Health Benefits of Blueberries:
This old age adage holds true for the widely popular “superfood” blueberry as well.
Native to North America, blueberries belong to the Vaccinium family and can fall under either the “Low-Bush” or the “High-Bush” category.
They are naturally sweet and juicy and are proven to be bursting with one of the highest antioxidant compositions among all fruits and vegetables.
As such, this fruit has gathered a massive fan following all over the world. Without further ado, here are some blueberry health benefits supported by research, that everyone should be aware of.
Top 15 Health Benefits of Eating Blueberries
1. Powerhouse of nutrients
A single serving (1 cup) of blueberries has been proven to contain:
• Fat: 0.5 grams.
• Sodium: 1.5 milligram.
• Potassium: 114 milligram.
• Protein: 1.1 gram.
• Vitamin A: 1% of the RDA.
• Vitamin C: 24% of the RDA.
• Iron: 2% of the RDA.
• Vitamin B6: 5% of the RDA
• Manganese: 2% of the RDA.
In addition, this fibrous fruit has a high water content and is low on calories. A full cup contains only about 85 calories and 21 grams of carbohydrates.
2. Fruits are to subjects as Blueberry is to King
Fact – Blueberry is the king of antioxidants.
Antioxidants are key for the growth and survival of all life. They act as a line of defence against free radicals responsible for the destruction of cell structures.
Blueberry is rightly called the King of Antioxidants since it contains the highest amount of the latter among all known edible fruits and vegetables. Most of the blueberries health benefits are owed largely to the antioxidant compound – flavonoid, anthocyanin in particular.
3. Helps you stay young
One of the reasons why we grow older is because of the damage to our DNA. This is a day-to-day occurrence and not much can be done to combat this from the genetic point of view. However, the abundance of antioxidants in blueberries can help neutralise this natural process. Coupled with Vitamin C, the blueberry benefits increase manyfold as it prevents the onset of issues like Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, cataracts, wrinkles etc. among many others.
4. Fights Urinary Tract Infections
Cranberry juice is known to be a quick remedy for curing UTIs. Much like cranberries, blueberries contain compounds called anti-adhesives that prevent the E.coli strain of bacteria from clinging to the bladder walls, thus warding off any chances of infection. This action is magnified by the presence of antibiotic properties.
5. Anti-Cancer properties
Anthocyanins in blueberries not only contribute to their distinct blue colour but also play a major role in killing cancerous free radicals and preventing malignant tumor growth. This is also aided by the presence of certain other compounds, viz. Pterostillbene, Ellagic Acid and antioxidants like Vitamin C and Copper.
6. Immunity Booster
Most blueberries measure about 0.2-0.6 inches in diameter. It is a typical example of “size doesn’t matter” – although it is a relatively small fruit, the variety of antioxidants coupled with several other nutrients ensures it provides a power packed performance when it comes to demonstrating the benefits of blueberries. Among the nutrients, while copper serves as an anti-bacterial substance, iron accelerates immunity through increased haemoglobin production and blood oxygen concentration. Together, they help prevent infections and boost the body’s immune system.
7. Battling Heart disease and lowering blood pressure
Studies suggest that a regular intake of blueberries reduces the risk of heart attacks by an impressive 32%. Its consumption also lowers the blood pressure, high blood pressure being one of the main initiators of heart attacks. The antioxidants in blueberries prevent cholesterol damage. The former dissolves the ‘bad cholesterol’, thus preventing cardiac arrests as well as strengthening cardiac muscles.
8. A true brain food
The essential nutrients listed above play a significant role in preventing neuron degeneration and damage, thus healing disorders of the brain and strengthening the central nervous system. Healing damaged brain cells helps keep your memory sharp thus maintaining brain function.
9. Anti-Diabetic effects
Although naturally sweet, blueberries contain moderate amounts of sugar. Anthocyanins in blueberries enhance insulin sensitivity. This in turn lowers blood sugar levels.
10. Reducing muscle damage
Muscle soreness after a demanding work out session is common. This is caused by inflammation in the muscles as well as an inadequate supply of oxygen to the muscle tissue. Blueberry consumption may reduce this damage, hence increasing muscle performance.
11. Gastrointestinal performance
The fiber content in blueberries helps prevent constipation while the vitamins and other essential minerals (sodium, copper, fructose and acids) improve the process of digestion.
12. Skin Benefits
It is rightfully said that a healthy outside starts from the inside. The healthier you are on the inside, the healthier your skin looks. A handful of blueberries a day helps cure several skin conditions from ageing to fighting acne, leaving your skin feeling fresh and blemish free.
13. Perfect for Weight Loss
As previously stated, blueberries are low in calories. This makes them a healthy alternative for people searching for something to munch on in-between meals or for those looking to lose some weight.
14. Prevents issues related to eyes
In addition to flavanoids, blueberries also contain some special antioxidants called carotenoids. These, together with vitamins C, E, A, and elements such as zinc, selenium and phosphorous, help prevent ocular problems viz. cataracts, myopia and hypermetropia, infections etc. Thus, they are some of the best substitutes for corrective eye surgery, medications, eye aids etc.
15. Improves bone structure and strength
The several minerals present in blueberries all contribute to maintaining healthy bones in terms of the latter’s strength and elasticity as well as in increasing calcium absorption, thus reducing calcium loss.
Last but certainly not the least, blueberries benefits also stem from the fact that they are very good anti depressants as they leave you in a very good mood. Regular consumption of this wonder fruit also reduces the dependency on medicines. Although it is seldom associated with any side effects, it is highly recommended to exercise caution if you are also on prescription medications.
So what are you waiting for? Head over to your nearest supermarket or farmer’s market – Eat clean, get fit and be happy.