Eating Blueberries Every Day Improves Heart Health

Eating a cup of blueberries a day reduces risk factors for cardiovascular disease – according to new research led by the University of East Anglia, in collaboration with colleagues from Harvard and across the UK.

New findings published today in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition show that eating 150g of blueberries daily reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease by up to 15 per cent.

The research team from UEA’s Department of Nutrition and Preventive Medicine, Norwich Medical School, say that blueberries and other berries should be included in dietary strategies to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease – particularly among at risk groups.

The team set out to see whether eating blueberries had any effect on Metabolic Syndrome – a condition, affecting 1/3 of westernised adults, which comprises at least three of the following risk factors: high blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist, low levels of ‘good cholesterol’ and high levels of triglycerides.

Lead researcher Prof Aedin Cassidy, from UEA’s Norwich Medical School, said: “Having Metabolic syndrome significantly increases the risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes and often statins and other medications are prescribed to help control this risk.

“It’s widely recognised that lifestyle changes, including making simple changes to food choices, can also help.

“Previous studies have indicated that people who regularly eat blueberries have a reduced risk of developing conditions including type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. This may be because blueberries are high in naturally occurring compounds called anthocyanins, which are the flavonoids responsible for the red and blue colour in fruits.

“We wanted to find out whether eating blueberries could help people who have already been identified as being at risk of developing these sort of conditions.”

The team investigated the effects of eating blueberries daily in 138 overweight and obese people, aged between 50 and 75, with Metabolic Syndrome. The six-month study was the longest trial of its kind.

They looked at the benefits of eating 150 gram portions (one cup) compared to 75 gram portions (half a cup). The participants consumed the blueberries in freeze-dried form and a placebo group was given a purple-coloured alternative made of artificial colours and flavourings.

Co-lead, Dr Peter Curtis, said: “We found that eating one cup of blueberries per day resulted in sustained improvements in vascular function and arterial stiffness – making enough of a difference to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease by between 12 and 15 per cent.

“The simple and attainable message is to consume one cup of blueberries daily to improve cardiovascular health.

“Unexpectedly, we found no benefit of a smaller 75 gram (half cup) daily intake of blueberries in this at-risk group. It is possible that higher daily intakes may be needed for heart health benefits in obese, at-risk populations, compared with the general population.”

Article by the University of East Anglia in collaboration with The Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, the University of Southampton, the University of Surrey, and the University of Cambridge. It was funded by the US Highbush Blueberry Council and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC).’Blueberries improve biomarkers of cardio metabolic function in participants with metabolic syndrome – results from a 6-month, double blind, randomized controlled trial’ is published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

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Scientists Uncover the Secret to Making Great Chocolate

“Mixing ingredients for several hours produces smooth molten chocolate by breaking down lumps of ingredients into finer grains and reducing friction between particles.”

By University of Edinburgh

The science of what makes good chocolate has been revealed by researchers studying a 140-year-old mixing technique.

Scientists have uncovered the physics behind the process – known as conching – which is responsible for creating chocolate’s distinctive smooth texture.

The findings may hold the key to producing confectionary with lower fat content, and could help make chocolate manufacturing more energy efficient.

A team led by the University of Edinburgh studied mixtures resembling liquid chocolate created using the conching process, which was developed by Swiss confectioner Rodolphe Lindt in 1879.

Their analysis, which involved measuring the density of mixtures and how they flow at various stages of the process, suggests conching may alter the physical properties of the microscopic sugar crystals and other granular ingredients of chocolate. Until now, the science behind the process was poorly understood.

The new research reveals that conching – which involves mixing ingredients for several hours – produces smooth molten chocolate by breaking down lumps of ingredients into finer grains and reducing friction between particles.

Before the invention of conching, chocolate had a gritty texture. This is because the ingredients form rough, irregular clumps that do not flow smoothly when mixed with cocoa butter using other methods, the team says.

Their insights could also help improve processes used in other sectors – such as ceramics manufacturing and cement production – that rely on the mixing of powders and liquids.

