Since time immemorial, blueberries have been a blessing in many ways to mankind. From providing the body the much needed minerals, vitamins and antioxidants, to nourishing every aspect of our beauty and health needs, blueberries have entered our lives as a blessing.
Also known as the KING OF ANTIOXIDANT FRUITS, blueberries are superfoods, because they are incredibly good for the diet and beauty conscious people. With a cup of blueberries eaten every day, your body gets the necessary vitamin K, fiber and manganese, and vitamin C too. And there is plenty of water in blueberries to keep the body hydrated as well.
Here are the health benefits of blueberries
Let’s take a good look at more health benefits of blueberries, and understand why they are so important to have in our daily diets. Take a look and be well-informed.
1. Low in Calories, But High in Nutrients
You would be glad to know that you would get all the nutrients you want, and not a single calorie to gain from one cup of blueberries, raw or cooked. Blueberries have a lot of antocyanadins in it, a compound that gives the fruit its color.. Along with this compound, the fruit is rich in other compounds such as-
Blueberrieshave beneficial acids – hydroxycinnamic acids and caffeic, ferulic and coumaric acid too. The fruit is also very rich in hydroxybenzoic acids, gallic and procatechuic acid as well.
Blueberries are filled with flavonols and phenol-like antioxidants pterostilbene and resveratrol, which are unique to this fruit only.
The fruit is powerhouse of vitamins K and C, and manganese as well as copper and fibers too.
Take a look at the chart below which shows you the nutritional facts of the fruit
Blueberry is a fruit that is loaded with antioxidants. The fruit is rich in flavonoids. Sources say, an in-depth look into the antioxidant levels in the fruit is amazing for those on a strict diet to have, and the potential risks associated with cancers of the skin or even signs of ageing can be brought down to a very large extent, by consuming blueberries
Vitamin C in Blueberries works as an antioxidant which helps promote collagen and elastin production, and fights the onslaught of free radicals.
3. Prevent Cancer
Did you know, blueberries can help you prevent the occurrence of cancer in the body? According to the American Institute For Cancer Research, “Blueberries are among the fruits highest in antioxidant power, largely due to their many phytochemicals: Anthocyanins, catechins, quercetin, kaempferol and other flavonoids. Ellagitannins and ellagic acid, Pterostilbene and resveratrol”. These antioxidants when they meet the cancer cells, they diminish them and the onslaught they can create. And hence the body is kept safe from cancer forming cells. Since the antioxidants can erase the free radicals that cause it; no metasis can happen thereafter
There is good cholesterol HDL and bad cholesterol LDL; the latter is what should be at the lowest in our bodies or else we could have cardiovascular issues attacking us. With a cu0 of blueberries consumed daily, you can have good cholesterol increased and the bad cholesterol decreased, says medical science.
5. Lower Blood Pressure
Blood pressure needs to be normal at all times, but when it goes high, it can have various adverse effects and affect the daily functioning too. Blueberries consumed daily can help lower high blood pressure and keep away BP problems at bay too, says medical science. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition says that it is the anthocyanins which are found in the berry that protects the body from high blood pressure levels, and this was a research done in collaboration with British and American nutritionists. Go berries if you have high blood pressure!
6. Prevent Heart Disease
There are studies done by the American Heart Association that proves eating blueberries can bring down the risks of cardiovascular diseases and illnesses to a very large extent. They also go on to say, if one has at least three servings per week, it can bring down the heart disease occurrence in no time. Adding to this, sources from the Harvard School of Public Health in the U.S. and the University of East Anglia in the U.K. say that there are alvonoids and anthocyanins in blueberries that reduce blood pressure in high blood pressure patients. Apart from eating blueberries, the researchers ask people with high blood pressure to maintain an exercise regime, healthy weight and to stop smoking too.
7. Maintain Brain Function and Improve Memory
Consuming plenty of blueberries when we are young can help improve brain activity and boost memory.
Taking a note from the researches done, the University of Exeter. (2017, March 7). Blueberry concentrate improves brain function in older people. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 26, 2017 says that if one drinks concentrated blueberry juice; it helps with brain function improvement in aged and older citizens. The study showed there was more blood flow coming to the brain, and the brain activation was amazing too. This also showed proof that the memory was being enhanced. This is because of the flavonoids present in the fruit which is an anti-inflammatory and an antioxidant agent.
