Remember how last week I was bummed because a new study said cooked broccoli delivers only one tenth the awesome antioxidant goodness that raw broccoli does? And I was all mopey because I hate raw broccoli?
Well, the Nutrition Gods must have heard my whining and felt sorry for me, because shortly thereafter they sent me new research saying: stuff I'm already eating is good for me in ways I didn't know about! Hooray! That's my very favorite kind of research.
So what was the good news about berries?
Whoops! Broccoli Digression
But wait--before I get to the berries, here's an update on the raw broccoli situation. As it happened, there was a happy ending.
Those of you who read the blog regularly know that I am Certified Crackpot when it comes to antioxidants and other micronutrients. I harbor the delusion that if I eat a large variety of these things I will never, ever die. So after hearing that the kind of broccoli I liked was lame and would not make me live forever, I was distraught.
But help arrived!
In the comment section to the raw broccoli post, DragonMama (who also goes by Naomi) suggested that I try "broccoli slaw." I hadn't even heard of it, but sure enough, I went to the "we're going to charge you up the wazoo 'cause it's already washed and chopped" section of the produce department, and there was a big 'ol bag of the stuff.
I confess I was skeptical. Broccoli slaw is presumably made from broccoli. How could it not taste vile?
But it doesn't!
Sure, it took a little dressing to make it tasty (which could have theoretically been a healthy home-made dressing with no sugar and only good fats; let's just pretend it was, shall we?) Anyway, I mixed a little dressing in and it worked! Now if I can remember to keep a package of this stuff handy, I can live to be 1,000 without having to choke down any nasty little raw broccoli florets. Thanks, Dragonmama!
All right, that's enough about the damn broccoli.
Berries Don't Have to Be Blue
So we already know berries are good for us in general sorts of ways, but it's always nice to hear the specifics. And the New York Times has great things to say recently about berries as cancer-fighters.
Now I always thought blueberries were supposed to be cancer-fighters, but it turns out while they may be awesome for your memory, other berries are more potent cancer-fighters. In particular, black raspberries seem to be where it's at. And the kinds of cancers they seem good at preventing are oral, esophageal and colon cancers.
One problem: what the hell is a black raspberry? I like raspberries; I like blackberries; I'm guessing I'd like a black raspberries too but I can't say I've ever met one. There's nothing like reading a study that says: oh you must eat this wonderful fruit that is so good for you and isn't available anywhere you shop!
However, there are other berries that scientists seem to think are promising in the anti-cancer department, like red raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, and elderberries. And it appears from rat studies that "a concentrated powder of black raspberry anthocyanins" worked just as well for slowing tumor growth in rodents as the real berries did. Rats who got whole berries or anthocyanin powder developed 50 percent fewer esophageal tumors compared to untreated rats.
The article conceded that berries can be expensive. It's rare that an article in the New York Times ever goes to the grocery store and finds out the price of things it tells you to eat, so kudos to this one for admitting that berries are pricey. Oh, and apparently you also need to eat
However, a cheerful cancer prevention researcher named Gary D. Stoner, (and I won't make fun of his name, that would be so immature),
suggested buying frozen berries, because they are available year round and often are cheaper than fresh berries. Which is great, because as it happens, frozen berries are a key ingredient in Crabby McSlacker's Easiest Smoothie Recipe ever! Also, for you supplement-buying sorts (I rarely go this route, because I'm cheap) there are apparently concentrated berry powders available in health food stores.
"We think for the average American, probably the consumption of three to four helpings of berries every week is a good thing," said Stoner. "We know berries have so many effects on processes related to cancer development. They are one of the food stuffs you probably should consider consuming every day, or at least a few times a week."
And unlike raw broccoli, berries of any color actually taste good!
Don't have any strong feelings about broccoli slaw or berries? Well, how was your weekend? Did you watch the Superbowl?