The study, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, involved a collaboration with researchers from New York University. The work in Edinburgh was funded by Mars Chocolate UK and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.

Professor Wilson Poon, of the University of Edinburgh’s School of Physics and Astronomy, who led the study, said: “We hope our work can help reduce the amount of energy used in the conching process and lead to greener manufacturing of the world’s most popular confectionary product. By studying chocolate making, we have been able to gain new insights into the fundamental physics of how complex mixtures flow. This is a great example of how physics can build bridges between disciplines and sectors.”

Get a conching machine here.

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How to Build a Chicken Coop or Greenhouse From Cattle Panels for Under $200

Large DIY chicken coop or hoop house made from cattle panels for under $200

By Jeffrey Green

The chirping coming from inside the cardboard box gave away the surprise.  Several weeks ago my youngest son convinced my wife that we needed more animals. Without telling me, the person who does the chores for the critters, four puffy chicks barely bigger than an egg were presented to me like a gift. Apparently I wasn’t acting as excited as they hoped. My wife assured me “it could be worse, he really wanted a rodent.”

We actually love keeping chickens. It’s been a while since we had fresh eggs from our own hens. In the past, our chickens were easy to manage. They were fully free range during the day with a coop for evenings. Like chicken-shit-on-our-back-porch and roost-in-trees level of free range. There were fewer predators where we lived then. Now we live in Washington state where eagles will snatch chickens from the air. A chicken coop with a covered run is necessary.

We bought a small enclosed coop, but our Ameraucana chickens quickly outgrew it.

Getting a little crowded in here!

The chickens needed more space. None of the chicken coop designs online appealed to us. Although they looked nice with cedar wood siding and cute ladders to nesting areas, the covered runs seemed too small for us feral free rangers. And the chicken coop kits were expensive and still required assembly.

We wanted something bigger that can be moved if needed.The structure is light enough to move to fresh grass but big enough keep in place with bedding materials like straw or wood chips to prepare the ground for another garden bed. In the winter, we plan to wrap it in clear greenhouse plastic to help keep the hens warm.

I recalled a few YouTube videos on cattle panel greenhouses and cattle panel chicken coops. They appeared affordable and easy to build. So we made a materials list and got started. (See full material and tool list at the end of this post).

Materials cost around $190. We are NOT skilled carpenters and it only took about 6 hours to build. Believe me, if we can do it, you can do it.

The chickens are much happier!

Here are the 8 simple steps to building a DIY cattle panel chicken coop or greenhouse:

Step 1 – Frame the Foundation

It’s best to build on a flat surface.

At 8′ (96 inches) by 8’4″ (100 inches) the frame is suitable for a small cattle panel greenhouse or large chicken coop.

The frame is made with two-by-fours (96 inches x 100 inches) and fastened with deck screws and corner braces. The cattle panels are 50 inches wide so two of them fit perfectly in the frame.

Step 2 – Attach Cattle Panels

We attached two 10-inch pieces of two-by-two to the bottom of the frame in order to act as a shelf for the cattle panels to sit evenly in the frame.

We used 1 1/4-inch galvanized staples to secure the cattle panels to the frame.

We used zip ties to connect the cattle panels together where they met in the middle of the coop.

Step 3 – Build a Door

We used two-by-fours, deck screws, and mending plate fasteners for the door frame. Once the door frame was in, we secured the cattle panel to it using galvanized staples.

For the door itself is made from two-by-two boards secured with deck screws and corner braces.

Step 4 – Attach Poultry Netting

Using zip ties and a staple gun, we attached 3-foot tall poultry netting across the lower side walls.

Step 5 – Frame and Net Back of Coop

We used 2x4s, deck screws and corner brackets for the back framing. We wanted it sturdy enough to handle the weight of roosting boxes and a door to easily access eggs without going in the coop.

Step – 6 Attach Door and Netting

A simple gate latch fit perfect. It auto-latches so the chickens can’t get out and the dog can’t get it when feeding them.

Step 7 – Move to Desired Location

Our golden retriever, Koa, did our quality assurance check. It passed.

