Do you want the good news or bad news? Let’s do the good news first!

Blueberries are incredible.

These tiny fruits pack a powerful punch. If blueberries didn’t have one of the highest concentrations of antioxidants in food, it would still be an incredible addition to any diet. Consider this:

  • Blueberries have been found to reduce LDL cholesterol
  • Studies have shown a 5% decrease in blood pressure
  • The antioxidants from blueberries were found to boost brain function and improve memory
  • Nutrient dense: 1 cup has 4 grams of fiber, Vitamin C,K, manganese, and only comes in at 87 calories
  • Helps regulate blood sugar levels

Why do I want antioxidants?

Antioxidants help the body fight off free-radicals. Free-radicals are oxygen containing molecules with an uneven number of electrons. This uneven number allows free-radicals to interact easily with other molecules. When free radicals interact with other molecules, it is called oxidization. This becomes a problem when the free-radicals are out of balance with the amount of antioxidants. When the system this system is out of whack, the free-radicals can begin to injure fatty tissue, DNA, and proteins.

If you don’t have access to freshly picked blueberries, choose frozen over blueberries in a carton. Frozen, preferably flash frozen, blueberries were found to have the same concentration of antioxidants as fresh-off-the-bush berries in a study. Researchers believes that the frozen blueberries can retain so much of their antioxidant power because when the anthocyanin freezes in the skin of the blueberry, that antioxidant goodness becomes frozen in time, waiting to be consumed.

But Robin, what’s the bad news?!

Sadly, I do have bad news.

One of my favorite ways to get my daily dose of antioxidants is by eating dark chocolate. I like to have (1) serving of 80-100% dark chocolate with my breakfast. Imagine my dismay when this Consumer Reports came out. In it, the researchers found that a high number of dark chocolate bars had an elevated amount of cadmium and lead in them. These two heavy metals are very bad for human consumption. Lead causes cognitive decline, while cadmium can injure the kidneys and weaken the bones.

That’s where the good news comes in!

Yes, the study found lead and cadmium in every single dark chocolate they tested, but in some bars, the metal numbers were low enough that doctors find them acceptable.

This link will show you a list of which chocolates are consider safe. If you want the TL;DR:

MAST 80% dark, Taza Chocolate 70% dark, Ghirardelli 72% and 86% dark, and Valrhona 85% dark are all safer, but you should still be wary.

Kind regards,

Robin Adelmann, kitchen manager, (robin@unrefinedls.com)

UNREFINED