A cup of blueberry tea or concentrated blueberry juice can help bring down type 2 diabetes, says sources from the esteemed Menzies Institute. In their research, it is said that the herbal tea which has blueberry in it could bring down the dependence of insulin injections. There have been pre-clinical trials that showed the same, which brought down the blood glucose levels in the body. Adding to that, even in the well-known Journal of Nutrition, it is said that the anthocyanins in the fruit which is a chemical helped reduce the LDL or bad cholesterol levels in the body and increases HDL or the good cholesterol levels, and reduces the insulin resistance too along with bringing down the fasting plasma glucose levels as well.
9. Fight Urinary Tract Infections
UTI can be a painful affair, and for those suffering from it, blueberries can bring in the much needed healing and relief as well. Sources from the esteemed University of Maryland Medical Center opine that the fruit can prevent UTI to a large extent. The study showed that there are specific compounds in the fruit known as proanthocyanins that do not allow the bacteria to stick to the urinary tract walls. It is to be noted that even the famous John Hopkins Medicine states that there is a large amount of vitamin C in the fruit, which helps bring down the UTI infection caused by bacteria.
10. Reduce Muscle Damage after Strenuous Exercise
Exercise-induced muscle damage (EIMD) after a tough workout, which is very common these days, can make the muscles sore and inflamed. But thanks to the phytochemicals which are plant chemicals and found in the fruit, there can be speedy muscle recovery when you consume the fruit before and after a workout. So what is actually happening here is that the free radicals are being neutralized and synergy is increased when you consume the fruit!
Now you know why athletes and power weight lifters are big fans of berries?
11. Eye Care & Macular Degeneration
Can blueberries be the answer to eye macular degeneration? Here is what researchers from NCBI say “its antioxidant strength helps reduce risk of AMD, and improves night vision. Anthocyanin is commonly present, and in plant studies it was found to absorb blue-green light and protect cells from light stress. However, at the moment evidence is limited to the laboratory level. The precise dosage and frequency remains uncertain, and potential toxicity and long-term side effects still require exploration.
12. Constipation & Digestion
There is a huge amount of fiber in blueberries, and this is a nutrient which actually allows the stomach to work well preventing constipation altogether. Blueberries have minerals and fructose, vitamins and sodium in them, which aids in digestion. Any of the fruits with these and with indigestible fibre can help with water absorption, since they expand as they pass through the digestive system. For those suffering from IRS or irritable bowel syndrome, blueberries can act as a trigger to relive them from it. With the softening and the bulking of the insoluble fiber found in the fruit, the pressure on the intestinal tract is decreased and helps prevent issues such as diverticulosis.
13. Boost Immunity
A study by the NHS shows that blueberries can help boost immunity. There were many lab studies done on the same which showed that there was a specific combo of substances that were found in the fruit which helps with germ fighting. Around 446 compounds were studied and analysed for the effect they could have on the gene expression – cathelicidin antimicrobial peptide or CAMP, which is responsible in producing a protein that could help combat bacterial infection. The compound pterostilbene found in the fruit helps increase CAMP genes in the body to fight infections. This was a study published by the NHS and done by the Linus Pauling Institute, USA, funded by the National Institutes of Health, and it also was cited in the Molecular Nutrition and Food Research. According to the NHS publication, the results showed “The researchers found that two compounds, reservatrol and pterostilbene, caused the CAMP gene to be switched on. When cells were treated with a combination of either of these compounds plus a form of vitamin D, this caused the gene to produce even more protein than if the cells were treated with any of the compounds individually.
The researchers’ other experiments suggested that stilbenoids might affect some of the signalling pathways that allow vitamin D to do its job in switching on the CAMP gene.”
14. Fighting wrinkles
We suffer from skin damages, signs of ageing and wrinkles from time to time. This is why; nature has given us high antioxidant foods to fight the same, back. Rich antioxidant contents in the berries can help fight the onslaught of free radicals, and the environmental hazards the skin has to deal with, the sun damage and the pollutants too- all of which can cause free radicals to run amok and to create wrinkles at large. . The USDA places blueberries on the top of the slots when it comes to defeating wrinkles. This is because of the high amounts of polyphenols and anthocyanins in the fruit which helps with anti inflammatory purposes and antioxidation purposes too.
We hope this mini guide on the health benefits of blueberries come in handy! Berries all the way!
Disclaimer: This article has been written through research and citations from reputed sources and journals. However, we would always ask you to consult with your nutritionist and dietician or a certified specialist to know how best blueberries can help you. The information given here is not to be taken as a substitute for any underlying health issues you may have. Your doctors advise and words would take precedence over what is written here and elsewhere online.
Images Source: pinterest