Life on a sub-Arctic island was never easy, especially in the mid-1800s. If you got sick, you most likely died. There weren’t any stores, doctors, or hospitals. In the winter you never saw the sun. The icy sky would simply brighten up like dawn in the middle of the day and then fade away. It was here that my great-grandfather spent 105 years.
By the time Great-Grandpa reached 50, the average person in the United States who was born the same year he was had already died. (Life expectancy in the U.S. in 1900 was 47 years.) You’ve got to ask yourself: What kept Great-Grandpa alive under such harsh and cruel conditions—and not only him but countless other centenarians living in cold mountain hideaways and other remote locations? Why were they rewarded with health and great longevity?
My quest began in the Åland Islands between Finland and Sweden and took me to the Himalayan mountains before I returned to my very own berry patch in the Great Smoky Mountains. I’ll explain. I asked Grandma when she was in her mid-90s, “Is there any family secret to longevity? Your sister Hilma is now 100, and I’ve never seen you sick a day in my life. What gives?” She gave me one of those sweet grandmotherly smiles and quietly whispered, “Maybe it’s the berries.” I suddenly realized how many recipes we had for lingonberries.
Lingonberries are related to blueberries, bilberries, cranberries, and other varieties of berry, but what all berries—and grapes—have in common are the antioxidant pigments called anthocyanins. If you’ve ever picked blackberries and had a hard time washing the stain from your fingers, that’s because the juice has a reduced molecular size, which also allows it to provide better blood flow and oxygen to capillary-rich organs like the retina of the eye and the brain. Funny, now that I think of it, Grandma never had any varicose veins or wore glasses.
Not only do blueberries, lingonberries, and cranberries demonstrate proven anti-cancer activity, they also prevent the oxidation of harmful low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, which is linked to heart attacks and crippling strokes. Berry juices eat up cholesterol, fungi, and E. coli bacteria and spit them out.
Perhaps the most impressive berry juice is that of the goji berry from the Himalayas. Li Qing Yuen, who was alleged to be 252 years old, is reported to have consumed a “soup” of lycium (goji berry) every day. Hmm, raw berry soup!
One of the most amazing DVDs I have ever watched was by the Johns Hopkins–>trained oncologist Dr. Victor A. Marcial-Vega. It is titled “Acid Is for Batteries—Not Healthy People.” Under a microscope, you can see the astounding transformation of a diseased red blood cell into a healthy cell. The miracle took only twelve days of goji berry juice.
I not only love the taste of the juice but also use the whole berries in my breakfast of soaked oat groats. I can’t wait for goji berry wine. Mmm, resveratrol-rich immortality wine! Oops, I’m getting carried away.
Like I said, my quest for the fountain of youth ended up in my own backyard. You might already have an idea of the types of berries I’ve discovered. So, is berry juice the fountain of youth? If Andrew lets me continue to write for WIE for the next hundred years, you’ll know, won’t you?
Peter Ragnar is a natural life scientist, modern-day Taoist wizard, and self-master par excellence. A martial arts practitioner for over fifty years, he is renowned for his teachings on optimal health and longevity. He is the author of twenty books, including The Art and Science of Physical Invincibility.