Blueberries for a Diabetic Diet & DNA Repair

Blueberries for a Diabetic Diet & DNA Repair
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Blueberries are put to the test against insulin resistance, oxidation, and DNA damage.

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Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

A famous pair of Harvard studies, which involve so many people over so long a time they’ve by now chalked up millions of “person-years” of data, found that the consumption of “anthocyanin-rich foods”—foods containing those bright-colored plant pigments—was associated with a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes over time, “particularly blueberries.” Just two or three servings a week associated with a 23 percent lower risk. In my Daily Dozen, I recommend berries every day.

Why, though? What do berries have to do with diabetes? Well, type 2 diabetes is caused by insulin resistance, and interventional studies evidently “clearly show” that dietary berries can “ameliorate… insulin resistance.” Yeah, but that was in… “diabetic mice.” What about in men and women? Those consuming lots of anthocyanin-rich foods, like berries, didn’t just have less inflammation, but significantly lower insulin resistance. Okay, but by how much? By as much as you would get walking like an hour a day, seven days a week. Wow, how many berries were they eating?

That was for 35mg of anthocyanins a day. So, like a cup of strawberries or cherries, a half a cup of raspberries, just a quarter cup of blackberries, or even just a few spoonfuls of blueberries. But that was just a snapshot-in-time cross-sectional study. What we need are interventional trials, where you give people blueberries in a double-blind, randomized, and placebo-controlled clinical trial to truly put them to the test.

Okay, here you go. So they could fake people out with a placebo, they used powdered blueberries—the equivalent of about two cups of fresh blueberries’-worth in a smoothie—and got a significant improvement in insulin sensitivity.

Two cups is a lot, though. Any benefits for just a typical half-cup serving? This study demonstrated a significant reduction in postprandial oxidation, meaning all the free radicals created when you eat some sugary breakfast, like corn flakes. Here’s the antioxidant capacity of your bloodstream taking a nosedive two hours afterwards, as your body tries to cope. But eat it with a half cup of blueberries, and you start out higher and stay higher after the meal. Note they also tried just adding a quarter cup of blueberries, and that was clearly not enough; so, we should strive for a full serving.

The reason we care about free radicals, though, is that they can damage our DNA. Can a single portion of blueberries really improve protection against DNA damage?: “A single portion of blueberry [can improve] protection against DNA damage”! They drew blood from people before and after they ate some frozen blueberries, and exposed their white blood cells to free radicals in the form of hydrogen peroxide. And, “[b]lueberries significantly reduced [the] DNA damage [done within a single] hour after berry consumption.” “However, the protective effect was transient, and [our DNA vulnerability] returned [within two hours].” So, we want to be eating super-healthy foods like berries at every meal. In conclusion, “one portion of blueberries can improve [our] cell[ular] resistance [to] DNA damage, “thus supporting the importance of consuming [healthy plant] foods regularly.”

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Image credit: Tookapic via Pexels. Image has been modified.

Motion graphics by Avocado Video

Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

A famous pair of Harvard studies, which involve so many people over so long a time they’ve by now chalked up millions of “person-years” of data, found that the consumption of “anthocyanin-rich foods”—foods containing those bright-colored plant pigments—was associated with a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes over time, “particularly blueberries.” Just two or three servings a week associated with a 23 percent lower risk. In my Daily Dozen, I recommend berries every day.

Why, though? What do berries have to do with diabetes? Well, type 2 diabetes is caused by insulin resistance, and interventional studies evidently “clearly show” that dietary berries can “ameliorate… insulin resistance.” Yeah, but that was in… “diabetic mice.” What about in men and women? Those consuming lots of anthocyanin-rich foods, like berries, didn’t just have less inflammation, but significantly lower insulin resistance. Okay, but by how much? By as much as you would get walking like an hour a day, seven days a week. Wow, how many berries were they eating?

That was for 35mg of anthocyanins a day. So, like a cup of strawberries or cherries, a half a cup of raspberries, just a quarter cup of blackberries, or even just a few spoonfuls of blueberries. But that was just a snapshot-in-time cross-sectional study. What we need are interventional trials, where you give people blueberries in a double-blind, randomized, and placebo-controlled clinical trial to truly put them to the test.

Okay, here you go. So they could fake people out with a placebo, they used powdered blueberries—the equivalent of about two cups of fresh blueberries’-worth in a smoothie—and got a significant improvement in insulin sensitivity.

Two cups is a lot, though. Any benefits for just a typical half-cup serving? This study demonstrated a significant reduction in postprandial oxidation, meaning all the free radicals created when you eat some sugary breakfast, like corn flakes. Here’s the antioxidant capacity of your bloodstream taking a nosedive two hours afterwards, as your body tries to cope. But eat it with a half cup of blueberries, and you start out higher and stay higher after the meal. Note they also tried just adding a quarter cup of blueberries, and that was clearly not enough; so, we should strive for a full serving.

The reason we care about free radicals, though, is that they can damage our DNA. Can a single portion of blueberries really improve protection against DNA damage?: “A single portion of blueberry [can improve] protection against DNA damage”! They drew blood from people before and after they ate some frozen blueberries, and exposed their white blood cells to free radicals in the form of hydrogen peroxide. And, “[b]lueberries significantly reduced [the] DNA damage [done within a single] hour after berry consumption.” “However, the protective effect was transient, and [our DNA vulnerability] returned [within two hours].” So, we want to be eating super-healthy foods like berries at every meal. In conclusion, “one portion of blueberries can improve [our] cell[ular] resistance [to] DNA damage, “thus supporting the importance of consuming [healthy plant] foods regularly.”

