sweetener aspartame
    converts into methanol in your body.

    Normally this is not a problem as the methanol is typically bound to
    pectin, and since your body has no enzyme to metabolize that bond it is
    simply excreted in your stool and none of the methanol is absorbed into
    your body.

    However, the problem occurs when you can or bottle fruit- or
    vegetable juice, as the methanol tends to then dissociate from the
    pectin into free methanol, which you do absorb.

    The methanol you absorb readily passes the blood brain barrier where
    it can be converted to form formaldehyde, which is a potent toxin that
    actually causes most of the damage.”

    • Dr Mercola says consuming saturated fat and cholesterol is not a problem, so I take whatever he says with a grain of salt. If what he claims about commercial juices were such a horrific danger, I’m sure Dr Greger would have a video about it by now.

      The real problem with commercial juices is the missing nutrients found in the whole foods the juices come from and the extreme ease of calorie over consumption of such calorie-dense liquids.

  • Ruby

    Doctor G!! Do you think that since the whole berry is REQUIRED to see significant aid to brain function, that this might have some bearing on why coconut oil and procesed flakes may not show positive results but . . . that perhaps brains and nerves might show some significant help from the oils in coconut if coconut were consumed whole, and fresh??????? . . . Since no studies have been done with whole fresh coconut, and with my neurological disease I have greatly significant benefit in nerves and calmness and I think mental aquity as well because of it, yet prefer not to consume the oild internally and do not have the same affinity for even the flakes, might this idea not have some merit, to at least leand to consideration? Also I wanted to say, that 3 days is as long as a fresh coco will last in the fridge, and when they go bad it smells HORRID, so the oils are as volital and krill, which loses 50>75% of it’s potency before it reaches shore! Anywho, I’d love if some consideration of this idea that this saturated fat, from the fresh coconut, might be the thing missing in brain and nerve health beyond anything that’s thus far been measured. I think someone should push for a study. Alzheimers is HUGE in this country, as are other neurological and nerve related disorders.

  • Drezzle

    Gee Wilikers, 2 years for a typical life span of 75 years is 2.7%. I won’t even walk across the street for a sale of only 2.7% off. Why bother?

    Speaking of another wasted effort — why bring up the problem of oxalates in cinnamon without telling the rest of the story which would be every Meat Eater’s excuse to keep on.

    • fred

      “2 years for a typical life span of 75 years is 2.7%. I won’t even walk across the street for a sale of only 2.7% off. Why bother? ”
      The POINT being that IF you do many and various things like this to improve your health…you MIGHT end up gaining 27%? And avoid the miseries of a slow death in old age? Your choice as always.

    • Timar

      Problem is: it’s not a sale. It is your life. Your only life…

    • Thea

      Drezzle: Your analogy only works if you place the same value on a couple of bucks that you place on two years of healthy brain life. I personally place a very high value on my brain health, as do many other people. If you don’t, of course, that is your prerogative. But hopefully you can see why others would find this information to be extremely valuable. And what is the price to get this high return? Eating some blueberries? Oh, the pain… (You see the point.)

  • Darryl

    Calling attention to an important paper:

    Levine, Morgan E. et al. “Low protein intake is associated with a major reduction in IGF-1, cancer, and overall mortality in the 65 and younger but not older population.” Cell Metabolism 19 (2014): 407–417.

    Respondents aged 50–65 reporting high protein intake had a 75% increase in overall mortality and a 4-fold increase in cancer death risk during the following 18 years. These associations were either abolished or attenuated if the proteins were plant derived. Conversely, high protein intake was associated with reduced cancer and overall mortality in respondents over 65, but a 5-fold increase in diabetes mortality across all ages.

    • Kate Scott

      I think this is a critically important paper, providing the best corroboration yet for the conclusions of The China Study. But Darryl, since I know you would have read the article, what is your comment on Figs J and K in the mouse study part of this paper – soy just as powerful in raising IGF-1. Perhaps this is a mechanism for why, in the human study, the control for animal protein only reduced, but did not eliminate the elevated risk associated with moderate and high protein diets? That is a little worrying for those of us who eat soy.

