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Low Sugar Jams and Jellies

Jams and Jellies made with Farm Grown Fruits
All of the jams and jellies at Lightfoot Farm are made with farm grown fruits. This year was a good year for blueberries and grapes so jams made with these berries are the bulk of what is available right now.  All Lighfoot Farm jams and jellies are made with low-sugar recipes and sweetened with Vermont honey or with agave syrup. Using less sugar may decrease the loss of healthy anthocyanins from heat during processing (wholehealthmd.com). We at Lightfoot Farm believe that honey and agave syrup are better choices nutritionally than using refined table sugar. Regular pectin cannot be used with honey and agave syrup as the jam does not set well.  Instead we use Pomona pectin, which has a powdered source of calcium that is used along with the pectin to help it to set properly.
Honey Benefits
The sugar in honey is different and more gentle on blood sugar levels.  Honey has been found to keep levels of blood sugar fairly constant compared to other types of sugar. Honey has antioxidant and antibacterial properties and it is also an immune systembooster.
There is a 1:1 ration of fructose to glucose in honey.  Fructose “unlocks” the enzyme in the liver that is necessary to incorporate giucose into glycogen in the liver. Glycogen is the form of sugar stored in the liver. Glycogen stores are important to prevent the release of stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol (which the brain triggers when stores of glycogen are low).  In a year-long animal study comparing the effects of sucrose, honey, and low glycemic index (GI) sugar-free diet, rats on a honey-based diet showed reduced weight gain and % of body fat, decreased anxiety, better spatial recognition memory, improved HDL cholesterol,improved blood sugar levels, and reduced oxidative damage. Research in Israel found that honey boosts immunity.
From whfoods.com(honey)
Blue Agave Nectar
Blue agave nectar comes from the Agave americana and tequiliana plants grown in Mexico or South Africa. In Mexico the syrup is know as aguamiel or “honey water.” The syrup has been touted as a good natural sugar for diabetics because it contains a high amount of fructose compared to glucose. It can have as high as 92% fructose and 8% glucose, but the average amount of fructose is 70%. The high amount of fructose gives it a much lower glycemic index than table sugar (sucrose). As with any sugar fructose should also be used in moderation.  Overuse of fructose can have negative effects on the body’s health.
Blueberry Jam
Farm grown blueberries are harvested from July through early August and frozen to ensure a more even supply to make jam for the winter farmers' markets. The blueberries are not certified organic but they are fertilized with compost and natural acid fertilizer.  No insecticides are used on the plants. Nets must be placed over the plants during harvest time to prevent birds from eating all the berries. 
Berries and Your Brain (reprinted from Luminosity.com)
Summer in the Northern Hemisphere signals an influx of fresh berries. These seasonal fruits are more than just tasty: they may also be good for your brain and your long-term health.
Nutritionists have long touted the benefits of berries' high antioxidant levels. But now neuroscientists are also looking deeper into the mental benefits of consuming berries: a particular subclass of antioxidants found in berries, anthocyanidins, can cross the blood brain barrier and affect the brain.
In a 2012 article from Annals of Neurology, researchers investigated the effects of anthocyanidin-rich blueberries and strawberries over long periods of time.
Lifelong habits and brain health
Led by epidemiologist Elizabeth Devore, a team from Brigham and Women's Hospital analyzed data from 16,010 participants over a 25 year span.
Data was first collected in 1976, when female nurses aged 30-55 answered a battery of lifestyle questions (including questions on diet) and took 6 cognitive assessments. The nurses reanswered lifestyle questions every four years—and finally, starting in 1995, they retook the original cognitive assessments.
This data, collected at regular intervals over several decades, gave researchers valuable insight into how long-term lifestyle and diet choices could affect cognitive health
Diet can slow down decline
The average woman's cognition declined by 0.2 units every year that she aged (units measured by this study's standards).
But women who reported eating larger quantities of anthocyanidin-rich blueberries and strawberries slowed down cognitive decline in astonishing ways: by measures of cognitive performance, older women who ate more berries appeared to have delayed aging by 2.5 years!

Though the study was not conclusive—aside from relying on self-reported data, the study was unable to draw conclusions across different age groups and genders—it is an indication of how diet can positively impact brain health.
Berries and BPI
Two months ago, 12,000 Lumosity members participated in a science survey that asked, among other things, how many servings of berries they consumed each week. People who ate 1-3 servings of strawberries a month had significantly higher initial BPI scores than those who rarely or never ate strawberries—supporting the results from the 2012 study above.
Recent research and Lumosity's own surveys have revealed that diet, like cognitive training, can have an amazing positive effect on your life—but both require a long-term commitment. Studies suggest that a healthy dose of cognitive training, combined with good diet, can help your brain feel young and sharp even as you age. Why not unlock full access and fit a healthy training program into your life today?
(information reposted from July 10, 2012 newsletter from Luminosity. com)

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