10 Proven Benefits of Blueberries
Blueberries are amazing powerhouses, rich in antioxidants that are crucial for protecting the body against unwanted disease causing chemicals such as free radicals. Cancer, age-related and cardiovascular diseases are some of the common diseases caused by these free radicals in the body. So in addition to its sweet taste and highly nutritious properties, it also provides a healthy alternative to staying healthy and disease free.
Blueberries are becoming increasingly popular, probably due to its amazing healthy benefits to the human body. The so-called ‘’superfoods” are low in calories and also incredibly impressive for anyone out there. Many people consider Blueberries as their favorite fruits because of its tasty, bright colour, juicy texture and their mouthwatering taste. The high nutritional value of these fruits significantly contributes to the optimal health and wellness benefits to the body.
Key components of the Blueberries
In addition to the antioxidant properties of the blueberries, they are also super enriched with the following:
Vitamins C, A and E, Riboflavin, Folate, Fiber, Niacin, Potassium, Copper, Manganese, Iron, Magnesium and Zinc.Additional phytonutrients that obtained in Blueberries include hydroxybenzoic acids, phytonutrients, hydroxycinnamic acids, flavanols, anthocyanins, etc.
Below is a detailed look at the amazing health benefits of the blueberries:
1: Protecting the body against aging and cancer by reducing DNA damage
Oxidative DNA destruction is said to occur multiple times in a day, up to tens of thousands in every cell in the body. The DNA damage is what is responsible for old age and the development of diseases such as cancer. The DNA is significantly damaged by the free radicals produced in the body due to the many biochemical processes occurring in the body. It is, therefore, very imperative that one gets an antioxidant to help neutralize the damaging effects on the DNA. That is where the blueberries come into play; they provide a rich source of antioxidants, well capable of neutralizing the free radicals that could otherwise be detrimental to the bodies DNA. The bottom line here is that studies have shown that blueberries and blueberry juices can protect the bodies DNA against damage and therefore help prevent or slow down aging and cancer development.
2: Blueberries are powerful sources of antioxidants
As mentioned above, antioxidants assist in protecting our bodies against the destructive free radicals that cause diseases. The blueberries are believed to be the richest sources of antioxidants than the other commonly consumed fruits and vegetables. The primary chemical antioxidants contained in the blueberries belong to an unusually large family of polyphenols known as Flavonoids. One group of the Flavonoids is mainly believed to be responsible for the much mind-blowing benefits of the blueberries. This group is known as anthocyanins, have been depicted to increase the antioxidant levels inside the human body directly.
3: Blueberries are high in nutrients but extremely low in calories
The blueberry plant is an unusual shrub responsible for the production of blue to purple coloured fruits called blueberries. Similar shrubs are those that produce huckleberries and cranberries. The blueberries are pretty small, about 0.2 to 0.6 inches in diameter with a flared crown at the end. At first, they are usually green, and then they change to the blue-purple colour as they ripen. The two most common types of blueberries include the Highbush and the Lowbush blueberries. They are high in fiber but low in calories, as described below: A one cup serving of blueberries weighs about 148 grams, and it contains the following: Fiber 4 grams, Vitamin C 24% of the RDA, Vitamin K 36% of the RDA and Manganese 25% of the RDA. Also, they contain 85% water which means that an entire full cup will only contain 84 grams of calories and 15 grams of carbohydrates. The blueberries are, therefore, an excellent source of low caloric foods and an amazing source of fiber.
4: Blueberries help to protect cholesterol in our bodies from getting damaged
The oxidative damage to the body cells is not only limited to the cells and DNA, but to our circulating lipoproteins as well. In fact, oxidation of LDL the ‘’bad’’ cholesterol is a significant step towards the development of heart diseases. Fortunately enough, the high antioxidant properties of the blueberries help in reducing the levels of the oxidized LDL. A daily intake of 50-gram serving of the blueberries is sufficient to lower the LDL oxidation by a whopping 27% in the obese individuals, in just a period of 8 weeks. Another critical study revealed that 75 grams of blueberries taken with the main meal were good enough to lower the oxidation of the LDL lipoproteins significantly. Thank goodness to these antioxidants, those can stop the oxidation of the LDL lipoproteins that are responsible for the development of heart diseases.
