There’s Something About Berries

Cranberries and grapes (Image from http:/

Aging is inevitable. However, you don’t need to experience it prematurely. Studies suggest that both physical stressor (such as alcohol abuse, drug abuse, smoking, physical pain, and illness) and psychological stressors (such as exams, divorce, and death of a loved one) bring forth the body’s stress response. This stress, when severe and prolonged, can drain the body of its reserves and leave it weakened, aged, and vulnerable. However, recent studies by Rolfes, et. al shows that there is a compound that may enhance longevity: antioxidants.

Antioxidant, as the name implies, is a molecule that inhibits the oxidation of other molecules. Oxidation is a chemical reaction that produces free radicals, which when accumulated in the body may damage the cells. These damaged cells eventually cause us to look old and feel old and to some extent could even contribute to the development of certain cancers, arthritis, cataract, and heart disease.

These bananas demonstrate how oxidative stress breaks down your cells, causing premature aging and disease.
(Image from http:/
Foods offer not only antioxidants, but an array of other valuable vitamins and minerals, too. Consuming a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, nuts, and whole grains is a great way to combat free radicals in your body. Such diet combined with exercise and weight control, plus limited consumption of alcohol and avoidance of first and second-hand smoke serves as the best prescription for health. In addition, antioxidants found in real foods are a hundredfold better than those that are marketed as pills and supplements. Supplements can sometimes shortchange users. At physiological levels typical of a healthy diet, antioxidants act as it is, but at pharmacological doses typical of supplements, it may act as prooxidants which stimulates the production of free radicals. So it is still best to take in natural sources of antioxidants.

One good source of antioxidant is berries such as strawberry, raspberry, cranberry, and grapes. These fruits outshined the other fruits in terms of antioxidant content. Yes! Grape is classified as berry! The good thing is you don’t have to have a hard time looking for such fruits as they are already incorporated in our favorite breads! Why not make your snacking healthier? Consuming one slice of Gardenia High Fiber Wheat Raisin loaf will not only provide 29% of your daily dietary fiber needs, the sweet and succulent California raisins in it may also give you high amounts of antioxidants. Or if raisin (dried grape) is too sweet for your taste buds, you can also try snacking on Gardenia’s Wheat Cranberry Loaf. Based on studies, cranberries have a wide assortment of antioxidants such as phenolic acids, anthocyanins, flavonoids, triterpenoids and proanthocyanidins that help fight the unwanted free radicals.

For interesting and delectable healthy recipes, you can try making Gardenia Wheat Raisin Chicken Sandwich and Gardenia Heart Wheat Cranberry Sandwich with Hot Honey Mustard Dressing (see recipe below).

Gardenia Heart Wheat Cranberry Sandwich with Hot Honey Mustard 
(Serves 2)

Nutrition Info per serving:

Calories: 590 kcal
Carbohydrates: 56g
Protein: 42g
Fat: 22g


4 slices  Gardenia Wheat Cranberry Loaf
160g Beef Pastrami Slices, store bought
2 slices  Light Cheese Singles
2 tbsp Honey Mustard Dressing
Chili powder, according to preference
Salt & ground pepper, according to preference


  1. In a small bowl, combine honey mustard dressing, chili powder, salt & pepper. 
  2. Mix until well blended.  Set aside. 
  3. Place beef slices on one side of the bread. 
  4. Top with lettuce leaves.  Drizzle with hot honey mustard dressing. 
  5. Top with cheese singles.
  6. Cover with another slice of bread.  Serve.

Nutritionists and health experts still advise not to single out any one particular food for its special nutrients, antioxidants, or phytochemicals because ultimately, there is no one exclusive food that can provide you with all the nutrients that you need. Remember FNRI’s first Nutritional Guidelines for Filipinos: “Eat a variety of foods every day”. So stay fit and be berry healthy!

Rolfes, S.R., Pinna, K., Whitney, E.N., Understanding Normal and Clinical Nutrition 7th edition. 2006. Pages 389- accessed April 26, accessed April 26, 2016