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Berries Before Bed: How Antioxidants Work To Promote Good Health


Hibernating bears gorge in the wild berry patches before going down for their winter naps.  It turns out that the special phytochemicals in any red or blue berries-- phenolics-- have antioxidant benefits that can prevent the ever-present dangerous oxygen free radicals from damaging your cells.

If bears enjoy so many health-sustaining benefits from berries, what about you?

Perhaps you already have a protocol in place to build berries into your breakfast?  You make a berry smoothie, or heap your porridge with berries.  This feed of berries goes a long way to preventing free radical damage during your day.

Then you prepare and eat your supper/dinner (whatever you call your last meal of the day).  You feel sort of depleted by the stressful events that came before and throw together your favourite comfort foods-- maybe a burger and fries with a beer on the side.  Maybe a full-out three course meal with the family with a nice green salad... and animal fats and peeled veggies and cake and ice cream for dessert. Yum yum and you're done for the day.

Dr. Nikos Linardakis, MD, and author of Ten Natural Ways to a Good Night's Sleep, suggests that the time to take in a surge of phenolics is about two to four hours before going to bed.  (It is always a good idea to stop eating at least two hours before bedtime-- four is preferred).  The antioxidants will armour your body for the recovery and repair to your cells that is the natural role of a proper sleep.  The antioxidants you get before going to bed will stay in your bloodstream for about 8 hours before being processed through by your liver or kidneys and eliminated.

The proanthocyanidins in cranberries or blueberries (just examples) offer antioxidant and antibacterial gifts.  Your berry smoothie last night can turf out that cold or flu bug trying to get into your respiratory system at work today or delete the glommy bacteria trying to make its way up your urinary tract walls.  Dr. Linardakis was the first scientist to promote the benefits of antioxidants for sleep.

The next morning after having made a berry smoothie your last food item 2-4 hours before going to bed, you should also enjoy more energy and less grogginess!  Sounds very Win-Win to me!

Here are a couple of smoothie recipes from the Smoothie Moves site that you might want to try:

Locavar Black and Blue Smoothie Recipe

Blueberry Breakfast Bomb

Lemon-BlueberryBliss

The Saskatoon Berry (AKA June Berry) is a high antioxidant berry shown in the salad in the above vegan supper bowl. Find out more about the saskatoon berry and some recipes HERE.


Chia Puddings with Berries make a delicious high-omega and protein snack full of as many antioxidants as you want to stuff in!  Get this and other yummy superfood chia recipes HERE.


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