Happy Sunday everyone, and welcome to your Sunday Quickie. I regularly get asked what I eat to stay in the single digits year round with regard to body fat, and this is partly due to the fact that I maintain a ketogenic diet throughout the year. Occasionally I use carbs as a method of boosting insulin and growth along with increasing strength, but I treat them as a supplement. I am always in different stages regarding the number of carbohydrates consumed and the timing involved, but remaining low carb year round is in reality the way I prefer to fuel myself for a number of reasons. So in keeping with the Ketosis posts of late, I thought I would introduce you to the third food that along with peanut butter and avocado, gets my vote as another incredibly delicious and nutritious super food.
It’s generally assumed that fruits are a no go when it comes to low carbing, and usually that’s true, but there are exceptions and I intend to bring you articles on all of them. Over the next little while, I’ll be revealing how I survive on such a restrictive diet, year round. Both of the italicized words were meant to be read with a sarcastic tone by the way. The first fruit we will look at is the small, but powerful blueberry. It borders on comical just how ridiculously packed with antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, flavonoids, trace minerals and fiber this litte berry has. In keeping with the low carb theme, half a cup only has nine grams of net carbs. Try adding them to chicken or beef salad with lots of leafy greens and straight up olive oil for dressing. That my friends is a healthy meal that stays within the carbohydrate allowance of even the most rigid ketogenic disciple.
This is supposed to be a quickie, but I’m not sure that will be possible when it comes to the blueberry. So I won’t have to write 4000 words, I’ll try grouping some of the nutrients together and do my best not to get too carried away. When it comes to writing, I have a tendency to write too much. Keeping the words to a respectable and easily digested number for you will always be a challenge. See? I’m doing it now, right after I said I wouldn’t.
In the antioxidant category we have so many unbelievably helpful nutrients. Giving the blueberry it’s color is anthocyanin. The darker the berry, the better the berry. Blueberries contain five different types of anthocyanins, and all are useful in suppressing the growth of cancer cells. Resveratrol has anti-fungal properties, reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease by lowering cholesterol, is also a suppressor of cancer growth, and has anti-inflammatory properties. Blueberries are one of the best sources of resveratrol. Allagic acid slows the growth of tumors, helps the liver cleanse blood of cancer causing agents, and has anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties as well. Those are the less common antioxidants that are found in abundance in blueberries.
Similar to antioxidants, flavonoids help neutralize overly reactive oxygen-containing molecules, and prevent these overly reactive molecules from damaging the cells. This is the definition of antioxidant, so while not labeled as such, flavonoids do the same job as their antioxidant brethren. Catechin, myricetin, quercetin, ankaempferol and epicatechin round out the impressive list. Another possibility is that flavonoids exert their protective strength through glutathione support. If you’re wondering what that is, much is written about glutathione in the Whey vs Casein article.
Now that we’ve covered a lot of the fancy nutrients, it is time to cover the enormous list of common vitamins and minerals. Starting with the vitamins, vitamin C is present and accounted for, and offers us improved immunity, healthy teeth, gums and bones as well as more cancer protection. If scurvy is a concern of yours then fear it no more because vitamin C has your back! Vitamin E offers more of the same, because it is sort of like the fat soluble version of C. It can’t be produced by our bodies, so it essential we get it through diet. Vitamin A is essential for healthy skin, eyes, bones, immune function and cell development. It is a free radical scavenger as well, and is considered a defender against aging. Beta-carotene, another source of vitamin A, is an antioxidant that collects under the skin in our fatty tissue to protect against UV damage. Niacin helps to metabolize food to fuel, and is important to skin health as well as the nervous and digestive systems. Thiamine and riboflavin, vitamins B1 and B2 respectively, are also at the party. They are both important for the metabolism of fats and proteins, as well as important for skin, eye, heart, brain and nerve cell health. That wheelbarrow full of vitamins are all in ready supply in that tiny blueberry.
On to the minerals. Iron is present and is essential for the formation of hemoglobin in the blood, which carries oxygen throughout our body. Silicon, which is a trace mineral, is believed to be valuable in the rejuvinating the pancreas. Potassium, an intracellular electrolyte, is necessary for water balance in the muscles and nerves as well as digestion and maintaining an even heart beat. Maganese is responsible for making enzymes that metabolize fats and proteins, as well as assisting in bone formation, insulin balance, the health of connective tissues(important!), and our thyroid health. That concludes our visit to the mineral store on planet blueberry.
The last thing I will add to this absurdly long list of positive benefits bestowed upon our body by one of the smallest things you can eat is that blueberries are also a great source of fiber. I aim to prove to the world, or at least a very small fraction of it, that the ketogenic lifestyle can actually offer more health benefits than a diet rich in carbohydrate. If necessary I will do this one food at a time, but I think for today that the point has been more than made. If you are looking for a fruit to compliment your low carb lifestyle, then look no further than the blueberry. As far as I can see it’s almost and entire food group unto itself, or at least a pretty spectacular compliment to a well balanced diet. Until next time my friends,
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