Step 8 – Attach Tarp to Roof

The 12ft by 16ft heavy duty tarp covered the entire roof area completely. We used zip ties to secure it to the chicken coop.

That’s it. Relatively simple for a couple of amateurs to build. It’s a suitable enclosure. We plan to add nesting boxes and perches.

So much more space!

Here’s the list of materials and tools used to build this DIY chicken coop:


2 – cattle panels (50inx16ft)
1 – heavy duty tarp (12ftx16ft)
2 – rolls plastic poultry netting (3ftx25ft)
2 – 2×4 studs (8ft)
6 – 2×4 studs (10ft)
3 – 2×2 studs (8ft)
1 – box 1 ¼-inch galvanized staples
1 – box 2 ¼-inch deck screws
1 – 100-pk zip ties (8 inch)
1 – door hinge
1 – gate latch
3 – packs corner braces (2-inch/4-pk)

By adding another 50-inch wide cattle panel, this design could make a very nice 8ft by 12.5ft hoop greenhouse. Replace the tarp and poultry netting with greenhouse plastic and you’ll have a nice set-up to extend your garden season.


Electric hand drill
Jig saw
Staple gun
Tape measure
Rafter square

Tell us your ideas to improve this design or share your favorite DIY chicken coop designs.

Jeffrey Green writes for Natural Blaze. Subscribe to Natural Blaze for health freedom and natural living headlines to your inbox. Follow Natural Blaze on Twitter and Facebook.


Mobile Tiny Home Comes With a Detachable Greenhouse

By John Vibes

Olive Nest Tiny Homes is working to prove that the minimalist lifestyle can be comfortable and even luxurious as well.

More people than ever are interested in tiny homes, but there are still many misconceptions about the capabilities of the design style. However, as the years go on, more elaborate designs are being built that are just as comfortable as full-size houses.

The model shown in the pictures and videos below is known as the “Elsa” and sells for roughly $81,000.

The house is roughly 323 square feet in the main area, but that does not include the attached pergola trailer and greenhouse, which is 85 square feet.

This is the perfect tiny house for going off grid!

The house has a gray standing seam metal roof and matching siding.

4 glass panel front door.

You can stock your whole garden in this greenhouse.

It has enough space to store all of your vegetables for the year too!

Separate trailer pergola and deck with porch swing and wrap around planters.

Full-size gas range and oven with marble countertops.

Pergo flooring and pine floors in loft.

At night, the tiny home looks just like a real log cabin.

People who live in tiny homes generally adopt greener lifestyles.

By John Vibes / Republished with permission Truth Theory

This article was sourced from The Mind Unleashed.


Nature’s Multivitamin: The Ultimate Guide to Sprouting

While many of us are awakening to the dangers (ahem chemicals) that are in our food sources, not enough awareness is being made about some of the dangers that lie in over-the-counter vitamins. That’s right, some of your vitamins could be doing more harm than good.

Finding the right supplements can be a tricky endeavor. But, what if I told you it’s really not? In fact, you could easily grow your own vitamins naturally from the convenience of your kitchen window. What am I talking about? I’m talking about sprouts.

Sprouts are Power Packed

Sprouts are nature’s multivitamin and provide the highest amount of vitamins, minerals, proteins, and enzymes of any of food per unit of calorie. They are commonly referred to as a complete food because they are packed with high levels of complete proteins, vitamins, minerals, enzymes and extraordinary amounts of protein.

How Do Spouts Benefit the Body?

  • Assists in healing the body
  • Cleanse the body
  • Prevents diseases
  • Enhances the general functioning of bodily organs
  • Aids in digestion
  • Removes gas from the stomach

Some of our favorites are:

How To Get Started

You’re going to love this – almost anything can be made into a sprout (except for nightshade varieties like tomatoes and eggplants). The most common types of seeds to sprout include alfalfa, grains, peas, lentils, radish, broccoli, cabbage, mustard seed, garbanzos, quinoa, nuts, and red clover. Sprouts can be grown every week for continuous staggered batches. In fact, there are sprout kits available to help you expand your sprouting palate.