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Image credit: Tookapic via Pexels. Image has been modified.

Motion graphics by Avocado Video

Doctor's Note

Berries pack such a nutritional punch that I recommend eating at least ½ cup a day in my Daily Dozen Checklist (download the free iPhone or Android app, or print the checklist here). More benefits of blueberries include:

What else may protect against or repair DNA damage? See:

Type 2 diabetes is caused by insulin resistance, but What Causes Insulin Resistance? Check out the video. And How May Plants Protect Against Diabetes? See also Plant-Based Diets for Diabetes, and my overview video How Not to Die from Diabetes.

If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here.

102 responses to “Blueberries for a Diabetic Diet & DNA Repair

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  1. Daily dozen question: How do the mechanisms of cruciferous vegetables fit in with taking pepper with tumeric? Pepper deactivates the liver, but on of the benefits of sulforapane is that it activates certain liver enzymes. Do we not want the liver to react to the Sulforaphane, or are we happy with increased bioavailability.

    2nd question: Will the rice ever sick up enough arsenic to rid the fields of so that we can eat rice again?

    3rd question: I’ve noticed some of Dr. G’s videos that when it come to blood pressure and cancer good can counteract bad like Miso and salt, cannibus and smoke, etc. Can we generalize this to inflammatory and noninflammatory?

    1. Black pepper suppresses glucoronidation (an important phase II liver pathway) and this is why it is often taken with turmeric, since the liver uses glucuronidation to remove curcumin from the bloodstream (reducing its systemic bioavailability). Sulforaphane induces glucoronidation, which is usually a good thing, but an argument could be made that it should not be consumed at the same time as turmeric.

      I am very interested in liver metabolism. Many foods and herbs turn out to have powerful liver enzyme inducing and supressing effects. Dandelion root tea, for example, can double glucuronidation, and this is surely one of the reasons underlying it long being considered a liver tonic. (See article: “Effect of herbal teas on hepatic drug metabolizing enzymes in rats”: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1211/0022357011777819 )

    2. Umm… “cannibus and smoke”…. when and where was it ever said on nf.org that cannabis counteracts the negatives of smoke inhalation?????

      Also, you can eat rice if you want, just know where it’s grown. Avoid the southern states. Lundberg is an awesome company with very low arsenic levels.

      1. Oh and it’s also said in one of his videos that turmeric helps to detoxify arsenic. I can’t remember the video but I’m guessing it’s either in one of the rice or thermic videos… just a guess lol.

        1. YG, it was never stated at all that anything possitive in the cannibis counteracts the negatives of smoke inhalation. In fact, smoking a joint is actually worse for the lungs than a cigarette but it was a matter of how often people smoked, so accumulateively there is more damage to the lungs from cigarettes due to the amount smoked. Smoking is just an unhealthy way to take anything in.

          Yes, I’ve seen all of Dr. Greger’s rice videos. In at least one of them he mentions Lundberg. He basically just gives all the info so people can make up their own minds. The biggest concern is where it’s grown. My statements are spread throughout his whole rice series. I almost don’t want to attempt to paraphrase this because I don’t remember it well enough, but at the end of one of his rice videos his suggestion was something like saying if you loved rice then eat it if you want but he suggests choosing a different grain if you can take it or leave it. I personally feel amazing on whole grain rice but i get California grown from Lundberg and I’m even lucky enough to favor the types with the lowest arscenic levels like their brown jasmine.
          Good question about cleaning up the soil, by the way. I wonder how long that would take if an effort were made.

          I hope to learn more about the function of pepperine. I don’t worry too much about it and just have faith in nature and the intelligence of our bodies, but I would like to know if there would be concern over having too after and all that.

          1. “ts.org

            Does Marijuana Cause Lung Cancer?
            Michael Greger M.D. FACLM October 3rd, 2018 Volume 44
            4.61 (92.26%) 62 votes
            On a puff-by-puff basis, cannabis smoke deposits four times more tar in the lungs than tobacco, but does this translate into increased cancer risk?

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            Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

            “There are at least 33 carcinogens in marijuana smoke,” such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, which are products of combustion found in grilled meat and flowing through the bodies of those that smoke marijuana, similar to what one sees flowing through the bodies of cigarette smokers. That’s really remarkable: most tobacco users inhale way “more smoke into their lungs” over the course of a day, so on a puff-by-puff basis, is marijuana smoke really that much worse?

            Well, it does seem to contain more benzopyrene and benzanthracene, which are “polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon procarcinogens,” compared to unfiltered cigarette smoke. But it may just be that cannabis users inhale more deeply, and then hold the smoke in longer, which can end up depositing four times more tar in the lungs, “amplifying exposure” to these carcinogens. And, unfortunately, bubbling the smoke through water, like in a bong, does not appear to reduce the risks of tar buildup.

            Yeah, marijuana smoke tar may have similar tumor-promoting effects as cigarette smoke… in mice, but what about in men (and women)?.

            Longtime marijuana users do have more cancer, more lung cancer, more oral cancer, voice box cancer—but only, it seems, because they also tend to be more likely to also smoke tobacco. After cigarettes were taken out of the equation, no increased risk was found.

