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Long before winter comes, black bears in the forest spend all their time eating everything they can sink their teeth into. During the summer, bears eat and eat and eat, trying to get as fat as they possibly can, and when the weather turns cold, they look for a place to curl up and then they sleep the winter away.
Now, the habits of bears might not seem like something you should try to follow. After all, doctors are always warning us, humans, that we shouldn’t overeat, and that we shouldn’t spend all of our time lying around, doing nothing.
But there is one part of the black bear’s habits that you should actually try to imitate because it would be good for your health.
Black bears eat a lot of berries, of many different varieties, such as raspberries, strawberries, and blueberries.
Berries contain natural sugars and wonderful flavours. Unlike many other foods that are really good for you, but which don’t taste good, berries taste great.
And unlike many foods that taste great but which aren’t good for you, berries are among the most health-friendly foods you can eat.
It’s only been within the last decade that scientists have started to pay a lot of attention to the health benefits of berries. And what researchers are learning about the health benefits of berries has a lot of exciting potential for human diets.
One of the first major experiments on the health benefits of berries took place at Tufts University about ten years ago.
Researchers were working with a group of ageing rats. They fed them diets of various foods to see what the effects would be. Among the foods they tested were strawberries, blueberries, and spinach.
Now, these rats were fairly old in terms of “rat years”. In fact, their age was equivalent to humans about 70 years old.
The foods the scientists tested were all very high in beneficial antioxidants, so the scientists wanted to see if any of these foods would boost the physical and mental capabilities of these ageing rats.
The researchers found that while several of these foods seemed to offer some antioxidant protection, the rats that had been fed blueberries were the only ones that actually improved in their abilities.
In fact, the rats which had been fed blueberries were able to perform like much younger rats!