Dark Food for Thought.
Blue, Purple, and Black foods beg to be noticed. In fact, I find purple downright gaudy. So let's take a look under the hood to see if we can discover just why these foods are such flashy advertisers. First, the pigments:
And now, the unexpected benefits:
What $200 Billion Cannot Buy You.
For years, my father has owned and operated Alzheimer’s care facilities. I’ve had a unique opportunity to observe both the medical and financial impacts of this disease.
It costs about $200 Billion every year to take care of our current population of Alzheimer’s victims with any dignity. Two hundred BILLION dollars. And that number is mushrooming as baby boomers age. Worst of all, there is no cure for Alzheimer's disease. The medications we use to treat Alzheimer’s are aimed at masking symptoms, not reversing or stopping the underlying disease process.
Naturally, I’ve been intensely curious about any potential cognitive benefits we might derive from good nutrition. Turns out, blue foods might hold some answers--and make us anything but blue in the process.
Blueberries to the Rescue?
It’s still early days. But interesting research is afoot.
In 2010, Tufts University ran a study looking at the effects of wild blueberry juice on a small group of patients with early signs of memory loss and impaired cognitive ability. The group contained both men and women, average age 76. For three months, one half of the study participants drank two glasses of wild blueberry juice every day, while the other half drank a berry-flavored placebo.
The wild blueberry juice drinkers scored 30 percent higher on tests of memory and cognition than those who had been given the non-berry juice. What’s more, the berry drinkers were significantly happier than the non-berry drinkers. Now, I know I’d be happier if my memory were enhanced too, but could the berries also have had a separate and unique effect on the mood centers of the brain? Time will tell. More research needs to be done.
Dark Beauty; Bright Abyss.
With all the mystery surounding human consciousness, one thing might be knowable and true: Dark berries are good for the brain. They might actually preserve that electrified bright abyss we call Mind.
Dark berries are good for the brain. They might actually preserve that electrified bright abyss we call Mind.
Gaudy is for the Body.
Purple food is a bit garish, I'll grant you. Maybe that's why, according to NHANES data, 88% of Americans don't eat enough of it. Maybe we're just too practical and protestant for purple? I don't know. But it appears we could all use a bit more of the dark side in our diet.
So here's to bringing balance to the force. I'm already looking forward to going to the market again with my new set of dark lenses, aren't you? Imagine everybody together darkening up their shopping carts with the power of purple. We could change those NHANES statistics.
Yours in Health and Resilience,
Marc Wagner, MD
P.S. Check out these purple Peruvian potatoes. Aren't they gorgeous? And so tasty when baked. Give them a try next time you're in the market for color.
And for a delicious deep dive into purple, check out my recipe: Gluten-Free Wild Blueberry Cobbler. I'm lovin' it!