Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Blueberries Caused Me To Give Birth

By JccKeith

O.k. that's a deceptive title.  Blueberries didn't cause me to give birth.  They stimulated my body to increase the birth rate of brain cells in my hippocampus.  The hippocampus is not those pesky areas of increased fat on your sides or thighs.  Also, not the university where hippos go to college.  But speaking of college, sit down and brace yourself, I'm going to school you in the benefits of blueberries.  And then I'll explain to you how blueberries will help you write brilliantly and win a Pulitzer.

The hippocampus is the area in the brain responsible for memory.  And to be more specific, it was the roughly one cup of blueberries every day for a couple of weeks that did it.  To be even more specific, it was the roughly one cup of blueberries I added to my yummy low fat vanilla yogurt every day.  Honestly I couldn't eat them otherwise, they're a little too tart for my taste.

Blueberries, who knew, those cute little blue round thingies were so beneficial to the body?  Apparently, fruits rich in deep pigments help preserve the brain machinery and boost the power of neural signals.  They help turn on key systems in the brain and help other proteins involved in memory and a few other cognitive skills.

Now this next tid bit of information I can't really substantiate but it claims that blueberries help protect the brain from oxidative stress and could possibly, maybe, they really can't prove it, help reduce the effects of conditions like Alzheimer's Disease and Dementia.  One more thing, blueberries contain ellagic acid, this other super wonderful phytochemical that helps prevent cell damage.

I'm sure a lot of you have heard this mumbo jumbo before about oxidative stress and other such terms.  Oxidative stress is a real thing.  In normal cell reactions, cells undergo what are called redox reactions in which they either gain or lose electrons.  Oxygen, that thing we all love and  need, is not always a good guy.  Oxidation involves in many cases, the addition of an oxygen to a molecule.

Simply put, when these reactions go awry as they are wont to do (or at least they did in all of my chemistry experiments in college), you end up with reactive oxygen species.  These reactive oxygens then, because they can react with just about any molecules, run amok and form peroxides and other toxic molecules and damage the cell, proteins, and more importantly, DNA.

Neural cells are some of the most susceptible cells in your body and they are some of the most important.  Unfortunately, these free radicals (no not a musical group, they are reactive oxygens), attack and destroy or at least damage neurons.  What this means is that after enough are damaged, your body can't replace them fast enough or well enough and you start to see effects like memory loss, loss of cognitive functions such as in Dementia and the like.

Blueberry Goo
So how do blueberries protect your precious neurons from such cell damage?  They don't magically coat your neurons with a blueberry goo shield if that's what you're thinking.  It's a little more complicated than that.  The uncomplicated answer would be something along the lines of well, I don't know, some chemicals present in blueberries are released into your system upon digestion and interact in some beneficial way with your body.

The real answer is a lot more complicated and detailed.  You see, when you eat something and your body digests it, it doesn't magically break down into beneficial molecules that are readily usable by your body's systems.  Things you eat aren't made up of molecules with google maps telling them where they need to go in your body to work.  It's not so simple.  It's more like they are broken down into simple molecules that are then converted by enzymes in your system into other molecules which then interact with other enzymes and it is a chain reaction of small reactions that eventually lead to their ultimate destination.  I could probably whip out my biochemistry books and break it all down for you but none of us are interested in that. 

Why you're reading this, besides your unusual fascination with blueberries, is to find out how blueberries will turn you into a Pulitzer Prize winning author.  That might have been an exaggeration on my part.  Blueberries, as far as I've read, do not help your brain generate genius ideas or brilliant works of literature.  Blueberries, so far as writing is concerned, might only help you not forget where you put your snickers or caffeine laden beverage.

Let's face it, most authors will tell you, they didn't write their award winning works while munching on blueberries, unless it was a healthy eating book or something of that nature.  And even then, those authors writing those books, probably enjoyed their fair share of caffeine and sugar or sugar-like substance.

Blueberries, as pretty as they are, might, however, lead to your being a healthier eater.  They might, due to their location in the store near other fruits and veggies, lead you to buy strawberries and blackberries.  Both of those fruits, by the way, also boast brain boosting benefits.  This newfound ingestion of fruits might lead you to exercise like yoga or jogging or some other healthy pursuit.  All of that might just help you live longer.
And hey, if you're healthier and live longer, you might just live long enough to finish that novel you've been procrastinating on for most of your life.  And it might just win an award.  

  • My advice to you then would be, skip the blueberries and spend more time writing.  Blueberries are overrated.

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