      It is interesting that the next paper in the journal by entirely different authors, a study in about 900 mice, reaches pretty much the same conclusion (the mice on the low protein diets lived longest).

      • Thea

        Kate: In that study you are referencing, do you know if they were using whole soy or traditional soy products (like tofu) – or if they were looking at soy protein isolates?

        It is my understanding that it is the soy protein isolates that cause a problem and understandably so. But I would be interested in knowing if there is a study showing issues with whole soy consumption. (Then again, we are just talking mice…)

        • Kate Scott

          No I don’t know, but since they were feeding it to mice, I doubt they were using organic tofu! They were comparing casein and soy, and both raised IGF-1 equally, and lowered one of the IGF-1 binding proteins equally. I know that other studies have found soy raises IGF-1 and I am not aware that this effect depends on the type of soy – I don’t know that for sure, but I doubt if that is the case because it wouldn’t really make sense biologically. Soy raises IGF-1 because it has a similar amino acid profile to animal proteins (presumably). That is perhaps good and bad.

          • Thea

            Kate: based on your description, it *sounds* to me like they were using soy protein isolate. This means that they just pulled out the protein pieces of soy. That is like pulling the oil out of olives or looking at the health benefits (or lack there of) of white flour and then declaring that olives and wheat are bad for you/cause harm.

            In other words, if they were using soy protein isolates, then I think the most you could conclude from those studies is that humans should stay away from the type of junk/packaged food which contains soy protein isolates. I think this conclusion is valid, because we have good evidence that traditional soy products are protective against cancer in humans. So, I don’t think you could look at a study that uses soy protein isolates on mice and conclude that humans eating “whole” or traditional soy products raise IGF-1 in a way that is unhealthy.

            That’s just my thought. Thanks for your reply/clarification.

          • Kate Scott

            Thea – there is so much more to this study than the tiny bit I mentioned about the soy/casein comparison. It is a pretty compelling study (series of studies actually) – I would highly recommend that you and other regular contributors to this site read it. It is freely available – Darryl has posted the link above.

          • Thea

            Kate: Thanks for the additional info! I’ll give it a shot if I can.

          • Timar

            Soy is a pretty complete protein. I would expect soy protein – in whatever form – to have effects quite similar to casein, because of its similar amino acid profile.

      • Darryl

        Soy is fed to livestock because it is a cheap, relatively “complete” protein that stimulates growth. The same is true in humans, and between the ages of 20 and 65, the harms of excess growth signalling may outweigh the benefits for many.

        Dr. Greger addressed these issues in what I consider his best thematic series of videos to date, from 2012:

        IGF-1 as One-Stop Cancer Shop
        Cancer-Proofing Mutation
        The Answer to the Pritikin Puzzle
        Protein Intake & IGF-1 Production
        Higher Quality May Mean Higher Risk
        Animalistic Plant Proteins
        Too Much Soy May Neutralize Benefits
        How Much Soy Is Too Much?
        Plant-Based Bodybuilding

        Soy has many good things going for it that may reduce cancer risk. Whole soybeans are high in fiber. The isoflavone phytoestrogens preferentially stimulate estrogen receptor β, with protective effects against breast and prostate cancer. These two benefits may not apply to soy protein isolates. Soy protein has the highest ratio of lysine (the limiting one in vegan diets) to leucine (a branched chain amino acid that is the most effective IGF-1 stimulator), which means one can achieve adequate protein with less growth stimulation with soy than with other plant proteins.

        So the issue comes down to how much food chosen for high protein (soy, nuts etc) is really necessary for health, and my readings suggest the answer, for those between 20-65, is some, but not much. Protein is in all whole foods, and protein deficiency is exceptionally rare unless one is young and eating a diet wholly comprised of very low protein foods like taro and cassava.

    • Kitsy Hahn

      From your link: “These results suggest that low protein intake during middle age followed by moderate to high protein consumption in old adults may optimize healthspan and longevity.”

      I’m wondering what kind of “high protein” they’re talkin’. Red meat, etc.?.

  • celia

    Hi Dr. Greger,

    How many ounces or cups of blueberries should be consumed each day to receive the benefits outlined in your video?

    Just trying to get a better sense of magnitude: 3 cups? 1 cup? Half a cup?

