Blueberries Blast Belly Fat… and More!

Blue is the new black for slimming effects. Blueberries, that is. Research from the University of Michigan Cardiovascular Center found a diet rich in blueberries helped obese rats lose belly fat — the kind tied to heart disease and metabolic syndrome. The berry-loving rats also experienced lower cholesterol and improved glucose control and insulin sensitivity. These factors are related to diabetes risk.

While these results were seen even when rats consumed a high-fat diet along with the blueberries, the benefits were even greater when combined with a low-fat diet. Those fed the low-fat blueberry diet also lost body weight and fat mass.

The high levels of antioxidants such as anthocyanins in blueberries may be to thank for the health benefits. Based on data from the USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging, blueberries are among the fruits with the highest antioxidant activity. Other plant foods providing rich sources of anthocyanins include cranberries, blackberries, blackcurrants, red currants, cherries, and purple grapes.

A related study showed men with risk factors for heart disease who drank wild blueberry juice for three weeks experienced slight improvements in glucose and insulin control.

Putting the Squeeze on Cancer

Research shows a host of other health benefits from blueberries, too, including cancer-fighting power. A University of Illinois study looked at flavanoids, a compound that inhibits an enzyme involved in promoting cancer. Flavanoids are found in blueberries and other fruits. Of the fruits tested, wild blueberries showed the greatest anti-cancer activity. Blueberries also contain resveratrol, another potential anti-cancer agent.

Add These to Your Bucket List

Clearly blueberries should be on your grocery list for better health and potential weight loss. Plus an entire cup of fresh blueberries only has 84 calories and nearly 4 grams of fiber. With summer here, all berries are plentiful and at peak flavor. Enjoy!

To maximize your weight loss efforts, try Reliv’s Fit3 program and products. Combined with better food choices — such as blueberries — and exercise, it can help you burn fat, maintain lean muscle and lose weight. It’s a great way to get on a healthy track.

All Fat Is Not Created Equal

Now that the holidays are over, some of us may be finding our bellies a bit bigger than they were a few weeks ago. And while a jelly belly may have looked cute on Santa, it can signal increased risk for health problems in the rest of us — starting with metabolic syndrome. Extra weight around the middle is more dangerous than fat around your hips and thighs. Belly fat, which is visceral fat, is associated with inflammation and a higher risk for cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndrome and diabetes.
All fat is not equal. Subcutaneous fat is found all over our body, but is most noticeable on the hips and thighs. It’s the protective wrap over the body just under the outer layer of skin. Continue reading “All Fat Is Not Created Equal”