Some people consider blueberries as a superfood and for some good reasons. Blueberries are a sweet and tasty food option and it has significant nutritional value.
Aside from being delicious, nutritious and healthy, they are also very convenient. They are enjoyable as a quick go-to snack. With all of these advantages, it is not surprising that blueberries are quite popular with different individuals especially health buffs and fitness experts. In this article, we will further explore the health benefits of blueberries.
Health Benefits of Blueberries
Aside from being delicious, tasty and convenient, blueberries are touted as a superfood because of its numerous health benefits. Listed below are some the said health benefits of Blueberries:
Blueberries are high in nutrition but are low in calories
Blueberries are from the blueberry shrub. They have a purple hue and crown at the end. However, they are similar to other berries such as huckleberries and cranberries. Compared to other berries though, blueberries are considered quite small measuring around 0.2 to 0.6 or 5 to 16 millimeters.
Blueberries get their distinctive blue color as they ripen but they start out as color green. There are (2) commonly known kinds of blueberries. One is the Wild or Lowbush blueberries which are the kind of blueberries that are smaller and has higher levels of antioxidants. The other one is the highbush blueberries which are commonly grown in the United States (US).
They are one of the most nutritious types of berries. These nutrients include 24% of Vitamin C, 36% of Vitamin K 25% of Manganese all based on an average individual’s RDI or Recommended Daily intake. Aside from the said vitamins, they also contain Fiber (around 4 grams) and a slew of other nutrients. They are also a low -calorie food containing only 84 calories per cup.
Rich in antioxidants
Free radicals are molecules that can destroy the body’s healthy cells and cause cancers and speed up aging. Antioxidants help fight against these free radicals. Blueberries are a very good source of these antioxidants compared to all the other vegetables and fruits.
The antioxidants present in blueberries are called flavonoids which fall under a group of antioxidants called polyphenols. One powerful flavonoid that is present in them is anthocyanins. It is believed to be the main contributing factor to the berries’ health benefit. The presence of this flavonoid has been shown to increase antioxidants in the bodies of individuals who consume blueberries.
Reduce damage to DNA and help fight cancer and aging
Damage to the DNA is an everyday reality for all living things and can happen a thousand times per day. This same damage is responsible for the development of certain cancers and the inevitable aging of individuals. Due to the high antioxidant content of blueberries, they can help people manage free radicals that can damage DNA, prevent the development of cancer cells, and slow down the process of aging. A study had a number of respondents drink a mix of apple and blueberry juice and the said respondents showed a significant decrease in the damage to the DNA by around 20%.
Potentially prevent damage to cholesterol
Damaged caused by oxidation does not only occur at the DNA and cellular levels. It can also happen to the cholesterol present in an individual’s blood. This damage through oxidation can be very bad for LDL or bad cholesterol as damage to LDL cholesterol can help contribute to the development of cardiovascular diseases. As such, blueberries can have a significant impact in terms of decreasing the likelihood of developing heart disease. A study showed that consuming two (2) ounces or 50 grams of blueberries reduced bad cholesterol damage by up to 27%. Another research showed that consuming blueberries in servings of 2.5 ounces or 75 grams further reduced LDL cholesterol damage.
May help control hypertension
Blueberries have been shown to aid the body in controlling hypertension and blood pressure. This is especially important as uncontrolled blood pressure may result in various cardiovascular diseases. Evidence suggests that people who consumed around two (2) ounces or 50 grams of blueberries experienced lower blood pressure by almost 4 to 6 %. Similar studies point to the same observation but it noted a stronger correlation of the said reduction in blood pressure readings for women who are postmenopausal.
Reduce the risk of developing heart disease
A heart attack has been identified among the leading causes of death. While damage to LDL cholesterol and hypertension both contribute to heart disease, what is much more important is to view the positive impact of blueberries on preventing heart disease in individuals as this is the end result of a number of factors or health conditions. A study conducted showed that individuals who consumed significant amounts of anthocyanins which is the main flavonoid found in blueberries had a lower risk for heart attacks by almost 32%.
Enhance memory and retain normal brain function
Damage caused by oxidation can also cause a degradation of brain cells and a possible decline in the functions of the brain. Some studies showed that the antioxidants present in blueberries can help prevent this damage caused by oxidation. This is why it has the potential to maintain normal brain function and possibly enhance memory. Other studies also showed that the impairment of brain functions and mental aging may also be addressed by the consumption of Blueberries.
Blueberries’ flavonoid Anthocyanin may help manage Type 2 Diabetes
While blueberries have some amount of sugar in them, they generally have lower sugar content compared to other food items such as other fruits. Blueberries have also been shown to enhance a person’s metabolism of glucose and sensitivity to insulin. This can help manage and even prevent the development of type 2 diabetes.