            Same with head and neck cancer. One study found “increased risk,” but “five studies reported no association,” and “one study [found] decreased risk.” So yeah, “[r]egular use…causes airway injury [that can lead to] chronic bronchitis,” but no evidence of long-term lung damage, like emphysema. And, “[d]espite the presence of carcinogenic components,” no apparent increased risk of lung cancer— though “evidence is mixed regarding the risk of heavy, long-term use.” And that may be the crux.

            In terms of smoke exposure, even smoking a joint every day for 10 years may only translate to six months of pack-a-day cigarette smoking. “In most studies on tobacco smoking and lung cancer,” six months in a lifetime might get you “classified as [a] never smoker.” It may take a couple years of cigarette smoking to significantly bump lung cancer risk; and so, that would be like smoking a joint every day of your adult life. No wonder we can’t find a lung cancer link with casual marijuana use, though there is an alternative explanation. Maybe the antitumor effects of the cannabis plant are counteracting “the tumor-promoting effects of the carcinogens…in the smoke.” Wait; antitumor effects?

            Yes, in fact, the original demonstration of an anticancer effect, dating back to 1975, was against lung cancer cells, showing that THC can suppress their growth in a petri dish.”
            That was a quote from the transcript. A although there may be other negative aspects to marijuana smoke…

            Did you do the math to see if the levels in Lundberg are considered safe? I personally just eat other grains…

            1. YG,

              You referenced the first video but failed to acknowledge the followup video. There is no evidence to conclude that there is anything in cannabis that counteracts the negatives of smoke inhalation. In his followup video, it’s actually shown that there are compounds in cannabis that may actually increase certain cancer risks. Here is the followup video: https://nutritionfacts.org/video/can-cannabis-cure-cancer/

              Best to not inhale smoke and look to a whole foods plant based diet to help prevent cancer of which there is plenty of evidence.

              No math, no need to. I don’t think it’s anything to worry about, personally (apart form buying from good companies grown in the best soil for rice), so I eat it and I feel good on it. That’s why Dr. Greger and team have all those great videos on rice so we can all make up our own minds.

    3. 1) The metabolism is complex and very interesting. The most important thing to an individual is outcomes, like disease prevention or treatment, and this may not always be predictable given complex metabolic interactions and factors we may not yet be aware of. I can’t find clinical outcome-level data on this. Eat broccoli, include pepper and turmeric.

      2) Use rice from fields and companies that have voluntarily tested for arsenic. Arsenic lasts and irrigation water in fields for a very long time, and may never fully resolve. It’s best to avoid rice from areas that have used arsenic-based pesticides in the past.

      Here’s one of several videos Dr Greger has on this topic: https://nutritionfacts.org/video/how-much-arsenic-in-rice-is-too-much/

      3) Not every food item is all bad or all good. The mechanisms creating health benefits or adverse effects are complex. Some bad effects involve inflammation, but other processes, such as microbiome or epigenetic effects could be involves as well.

  2. SInce blueberries are insanely expensive where live and have a massive carbon footprint, how about red/purple cabbage? It’s cheap and loaded w/ anthocyanins…

      1. Thanks, that is very helpful!

        I bought some organic blueberries last night, but I am the type of person who is still internally trying to get out of eating them.

        I got a new iphone with more storage so that I can have apps and solving for genuinely liking blueberries is one of the habits I plan to have this year.

        Re-programming the mind and emotions is a full-time job, but I already learned to love spices and I learned to not hate oatmeal, broccoli, blueberries, blackberries, and cauliflower. A year ago, I could only stand broccoli and cauliflower if they were smothered in cheese sauce and now I eat them in my wraps and I had my first vegan cauliflower mac and cheeze a few weeks ago. I have a whole head of cauliflower in my fridge ready to roast.

        Moving from strong aversion to neutral to actually eating them sometimes has taken the whole first year, but I only have broken through emotionally to love about spices. Sigh. It feels like I am climbing Mt Everest sometimes, but I have spent the past year at base camp adjusting to the thin air and now I need to start thinking about how to get to the summit.

        I think the Apps will help. I also am going to go back to using training wheel foods and watching videos on the foods with my MicroPulse ICES on my vagal nerve and celebrating each small step. I am also going to incorporate brain music and make up my food superheroes and do visualization again.

        Creative and fun with lots of rewards until I love blueberries.

        1. I found a gamify your life App and I think eat blueberries will be one of my games.

          Laughing. I already do these games in my mind without Apps, but it was cool that someone invented an App, which thinks how I think.

    1. Geoffrey Levens, yes, blueberries are ridiculously priced in our area as well which may be why they can afford to dominate the study landscape. But, they are plenty of sources out there as good or better. The USDA removed the ORAC database from its nutrition website a while back citing abuses of the information in industry and by consumers. Read the second link I provided for a quick background summary… then I suggest you download the ORAC file of selected foods in the first link I provided. Anthocyanins are not the only game in town, and even there many foods have blueberries beat. Free roadside blackberries for example, or cranberries, chokeberries, or as I read in one of Dr Greger’s research sources, the leaves of blackberries and back raspberries. Your red cabbage too, cooked with maybe a bit of red onion and an apple, sprinkled with cinnamon, ginger and clove, and you have an antioxidant packed dish.

      http://r.duckduckgo.com/l/?kh=-1&uddg=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.orac-info-portal.de%2Fdownload%2FORAC_R2.pdf

      https://www.nutraingredients-usa.com/Article/2012/06/13/ORAC-has-ongoing-value-says-expert-as-USDA-removes-online-database

      1. Thank you so much for the references. The comments to Dr. Greger’s videos are amazing and so appreciated! Thank you all for taking the time to contribute

      2. To add to Barb’s list of anthocyanin-rich foods: black elderberry, maqui berry, black currant, black rice, black sesame, purple corn, egg plants.