    Thank you!

    • Darryl

      In the cognitive decline paper, high intake was at least one serving per week. Given a serving is only 1/2 cup, the paper indicates those in the category eating at over Tbsp a day had significant brain benefits. More may be better, but this study didn’t say.

  • Sebastian Tristan

    What about a good-old “Best Anthocyanin Sources” video? =)

    • Tommasina

      @sebastiantristan:disqus- I like the way you think! Dr. Greger sort of has a video on “Which Fruit Fights Cancer Better?” already: http://nutritionfacts.org/video/which-fruit-fights-cancer-better/ Hint: another berry won this battle!

      • Sebastian Tristan

        Yep, cranberries. My freezer is full of cranberry boxes. The only problem is that I have to use a blender and mix it with other fruits – mostly sweet berries – to make them palatable.

      • Timar

        I wonder how that “contest” would have looked liked if it actually included berries high in OPC and/or anthocyanins, like those I mentioned above. Cranberries have the highest amount of anthocyanins among the contenters, but chokeberries or elderberries provide fifty times(!) as much.

    • Timar

      You can go to http://www.phenol-explorer.org and see foods listed by their anthocyanin content, it is a bit difficult to navigate, though.

      If you just want the “Top 5”, the graph below shows the berries with the highest anthocyanin content. Blue bars are anthocyanins, white bars are OPC. Aronia, also known as black chokeberry, contains about ten times(!) as much anthocyanins as commercial highbush blueberries. “Holunderbeeren” is elderberries, providing as much anthocyanins as aronia, but much less OPC (and they can only be eaten after being heated). Third is black currants, fourth wild blueberries (or bilberries) and fifth European cranberries (or lingonberries). To put this into perspective, commercial blueberries provide only about 150 mg anthocyanins, and cranberries 30 mg. Even the much hyped açaí berries contain only about 300 mg – one fifth of what is found in aronia or elderberries.

      • Timar

        This page shows the difference between blueberries and bilberries: http://www.mirtoselect.info/public/bilberry_blueberry.asp

      • Sebastian Tristan

        Thank you for your post, it’s very informative. I believe the correct link is http://www.phenol-explorer.eu and you’re right, it’s a bit confusing to browse . The anthocyanin and OPC levels you mention are for fresh or dried Aronia berries? I found dried Aronia berries online.

        • Timar

          Yes, it’s .eu, I confused the top level domain, sorry.

          The levels (1480 mg per 100 gr) are actually for fresh Aronia berries. Dried berries are approximately 1/10th of the fresh weight, but you loose a small amount (~10%) of anthocyanins during drying. I would expect dried Aronia berries to have more than 100 mg of anthocyanins per gram. Thus a single teaspoon (5 gr) should provide about as much anthocyanins as a pound of blueberries.

  • Shikha

    amzing fruit,somethink we eat tomato in the burger few tomato for make delicious, but we don’t know if tomato have a important nutrition special for to reduce cancer risk. http://tinyurl.com/onyo6qk

  • Chen Ben Asher

    Look at this blog:
    http://archive.constantcontact.com
    /fs139/1110504859328/archive/1116496595934.html

  • wfevanson

    If someone goes on a Candida cleanse for three months, is vegan, how does that person get enough protein without compromising their diet?

    • Wade Patton

      It is completely naive to think that plants cannot provide enough protein for optimum health. Please learn more.

  • Juned

    question. I was adding blueberries to my smoothy in the morning. However, my blood sugar went up too much with blueberries added. (otherwise have done only veggies). got any ideas?

    • Ken

      Some of the anthocyanins that the Dr. is talking about can also be found in purple cabbage and black and purple Thai rice. I’m thinking that both of those would have a slower glucose uptake. Both of those would obviously have unique sets of other cyanic-phytonutrients that may not have brain saving properties but they are both worth adding to your diet anyway. I’ve added both because blueberries are too expensive at some times of the year here. If you want to keep the blueberries in your smoothies try adding ground flaxseed and chia seeds or hemp seeds. (if you aren’t trying to cut out lipids, as these seeds both have their share. Good lipids but lipids not the less.) 5 months after you asked but there you go.