A ‘Blue’ Reason Why Summer is the Season for Rediscovering Wellness Print
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Cancer - Cancer 2007
Written by Frank Mangano   
Tuesday, 31 July 2007 01:23

Every June 21st, when the summer makes its long awaited debut, people around the country rejoice—for summer is the “in season” season. Family reunions are scheduled, wedding halls are booked, baseball stadiums are flooded, swimming pools are frequented, vacations are planned, gardens are harvested and farm stands are opened. The opening of farm stands is particularly noteworthy for the fruit fans among us, as summer is the “in season” season for mouth-watering fruits like watermelon, cantaloupe, honey dew, strawberries and the highly touted, anti-oxidant rich blueberries. And if the tastes of these mouthwatering morsels weren’t enough of a lure, it’s increased by the well-documented findings that these delectable treats have high levels of antioxidants, which help ward off the body’s aging process.

But what if I told you another study was recently released—from the Garden State, no less—that indicates one of these summertime sweets can actually cut the risk of developing colon cancer in half? It’s true, and the proof is in the blueberry pudding.

According to researchers from New Jersey’s own Rutgers University, the blueberry’s key ingredient in warding off colon cancer—second only to lung in the leading cause of cancer-related deaths in America –is called pterostilbene. This compound seems to work its magic by warding off the pre-cancerous lesions and inflammation that occur in the genes.

The study used 18 rats that were induced with colon cancer in a manner that’s similar to how humans acquire the disease.

Splitting the rats into groups of nine, researchers supplemented half of the rats with the pterostilbene compound. Stunningly, after two short months, the rats given the pterostilbene had reduced levels of precancerous lesions found on their colon—57 percent fewer—than the rats who were not supplemented with the pterostilbene. They also found that inflammation in the colon was also reduced.

As promising and exciting a find as this is, it must be noted that blueberries don’t actually cure cancer. What they are able to do, however, is ward off the natural acquisition of colon cancer, according to the lead doctor of the Rutgers study, Dr. Bandaru Reddy. And this should be enough to start making blueberries a natural part of your diet.

As we all know, blueberries are available year round in virtually every supermarket around the country. But what makes “in season” so important is two fold: the fresher the fruits are, the healthier they are, as the vitamins and nutrients in blueberries begin to break down the moment they are picked from the plant itself. The other important aspect of blueberries being in season? They taste better!

So, when traveling around the country—or around the world—keep these months in mind for when you want to purchase blueberries but are unsure of whether blueberries are in season or not:

In North America, the harvesting months come between late April and late September, with July being the peak season for blueberries. Some of the largest blueberry producing provinces and states include Quebec, Nova Scotia (the Wild Blueberry Capital of Canada), Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick and British Columbia. In the United States, Michigan, New York, New Jersey, North Carolina, Georgia and Maine are among the largest producing blueberry states.

In South America, it’s pretty much the reverse of the United States, as harvesting begins around September and ends in March. Chile is far and away the largest producing country in South America, exporting large amounts of blueberries to the northern hemisphere. Argentina is another big blueberry producing country.

Though North America is far and away the largest blueberry producer around the country—accounting for 90 percent of the world’s production—they’re found all over the world, particularly dense in South Africa, New Zealand and Australia, where the peak season runs from September to March.

No matter where you are, no matter what you do, blueberries are there for you—both for your taste buds and for your well-being.



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