        1. …pomegranates, purple potatoes and purple yams, prunes and beets. Radishes may beat out most of them since according to the chart on this video, just two radishes have more anthocyanins than half a cup of grapes, raspberries, strawberries or cherries. When we consider than half a cup of sliced radishes is the same as about 14 medium radishes, then radishes have almost 3 times the anthocyanins as blueberries by cup measure.

        2. Also blood oranges have anthocyanins and are in season right now. They taste so good! Even had organic ones at our local store.

    2. Yes, purple cabbage is a great source of anthocyanins! Other good sources include cherries, cranberries, blackberries, black currents, purple carrots, purple potatoes, red grapes, balsamic vinegar and darkly pigmented beans (for more information, see here: https://nutritionfacts.org/topics/anthocyanins/). You could also consider looking for frozen blueberries as they are often less expensive than fresh and can be found year-round in more places.

      In addition to consuming anthocyanin-rich foods, following a whole food plant-based diet in general has been proven to be very effective in preventing and treating type 2 diabetes. For more information, see here: https://nutritionfacts.org/topics/diabetes/.

  3. You can get a healthy slug of blueberries every day in a mid-morning, power-snack smoothie. Two of the smoothie recipes in the How Not To Die Cookbook use blueberries, Cherry-Berry and Banana Chocolate. (Three, if you count the Mayo Clinic Green Smoothie.)

    Making a smoothie is super easy. If you leave out the almond butter, clean up is as simple as spinning some soapy water in the blender for a few seconds.

  4. Much cheaper in some parts of the world (UK), and perhaps just (almost) as healthy as blueberries, are blackberries and blackcurrants. Quite tart, but perfect in banana smoothies.

  5. Does this mean that blueberries would decrease my insulin level? I have metabolic syndrome. Normal fasting blood sugars of 91 for years but high insulin which causes darkening of skin under arms and around neck.

    1. Tammy, did you ever have the A1C test? Even though your fasting blood sugar is 91, you may “spike” after meals, causing the darkening of the skin under your arms and around your neck. Best of luck to you.

      1. Right, fasting blood sugar levels can be very misleading – if they are high, that’s a warning, but normal levels do not mean there is no problem whatsoever. My wife, even on a 100% WFP diet, has normal (actually low normal) fasting glucose level but high postprandial spikes, even on a 100% WPF diet. We learned this from her A1c test, which put her smack in the middle of the prediabetic range at 6.0.

        We were shocked because she is also very thin and exercises. However, she does have a genetic predisposition since she is Japanese and her mother was slightly diabetic, at least in her old age. In my wife’s case, even whole grains with low GI e.g. pearl barley, and fruit like wild blueberries spike her blood sugar over 140 at one hour. Long term, frequent spikes over 140 at one hour are associated with increased mortality risk as the sugar can attach to cells causing damage. I mention this because it seems commonly assumed that anyone who is not diabetic can handle lots of whole grains, starchy vegetables and fruit. This is not my wife’s case.

        Although she is no doubt in the minority, it is good to keep in mind that there is significant individual variation in how food influences the body. The Japanese are a good case in point. Diabetes among the Japanese is heavily determined by genetics. We had been on a McDougall-style diet for about a year, when we discovered she is pre-diabetic. Turned out that sweet potatoes rocked her blood sugar into the diabetic range, although it came down pretty quickly, within about 2 hours. Continuing with that diet would have been damaging to her health over the long term, and the only indication of a problem was her A1c result. She is now on an extremely low whole grain, starchy vegetable diet, relying mostly on beans/legumes (in particular, split peas and lentils) for her carbs, with limited amounts of fruit (emphasizing red raspberries, cranberries, and avoiding blueberries, and red grapefruit). She has also upped the nuts/seeds considerably to keep her calories high enough so she does not lose too much weight (as I mentioned she was already very thin). She has found that if she does 15 minutes of high intensity intervals on an exercise bike 30 minutes after eating, her blood sugar easily remains under 140 and quickly drops to 80-100. Less intense exercise does not have the same effect.

  6. Awesome stuff , The only problem with this great information, is I’m not wanting to forward it on because if everyone starts eating blueberries, the cost, which is high now, will become exorbitant. The word is getting out, but I need a good head start. Ha.

    1. I understand how you feel. Cabbage for pain is working so well for my family I got the fear that if everyone finds out the price of cabbage will go up. But I remembered how easy they are to grow so I am starting my seeds now. I am also adding Blue berry bushes to my yard.

      1. Patricia D. Brown, I have planted blueberries in my yard. The first set, mail order, are languisihng. The second set, a local nursery, are doing better. The birds and other critters (chipmunks?) eat the blueberries. I should use netting — though I’ve heard the birds can get trapped in it.

        So, good luck!! Suburban gardening is tough: small garden plots and beds, lots of critters who thrive in the suburbs.