  1. First, you need something to let your seeds sprout in. If you have a large mason jar, that would work. We like adding a sprouting lid like this one to the top of our Mason Jar Sprouts to help with easy rinsing. If you plan on sprouting different varieties of sprouts, you may want to invest in a low-cost 4 tray sprouting kit like this one. For large seeds, like beans and legumes, consider adding them to a large wide-mouth jar. When beans begin to sprout, they will quickly take up a lot of room. For smaller seeds, using a quart-sized jar or the sprouting tray would work well.
  2. Next, you need to right kind of seeds. For optimum nutrition, I prefer to purchase sprouting seeds that are non-GMO and organic varieties.
  3. Now that you have your vessel and seeds picked out, it’s time to start sprouting. Simply add a tablespoon or two of seeds in a jar and fill it about ¾ full with cool water. Swish the seeds around and allow the water to drain from the jar or sprouting tray. Once the water has drained, cover with a mesh lid or cloth, secured with a rubber band, to allow air flow. Sprouting Tip: For larger beans like garbanzo or mung beans, allow them to soak overnight and then drain the water in the morning. Repeat the rinsing step twice a day for 3-4 days.
  4. Set sprouts in an area in the kitchen where it receives indirect sunlight. Ideally, sprouts prefer a temperature of about 65-80ºF. If the temperature is warmer with increased humidity, rinse sprouts more frequently.
  5. When sprouts are ready and have grown to the desired size, do a final rinse and drain them completely. They can be eaten immediately or transferred to a glass or plastic container and stored in the refrigerator for a few days. As a precaution, make sure the sprouts have drained completely before storing.

Sprout Safety

One of the biggest drawbacks to sprouting is their very short shelf life. Unlike other fresh produce, seeds and beans need warm and humid conditions to sprout and grow. These conditions are also ideal for the growth of bacteria, including Salmonella, Listeria, and E. coli. Not to cause concern, but since 1996, there have been at least 30 reported outbreaks of foodborne illness associated with different types of raw and lightly cooked sprouts. Most of these outbreaks were caused by Salmonella and E. coli and occurred at growing facilities. The bacteria is usually present in or on the seed, and the bacteria can grow to high levels during sprouting, even under sanitary conditions at home.

To prevent this health issue, you can follow these safety steps:

  • Wash all sprouts thoroughly with filtered water before eating them.
  • If you’ve purchased sprouts at the grocery store, look for the International Sprout Growers Association seal on the package or if you are buying bulk, ask your grocer if the sprouts are ISGA-approved.
  • If the sprouts are pre-packaged, only purchase if the sell-by date is current or even a few days ahead.
  • Examine the sprouts to make sure the roots are clean. If the stem color is not white or creamy, do not purchase them. Do not purchase sprouts if the buds are no longer attached if they are dark in color or have a musty smell.
  • Smell the sprouts to be sure that they have a clean, fresh odor.
  • Keep the sprouts refrigerated.
  • After 2 days, compost them rather than consuming them yourself.
  • If you’re buying in bulk, ask your grocer about the sell-by date.
  • If you are sprouting seeds at home, follow the same guidelines described above. Learn about the source of your seeds, their ISGA-certification, and either have your grocer confirm high-quality standards for seed production or obtain contact information for the seed source and contact that company yourself.
  • Follow the above guidelines regardless of the type of seeds you are sprouting, i.e., apply the guidelines to mung, alfalfa, radish, broccoli, lentil, sunflower and all other types of sprouts.

Since the shelf life is around 2 days before the sprouts begin to break down, take advantage of having them and add them to salads, sandwiches, soups, and even bread for added nutrition.

It’s that easy, folks! Sprouts are what Mother Nature intended for us in terms of additional nutrition. They are low cost, easy to grow and can give you ample dietary nutrition on a daily basis.

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This article was originally published by Tess Pennington at Ready Gardens and was sourced from


Man Builds Epic Off-Grid Log Cabin to Escape the Stress of City Life

By Natural Blaze

Shawn James couldn’t take it anymore. A normal job in the city wasn’t for him. One day he quit working, cashed in his savings, and headed to the Canadian wilderness to become self-reliant. First, he needed a place to live. With nothing more than hand tools, Mr. James built an epic off-grid log cabin.

