Blueberries provide lots of antioxidant compounds that are good for our general health, and a new study suggests that they may help strengthen bones, too. An animal study funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture has shown that baby rats fed foods containing 10 percent freeze-dried blueberry powder developed significantly more bone mass than baby rats who didn't get blueberry power in their food. Now researchers have to determine whether these same effects occur in humans. In other berry news, researchers from Italy and Spain published a study online on June 21 in the journal Food Chemistry showing that eating strawberries improves the antioxidant capacity in blood. The research team provided 12 healthy human volunteers 500 grams (about 17.6 ounces) of strawberries daily and took blood samples periodically over the span of a month. They concluded that the strawberries increased the response of red blood cells to counter oxidative stress, a biochemical process associated with disease. The team is now looking into the effects of eating smaller amounts of strawberries daily. If you want to increase your consumption of strawberries, be sure to buy organic ones - non-organic farming methods may yield berry crops that are high in pesticide residues.
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