    2. David,

      Yes, I have that thought every time the organic fruits and vegetables run out.

      I got the last package of organic blueberries the stores around me had yesterday.

      I ate 30 blueberries and 15 blackberries, but I am wondering if there will be any organic ones there by the end of the week.

    3. How can we put pressure on our stupid government (speaking from the U.S, here) to stop subsidizing animal “foods” and start subsidizing non-gmo and preferably organic produce?! SPECIFICALLY non-gmo/organic because Monsanto does not need more help or power and we want sustainable and thoroughly healthy food and a planet. I guess the often joked about “big kale” would have to become a thing… or just a really powerful public.

  7. CAN YOU PLEASE EXPLAIN WHY VEGANS GETS SHRINKING BRAINS? THAT YOU SAID IN A VIDEO OF YOURS ON NUTRITION.ORG,
    AND YOU SAID THAT VEGANS SHOULD EAT OPTI 3 SUPPLEMENT:
    BUT WHAT ABOUT US WHO HAVE NO THYROID AND ARE VEGANS.WHO CANNOT EAT ALGES BECAUSE IT CONTAINS A LOT OF IODINE.
    WHAT SHALL WE DO?
    I AM VEGAN AND EAT BOTH COOKED AND RAW.
    YOU SAID IN A VIDEO TO NOT EAT SPIRULINA,NOT EAT IRISH MOSS ,JUST TO EAT CLOREALLA AND NOW YOU SUGGEST THIS ALGES SUPPLEMENT??? THAT IS VERY EXPENSIVE AS WELL?
    AND WHAT ABOUT VEGANS WHO CANNOT AFFORD IT TO EAT IT FOREVER!
    WHAT IS THE DIFFERENT?
    DOES OPTI 3 CONTAIN IODINE?
    SHOULD WE EAT SOME ANIMALFOOD.WE WHO HAVE NO THYROID OR WHAT TO DO TO NOT GET SKRINKING BRAINS???!!
    AND WHY DOES VEGANS GET SHRINKING BRAINS ACCORDING TO YOU IN YOUR VIDEO??
    PLEASE ANSWER THIS!! I HAVE ASKED THIS BEFORE WITH ABSOLUTE NO ANSWER!
    THAT IS NOT NATURAL:
    IS IT JUST THOSE WHO EAT ANIMAL PRODUCTS WHO DO NOT GET SHRINKING BRAINS????
    OR WHAT DO YOU MEAN?
    AND ARE YOU SPONSERED TO PROMOTE THIS SUPPLEMENT OPTI 3???
    JUST WONDER?? BECAUSE IT MAKES NO SENSE! I DO NOT UNDERSTAND WHY VEGANS SHOULD GET SHRINKING BRAINS!
    OR IS IT SO THAT US VEGANS SHOULD ALSO EAT ANIMAL FOODS TO AVOID IT!
    OR DO YOU NOT HAVE AN ASWER TO THIS.
    I LIKE YOUR OTHER VIDEOS BUT THIS VIDEO TURNS EVERYTHING UPSIDE DOWN TO BE A VEGAN AT ALL!
    IT MAKES NO SENSE!
    Marie Falk

    1. Marie,
      I doubt that DHA/EPA supplements from algae contain much iodine if any. You could always make sure of this by contacting whatever brand you contemplate buying.

    2. Marie, he’s never said vegans get shrinking brains, where are you getting that from? On the contrary, a whole foods plant based diet is the most protective of the brain. Brain shrinkage occurs in humans on average as they age (but actually not in everyone) and it was simply shown that supplementing with DHA/EPA (which Dr. Greger recommends to do from algae oil supplements) could protect against brain shrinkage. I’m sure many whole plant foods are protective against this as well, probably blueberries included.
      I do not believe algae oil contains iodine, it’s simply the oil, it’s basically pure fat from my understanding. I’m also not sure that chlorella contains any substantial iodine, I didn’t think it did but can’t be sure. Algae oil supplements can be found at the same price as fish oil.
      I personally do not supplement with DHA/EPA, I just eat 2 tbsp of ground flax everyday and lots of other omega3 rich foods like hemp, chia, walnuts.

      No need to panic, over worrying is WAY worse than not being “perfect.” Stress is a horrible thing. Just eat the diet Dr. Greger recommends and you’ll be the healthiest version of you. If you want to supplement with algae oil, just look for a good but affordable company and contact the company to ease your mind about iodine.

      You’re right, it would make no sense, but he definitely did not say that as the science did NOT show that. That video wasn’t even about vegans, it was about people in general, probably on standard american diets no less. It simply showed that EPA/DHA supplements could help. Dr. Greger would not recommend a WFPB diet if it harmed our brains. Again, quite the opposite, it’s the best thing for our brains…. and eyes and heart and skin and liver and kidneys etc, etc, etc…

  8. Marie Falk, Are you confusing the website: “Nutrition.org” with “NutritionFacts.org” ? From what I can tell, the views on nutrition of each of these website vary considerably. The one you’re on now is NutritionFacts.org

    1. Hal, I was poking around to see how Marie might have gotten confused and found this page https://www.ornish.com/zine/brand-omega-3s-recommend/ Ornish usually doesnt care about brands, but here he mentions 2 as examples including the opti3. The paragraphs following were interesting! A warning for those with heart failure or with angina should NOT take omega 3s .