5: Blueberries are helpful in lowering high blood pressure
High blood pressure is a major risk factor to some of the world’s leading killer cardiovascular diseases. The advantage here is that the blueberries appear to have some significant helpful benefits for those people with hypertension. In one study a particular group of obese individuals that were at risk of high blood pressure consumed 50 grams of blueberries every day for eight weeks. At the end of the study, it was discovered that there was a reduced risk of up to 4-6% on each. The same is true especially for the post-menopausal women that are at risk of hypertension. Considering the kind of damage high blood pressure can do today, from heart attacks to strokes, it is imperative that one can reduce their risk for the same. Blueberries are, therefore, a handy option for helping you significantly to reduce your risk of high blood pressure, keeping you healthy and free from a heart attack or stroke.
6: Improving both memory and brain functioning
The body’s oxidative stresses can increase the brain’s aging process, and substantially impaired the normal operation of the brain. According to some animal studies, it was discovered that the blueberry antioxidants stay or accumulate in those areas of the brain responsible for intelligence. They appear to directly interact with those aging neurons in the brain, leading to massive improvements in the cell signaling. Promising results have shown on studies performed on humans with vast improvements in the brain functionality, even in the elderly individuals. A six-year study conducted on 16,010 older adults found that both strawberries and blueberries were linked with delayed cognitive aging by up to two and half years. Therefore, the antioxidants in the blueberries are essential in improving the functioning of the brain and to slowing any cognitive impairment or age-related decline.
7: Anti-diabetic effects from the anthocyanins found in the blueberries
If you compare blueberries to other fruits, you will find that they are pretty moderate in sugar as compared to the others. The bioactive compounds found in the blueberries tend to outweigh all the negative effects of sugar when it comes to controlling blood sugar. Research has proven that the anthocyanins found in the blueberries have some beneficial effects on both insulin sensitivity and glucose metabolism as well. These unique anti-diabetic properties can be obtained either from the blueberry juice or the extract.
8: Fighting urinary tract infections
Urinary tract infections are a pretty common challenge in women and during pregnancy as well. Cranberry juice has been used to help in the prevention of these diseases, and the blueberries contain several active ingredients or compounds found in the cranberries. These active substances are referred to as the anti-adhesives and are super effective in preventing bacteria such as E. coli, by preventing it from binding or attaching to the bladder wall. Just as the cranberries, blueberries contain active substances that can help to avoid certain types of bacteria responsible for the infections, from attaching to the walls of the urinary bladder. Consequently, it will assist in preventing and fighting off any impending urinary tract infection.
9: Reducing muscular damage following a strenuous exercise
Any strenuous exercise can lead to muscular damage, soreness and fatigue, partly due to the inflammation and the oxidative stress in the muscle tissues. Blueberry supplements can tremendously help reduce these injuries at the molecular level and minimize the soreness and fatigue. Studies have shown how blueberries significantly helped accelerate muscle recovery after prolonged strenuous exercises.
10: Promoting heart and general cardiovascular health and wellness
Eating three or more servings of both blueberries and strawberries in a week can significantly reduce the risks of heart attacks. The above was a study done on women back in 2013 and published by the American Heart Association’s journal. It is important to understand that one serving of the blueberries is equivalent to a half cup of the blueberry fruit. The blueberries contain high levels of important active compounds that help widen arteries, countering the plaque that builds up in the vessels to cause heart attacks. They are also responsible for strengthening the muscles of the heart, also known as cardiac muscles. The additional compounds in the berries such as vitamin C, potassium, calcium, fiber and magnesium also promote heart health. Simply sprinkle a few blueberries on your yoghurt or in your smoothies, and you will be on your way to reducing heart attacks and to enjoying a healthy heart.
Blueberries are amazing fruits as their benefits to the human body are humongous. It is also appalling what the benefits you can get from just consuming one cup of the blueberries, I mean in one sitting. One can obtain the following nutrients from one cup: Gallic acid, resveratrol, lutein, zeaxanthin, vitamin K, C, manganese and fiber. The blueberries enjoy a high ORAC score of 9,621, making them one of the highest sources of antioxidants in foods. In addition to the above aforementioned benefits, there are other significant benefits worth mentioning such as: promoting healthy vision, reducing and breaking down belly fat, aiding in digestion, skin care benefits, promoting weight loss and slowing down the aging process etc.
Always do your best to make sure you are able to preserve the natural content of the blueberries, by eating them while still fresh and in their natural form. Blueberries are by far the most favorite foods of many people all across the globe; most people enjoy eating them in the morning, what is known as Berry Protein Smoothie. You can choose whether to have them simply as fruits added on to your smoothies or yoghurts or make smoothies, either way the benefits are complete. There are also various types of smoothies, depending on your taste and preference. Other smoothies have lots of other fruits in combination with the blueberries, while others simply take the blueberry smoothie without any extra additions. Get on board and enjoy a healthy everyday life with these amazing fruits with some tremendous proven benefit that will transform your whole body from inside out for the better.