When I was in Alaska, I loved to go to the alpine country every summer. The scenery was absolutely gorgeous, but that's not the only reason I went. I went to harvest what I thought was nature's greatest bounty, the small but mighty blueberry. Bears gorge themselves on them every year. And so should we. Here's why:

Scientists recently discovered that these colorful little gifts from God have amazing anti-cancer attributes. In fact, this rat study showed that blueberries can reduce your risk of colon cancer by a stunning 57%. True, they conducted the study on rats. But, generally, the mechanism of these diseases crosses species lines.

In 18 rats, those supplemented with a blueberry compound had 57% fewer pre-cancerous lesions, as compared to the control group. And that was after just eight weeks.

But that wasn't all they did. The blueberry skins also lowered their cholesterol. A compound called pterostilbene in blueberries may lower lipids. The result is less cancer-inducing inflammation. Anthocyanins and ellagic acid, both flavonoid-type phytochemicals, which are rich in blueberries, play a role. They can block metabolic pathways that lead to cancer.

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My favorite blueberry is the low-bush arctic blueberry so abundant in the northland. However, you don't have to go there to benefit from these little wonders. Blueberries are cultivated all over North America. In the summer, My wife and I are fortunate to live near blueberry farms. We frequent farmers markets and buy them by the case (25 pounds). We eat them as a full meal sometimes, and freeze the balance to use in our smoothies for the "blueberryless" months.

If you have a family history of colon cancer, please make blueberries a regular part of your diet. Eat as many as you want - as often as you want.

Ref: Clinical Cancer Research, vol. 13, no. 1, January 1, 2007: 350-355; Newstarget, July 26, 2007.

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