      Also, didn’t Dr Greger do a video on B vitamins and shrinking brains? lol I will check

    1. Barb, Good find! I reviewed that video again and yes, the Vegans had a high homocysteine level, correlating with brain shrinkage, because of B12 deficiency.
      I noticed that Marie typed the “Nutrition.org” website in her comment, so I thought maybe that was a typo.

      1. I thought she was just misinterpreting his algae oil recommending video where he showed that brain shrinkage occurs in most people as they age and simply showed that EPA/DHA supplementation could help. Poor thing is panicked. I understand that, though. It can be overwhelming when you first learn the real science on nutrition and realize everything you were previously taught was essentially a lie.

        1. And the constant slew of misinformation on the internet is no help. Grateful for Dr. Greger making the real science readily available to us. Freaking grateful.

          1. S, Yes, Whenever I encounter a “confusing” study that pops up countering the WFPBD way of eating, I resort back to basic human anatomy to realize that it is probably a biased and/or flawed study. There is so much evidence supporting the fact that human anatomy is not well suited to eating animal products: meat, eggs, fish, nor especially dairy products.

  9. I purchase frozen blueberries in the local grocery store when they are on sale as “buy one, get one for free.” I stock up on them. If you contact Wymans, ask them for coupons. They graciously sent me two $2.50 coupons that can be used torwards their 2 lb or 3 lb frozen berries which are wild blueberries. Your health is worth the berries but variety helps too.

    1. We also enjoy Wymans wild blueberries, I will start ensuring I put at least 1/2 cup with my oat bran and cinnamon for breakfast. Have picked and eaten wild blueberries in Alaska, Michigan, and Colorado. The Alaska ones are the best–very tart. Berry picking in Alaska 50 years ago required two essential items, a bucket and a .44 magnum for bear repellent.

    2. Ruth, I’ve been reading about the high price of blueberries and am confused since my local W-Mart has been selling an almost 3lb package of store brand frozen wild blueberries for just a little over $4.xx.

      In case it was a seasonal or temp oversupply, I buy them 4 or 5 pkgs at a time. They are not listed as organic but it seems their being wild should mean they don’t require farmed berry treatments? I eat them as a desert by adding frozen cherries to the bowl and pouring almond or some other nut milk over them.

      The nut milk instantly freezes around each berry creating an ice-cream like replacement… for me anyway.

    1. You are doing fabulous!

      Some of us who grew up hating blueberries have been going through an extensive process and I ate them today without any training wheel foods at all.

      Just straight from the container. I seem to enjoy fruits and vegetables better that way. Just raw and plain.

      I do put things in dishes, where you can’t taste them and sometimes can’t even see them, and I do fine with that, too.

      I keep looking at Dr. Greger’s grain bowl and keep not wanting to put blueberries on it, but I did have a revelation that I already love blueberries because of all the things that they do, so I started confessing that. I love blueberries. I just haven’t had the revelation that I love eating them yet. I feel like once I get that I really do love them that it will be like when people get the revelation that they love each other and eventually they enjoy each other. It is coming, but today, I can genuinely already say that I love blueberries and that I eat them.

      My family is funny that way. My brother used to say about vegetables, “I like them, I just don’t eat them.” And I was projectile vomiting whenever the salad bars or Chinese restaurants used MSG and was passing out with some of the chemicals used in shipping. And was throwing up with berries and banging my head on the refrigerator with green grapes, which I genuinely did like, except the passing out. I also didn’t like spices, so when I had foods from many countries, it wasn’t the vegetables’ fault. It was the spices. Plus, I was assigned peeling everything and didn’t like doing it and it made a big mess and added to clean up. Plus, when the vegetables were served, mostly, it was as a very boiled side dish and we had to eat it to get dessert and it became the obstacle to the chocolate. All negatives. The only place I had positives with fruits or vegetables was casseroles, creamy soups, and stews, which were all comfort foods, so I did eat some, but the main focus of the casseroles was always the starch. When Dr. Greger did the recent blog that the people who were vegetable-centered, rather than starch-centered, I couldn’t think of one dish, which would be vegetable-centered without mostly being starch-centered, other than salad and soup. The recipes were all rice and potatoes and beans and sweet potatoes and root vegetables. The rest, I eat raw or steamed in the microwave versus all of the starch-based recipes I have.

      Well, for today, I shall celebrate that I got the revelation that I genuinely love blueberries. I also must love broccoli. I just don’t know it yet.

      1. Laughing because the over-boiled vegetables may have been my fault.

        Some of us don’t have a good sense of time-passed and didn’t use a timer.

        But it wasn’t just that they were over-boiled, they were also often cold by the time the meat was finished cooking, and if they weren’t cold right at the start, they definitely were cold by the time we were threatened to eat them or not get dessert.

        1. Too much miscellaneous oversharing. It would help to be able to keep up with extra nutritional info but don’t have the time to wade through lengthy irrelevant chitchat that hides the valuable information

          Dr Greger is helping people’s health. We should help that goal by keeping the forum clean of noise. Noise here gets so voluminous and dense that it potentially HARMS people’s health by obfuscating the valuable information. Please start a Facebook fans of Dr Greger wfpb group on the side to chat and share personal stories and encourage each other, just not here please

          1. I am sorry for injuring you.

            Tonight, after I posted that I watched a relative of mine punish a young person by threatening to make them eat vegetables if they didn’t behave.