James retired from work at 44 years old. He paid off his debt and sold his home in the city. Now he’s living the dream! A wilderness lifestyle!

Now James makes an income from documenting his off-grid adventure on YouTube.

His Golden Retriever “Cali” keeps him from getting lonely in the forest.

Secret blueprint for surviving the economic collapse (Ad)

It’s amazing what one man can build with basic hand tools.

Here’s a look at the inside of the log cabin.

There is no wasted space. Even the side of the cabin acts as a tool shed.

Mr. James added an outdoor kitchen complete with a clay mud oven for baking. He used it to cook a turkey to perfection.

Watch the short video below to see how Shawn built the log cabin with hand tools.

Watch the full time lapse video of the cabin built from scratch below.

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Follow Shawn James journey on YouTube and Instagram. Visit his website at

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Indoor “Ferris Wheel” Garden Grows 90 Plants At Once, Year-Round

By Amanda Froelich

Who doesn’t want access to less costly organic fruits and vegetables year-round? Thanks to the new OGarden Smart system, this may soon be a reality for all. The rotating garden can grow up to 90 plants at any given time. Furthermore, it has an automatic watering system — a relief for anyone who doesn’t have a green thumb.

According to TreeHugger, the Ferris wheel of sorts can hold up to 60 plants at various stages of growth. As the wheel steadily turns, the roots of the plants are dipped into water at the bottom. They are continuously nourished by a 120 watt LED in the center.

30 seedlings can fit in the incubator below. The seedlings are started in cups filled with organic soil and fertilizer. They, too, are also automatically watered. All one has to do is ensure the water reservoir stays full. This isn’t too hard, as it dries up every 10 days or so and a warning will pop up if you forget.

Once the seedlings are sprouted, they are transferred to the wheel. After reaching maturity, they are harvested. The entire process takes 30-40 days, after which the seed cups and the plant roots can be composted. Then, the process restarts.

The system is especially appealing to urban dwellers who want to grow their own food year-round. The inventors took this into consideration, as well as the overall cost . “We looked into other hydroponic solutions, but they only allowed us to grow a few herbs in the kitchen and did not really made a difference in our food expense. Everything we grew was gone in 1 to 2 meals.”

With 60 plants approaching harvest and 30 sprouting below, you’re able to have a continuous supply of fresh produce. “There are 90 available spots, so with a good rotation, you can have 2-4 large vegetables a day, every day,” OGarden Smart added.

The company boasts the ability to grow everything from celery and kale to bok choy and strawberries. Herbs can also be grown year-round to add a little flavor to homemade stews and salads.

How much does it cost? No surprise, the OGarden Smart system is not cheap. It is presently retailing for CAD$1,463 (USD$1,095). However, the creators urge potential buyers to consider how much they will save long-term in grocery bills. Home-grown organic vegetables are approximately 70 cents per plant — a stark contrast from organic produce obtained in supermarkets.

“According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, it costs a family of four an average of $850 per month for groceries. OGarden Smart can save you up to 80% on your veggie expenses – allowing you to cut down your grocery bill.” Based on this calculation, the system could pay for itself within a few months.

The company launched two Kickstarter campaigns to fund the OGarden Smart system. After the first redesign, the company added automatic watering, automatic LED lighting, 10-day water autonomy, and a water warning system. It measures 53″ tall x 29″ wide x 15″ deep. Empty weight is 61 lbs, full weight is 100 lbs. Visit the company’s website to learn more.

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What are your thoughts? Please comment below and share this news!

I’m an RHN, plant-based chef, freelance writer with 6+ years of experience, Reiki master therapist, world traveler and enthusiast of everything to do with animal rights, sustainability, cannabis and conscious living. I share healthy recipes at Bloom for Life and cannabis-infused treats at My Stoned Kitchen. Read More stories by Amanda Froelich


This article was sourced from Truth Theory.