            I am not going to do this process online anymore. I think there are some things people have to walk through alone.

            I got some Apps today and I can do it on my computer and not share publically.

            Sorry again. I have a broken brain and the concept of injuring your brain breaks my heart so much. I won’t do it anymore.

            1. I am going to be praying for your brain.

              I told God that I know that I need to move away from people and that it just has all been so scary that I came here as a touchstone of sorts.

              I am going to pull away from people now and try to focus on doing the small steps forward and see if that helps.

              I don’t know if my brain is too broken. It might be too late.

              I am sorry again.

              1. Deb
                Don’t be silly , the only reason I read this comment section is to see what you have to say about the vids .
                Sometimes I even read Fumblefinger but he is a distance second .Sorry Fumbles . Quite a few others add value to the discussions thank you!

                1. I agree mrpinkerton and Dennis! All are welcome, and so are stories, comments, questions, suggestions .. no need to go anywhere Deb! Always look forward to your insightful, engaging, and helpful posts :)

              2. Deb, I agree with the majority of other commenters here that your posts are valuable! No need to stop posting here. If anyone doesn’t want to read your posts, It’s so easy to skip over them. Besides, I don’t have a Facebook account and don’t plan to get one because I don’t agree with their policies on using and profiting from people’s private information!

              3. Dennis, Pinkerton, Barb, Hal,YG,

                You guys handled that wonderfully. Thanks for supporting our Deb while not roughing up the “dissenting party.”

                Nice to know that the forum is amenable to off-topic discussions. I’ve been known to do that occasionally. =]

  10. I agree. I was under the impression that off topic posts were encouraged. See my first post on this page and please provide more answers!

  11. Got pretty much all my relatives eating blueberries now. I buy the big 4 lb bag of frozen organic blueberries from Costco. Forgot the price, but definitely cheaper than buying fresh and of course you don’t have to worry about them spoiling. Costco has a great selection of organic frozen fruits and veggies.

    1. Sidney, MD

      Just curious whether or not you care where the blueberries are sourced? Does it matter to you if they are from Chile, Mexico, etc.?

      1. No don’t care about the source as long as its not China. Generally look for organic foods. I never eat any food products from China, organic or not. The Costco organic blueberries are from Canada.

  12. Brilliant video. I do wish they’d differentiate between cultivated blueberries and wild blueberries, though. In the past I read that wild has more antioxidants possibly due simply to their smaller size, but more recently while briefly reading about the difference, it’s actually thought that the reason wild blueberries have more antioxidants and a wider variety of anthocyanins is due to growing factors–the plant undergoes a lot more stress. While I’m sure all blueberries are beneficial (without a doubt), it would be helpful to know what type is used study to study.

    1. it’s actually thought that the reason wild blueberries have more antioxidants and a wider variety of anthocyanins is due to growing factors–the plant undergoes a lot more stress.
      ——————————————————————————————
      This has always been my understanding for just about anything grown naturally. I think tomatoes that suffer briefly during their growing season are also more nutritious. However, they shouldn’t suffer the same as mine have… they suffered to death. ‘-)

  13. Why is the recommendation to eat a bowl of oatmeal in the morning with flaxseeds and blueberries? Apparently oatmeal and flaxseed have melatonin in them. Wouldn’t it better to eat it for dinner?

    1. Apparently oatmeal and flaxseed have melatonin in them. Wouldn’t it better to eat it for dinner?
      ——————————————————————————————————————————
      Interesting… I’ve noticed some of my supplements (Ashwagandha for instance) sometimes causes me to drop off in front of the computer. But when I’m inside, at the computer I usually have a cup of tea of some flavor or another and often eat an oatmeal cookie (as I’m doing now) with a few drops of CBD oil dropped on. Haven’t felt sleepy when doing that so maybe the CBD oil counteracts any food borne melatonin rise.

      About an hour before bed I take some scheduled supplements and put on a pair of amber shades to uptick my melatonin naturally.

    2. I eat so many melatonin-containing foods whenever… I suspect that in the package of a whole plant food, your body just isn’t going to react to it like it would a drug and it can more intelligently utilize it as needed.

  14. Whoa, did the last study just call 300g of blueberries (two cups) one portion? As I understood it one serving was typically associated to be a half cup. Okay, okay, serving and portion are two different terms. Eh, maybe I’m nitpicking, certainly the takeaway is blueberries are good and eat larger portions if you can?

    1. Joseph,

      Several studies were discussed. If you read over the transcripts you will see that Dr Greger’s recommended 1/2 cup per day of berries is a generous suggestion. In the first paragraphs we see that only 35 mg of anthocyanins (couple of spoonfuls of blueberries) several times per WEEK was associated with 23% less diabetes type 2 developing. In the last experiment they used blueberry powder eqivalent to 3 cups, then tried other quantities. 1/2 cup equivalents worked well.

        1. In another video, it was shown that cardiovascular benefits peak at two cups (I believe they used wild) so going over that amount wouldn’t give greater results in that regard, but eating less also helped. I think your bottom line is pretty much the way to go.

  15. Hi,

    What about blueberries and echinococcosis, caused by the parasite echinococcus ?

    Its microscopic eggs can be found on blueberries (that have been picked under 50 cm from the ground) and after years of growth in the liver and other organs can be lifethreatning ?

    These eggs are only destroyed by heat.

    Are the anthocyans also damaged by heat ? I love blueberries but now I always eat them cooked…

    Thank you for any information you may have on this subject.

    Elisabeth

    1. Hmmmm, I wonder if soaking in a bowl of Hydrogen Peroxide water would make them (or any other food) safe. I’m just guessing that any H2O2 would evaporate once the foodstuff was allowed to dry on a cup towel or paper towel?

      1. I’m also curious if something like blueberry jam or jelly (the gelatin in jelly is also healthful I think) doesn’t maintain the nutrients?

        I haven’t checked but like some other preserved fruits or berries, there are many “no sugar added” brands available.

    2. Elisabeth, I do not believe they’re destroyed. Benefits of cooked blueberries were mentioned in one video somewhere around here… I only remember because I was so glad to hear they still contained antioxidants countering internet crap I’ve read.
      Plus, he talks about blue/purple potato benefits to the heart (check out his video on them!) which I believe are due to the anthocyanins and obviously the potatoes are cooked.

      I know nothing of these parasites but I would imagine if there were legit concerns that Geeger would mention them considering he reccomends them. And I think frozen are blanched so those might work for you if you’re worried.

      1. Barb, in the link you provided they do mention home-harvested meat being the problem.

        But in re: the larger commercial providers of meat, I wonder if irradiating the meat might kill any biologic contaminates?

        I haven’t heard a lot about irradiation in a few years but it seemed to me like the known positives outweighed any feared negatives.

    3. Do you have an authoritative reference for your statement that echinococcosis is transmitted through blueberries? All the literature I see shows that it is transmitted via animal consumption. Furthermore, in 2010, 1200 people died from it with most cases in Asia and Africa. In the USA, our average traffic deaths per year are on the order of about 40,000/year, and cancer is about 600,000 per year. I think I would stop driving (which I won’t) before I start cooking my blueberries (assuming they can transmit this disease, which I see no evidence of.) Because yes, heating anthocyanins in blueberries does degrade it, by about 50%.

      Dr. Ben

    4. Hi, Elisabeth! I looked up echinococcus, and found this from The Lancet: https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(03)14573-4/fulltext
      The author describes it as zoonosis, meaning it is transmitted from animals to humans, and transmission as almost always sylvatic, meaning it mainly affects wild animals. I searched PubMed for Echinococcus and blueberry. Nothing came up. I am not sure where you found this information, but I do not hesitate to eat raw blueberries, after washing. If you are really concerned, maybe wash them with food-grade hydrogen peroxide.

      1. but I do not hesitate to eat raw blueberries, after washing. If you are really concerned, maybe wash them with food-grade hydrogen peroxide.
        ———————————————–
        Asked about this earlier…

        “Hmmmm, I wonder if soaking in a bowl of Hydrogen Peroxide water would make them (or any other food) safe. I’m just guessing that any H2O2 would evaporate once the foodstuff was allowed to dry on a cup towel or paper towel?”

        thanks for confirming.

  16. Hello S and Barb and all the others here,
    yes, I live in France and the frozen blueberries we find here usually come from Poland. I wonder if they are blanched …
    Thank you again for your answers !

    1. Hi Elisabeth,

      I’m in the U.S so I don’t know if it’s different, but I know that they have to blanch vegetables before freezing them to give them a longer shelf life, I would assume the same goes for fruit but I can’t tell you for sure. Your best bet would be to contact the company and ask them. Good luck! But also feel good about eating your cooked berries because you’re still getting antioxidants!

  17. Daily dozen app recommends 60g of berries daily but this video recommends 150g and Dr G even states that a 1/2 cup and not 1/4 cup is needed to get the benefit. Please advise?

    1. Swen, all recommendations are correct. That is, there is no wrong answer or approach when it comes to blueberries.

      Personally, I just pour (frozen) them into a bowl… over the years that approach will have saved me xxxx amount of time measuring. ‘-)

      (Oh, and don’t be afraid to get creative… I also add frozen cherries and almond milk to the bowl… makes for a great treat.)

      1. I read the content of the article summary outlined in blue (time 0.23 min) as Dr Greger spoke only about blueberries. I noted that the study actually involved both blueberries (at 2 servings/wk) and pears/apples (at 5 servings/wk) vs less than 1 serving of either/month. The consumption of both were beneficial. However, he only noted the beneficial effects of the blueberries!! The authors also said the pears/apples had lots of anthocyanins too (really?)!!

        Maybe someone should review the entire article with a critical eye and let us know why Dr Greger did not include the benefits of other fruit and if either apples or pears have lots of anthocynanins. Thanks

        1. Hello,

          You’re correct in stating that the article also talked about other fruits; however, this video in particular was focused on blueberries. I can’t speak for Dr. Greger, but I believe the reason he would have left out a detail like that is because all the other research referenced in this video pertained to berries so it was best to keep with that theme and focus the entire video on berries. Often times videos will be made that reference the same research, but speak about different findings within that research so you may just end up getting another video about this article later on.

          I hope this clears up your question,

          Matt, Health Support

      1. Thanks Ivan, I was confused, you are right. Indeed, he is recommending 300g of blueberries yet the Daily Dozen app is recommending only 60g of total berry consumption: that’s a 5x difference?! Can some authority out there take this issue on? Thanks!

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