13 Health Benefits of Blueberries

What are Blueberries?

Blueberries are perennial flowering plants with blue or purple berries. They are classified in the section Cyanococcus within the genus Vaccinium. Vaccinium also includes cranberries, bilberries, huckleberries, and Madeira blueberries. Commercial blueberries—both wild and cultivated —are all native to North America.

Blueberries are one of my favorite fruits. I mix them with my oatmeal whenever I want to eat oatmeal or just eat them as they are any time of the day. Their flavor is not so sweet and not so sour so they make for a great snack.

You can even purchase them frozen and you can make smoothies with them and that also is a tasty snack.

The two most common types of blueberries are:

  • Highbush blueberries: The most common cultivated variety in the US.
  • Lowbush or “wild” blueberries: Typically smaller and richer in some antioxidants.

13 Top Health Benefits of Blueberries

1. Blueberries are among the most nutrient-dense berries.

A 1-cup (148-gram) serving of blueberries contains.

  • 84 calories
  • 0 g of cholesterol
  • 1.1 g of protein
  • 0.49 g of fat
  • 21.45 g of carbohydrate
  • 3.6 g of dietary fiber
  • 14.74 g of total sugars

That same one-cup serving provides:

  • 24 percent of daily vitamin C
  • 5 percent of daily vitamin B6
  • 36 percent of daily vitamin K

Blueberries also provide:

  • 9 milligrams (mg) calcium
  • 0.41 mg of iron
  • 114 mg of potassium
  • 9 mg of magnesium
  • 18 mg of phosphorus
  • 1 mg of sodium
  • 0.24 mg of zinc
  • 9 mg of folate

Blueberries also contain copper, beta-carotene, folate, choline, vitamins A and E, and manganese.

As well as anthocyanins, vitamins, and minerals, blueberries contain a diverse range of phenolic compounds Trusted Source such as quercetin, kaempferol, myricetin, and chlorogenic acid. These contribute to the antioxidant capacity of blueberries.

A type of flavonoid called anthocyanin gives blueberries many of their health benefits. Flavonoids are plant compounds that often have a powerful antioxidant effect.

Anthocyanin is responsible for the blueberry’s characteristic blue color. It also contributes to the numerous advantages of blueberries.

Foods with the most nutrients per calorie have the highest rankings, and blueberries are placed among the top fruits and vegetables for nutrient density, with an ANDI score of 132.

ANDI is one of several rating systems for food nutrition, but further research is needed to determine the role of specific foods in disease prevention.

2. Blueberries Have the Highest Antioxidant Foods

An antioxidant is a substance that inhibits oxidation, especially one used to counteract the deterioration of stored food products. Antioxidants scavenge free radicals from the body cells and prevent or reduce the damage caused by oxidation.

Blueberries have the highest antioxidant capacity of all the popular fruits and vegetables. The main antioxidant compounds in blueberries belong to a family of polyphenols antioxidants called flavonoids.

Flavonoids appear to be the berries’ antioxidant with the greatest impact.

3. Blueberries Help in Lowering Blood Pressure

Blueberries are free of sodium and maintaining low sodium levels is essential to keeping blood pressure at a healthful level.

They contain potassium, calcium, and magnesium. Some studies have shown that diets low in these minerals are associated with higher blood pressure. Adequate dietary intake of these minerals is thought to help reduce blood pressure Trusted Source.

In an eight-week study, obese people who had had a high risk of heart disease noted a 4–6% reduction in blood pressure after consuming 2 ounces (50 grams) of blueberries per day (Trusted Source).

Other studies have observed similar effects — especially for postmenopausal women (Trusted Source, Trusted Source).

4. Maintaining healthy bones

Blueberries contain iron, phosphorous, calcium, magnesium, manganese, zinc, and vitamin K. Each of these is a component of bone. Adequate intake of these minerals and vitamins contributes to building and maintaining bone structure and strength.

Iron and zinc fulfil crucial rolesTrusted Source in maintaining the strength and elasticity of bones and joints.

Low intakes of vitamin K have been linked to a higher risk of bone fracture Trusted Source Trusted Source

However, adequate vitamin K intake improves calcium absorption and may reduce calcium loss.

5. Can Help Maintain Brain Function and Improve Memory

Oxidative stress can accelerate your brain’s aging process, negatively affecting brain function.

According to animal studies, the antioxidants in blueberries may affect areas of your brain that are essential for intelligence (Trusted Source, Trusted Source).

They appear to benefit aging neurons, leading to improvements in cell signaling.

Human studies have also yielded promising results.

In one of these studies, nine older adults with mild cognitive impairment consumed blueberry juice every day. After 12 weeks, they experienced improvements in several markers of brain function (Trusted Source).

A six-year study in over 16,000 older individuals found that blueberries and strawberries were linked to delays in mental aging by up to 2.5 years (Trusted Source).

6. Preventing cancer

Vitamin C, vitamin A, and the various phytonutrients in blueberries function as powerful antioxidants that may help protect cells against damage from disease-linked free radicals.

Research suggests that antioxidants may inhibit tumor growth, decrease inflammation in the body, and help ward off or slow down esophageal, lung, mouth, pharynx, endometrial, pancreatic, prostate, and colon cancers.

Blueberries also contain folate, which plays a role in DNA synthesis and repair. This can prevent the formation of cancer cells Trusted Source due to mutations in the DNA.

7. Protect Cholesterol in Your Blood

Oxidative damage is not limited to your cells and DNA.

It is also problematic when your “bad” LDL cholesterol is oxidized.

In fact, oxidation of “bad” LDL cholesterol is a crucial step in the heart disease process.

The antioxidants in blueberries are strongly linked to reduced levels of oxidized LDL. This makes blueberries very good for your heart (Trusted Source).

8. Managing diabetes

Studies have found that people with type 1 diabetes who consume high-fiber diets have low blood glucose levels, and people with type 2 diabetes who consume the same may have improved blood sugar, lipid, and insulin levels.

One cup of blueberries contributes 3.6 grams (g) of fiber. A large 2013 cohort study Trusted Source published in the BMJ suggested that certain fruits may reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes in adults.

Over the course of the study, 6.5 percent of the participants developed diabetes. However, the researchers found that consuming three servings per week of blueberries, grapes, raisins, apples, or pears reduced the risk of type 2 diabetes by 7 percent.

9. Healthy digestion, weight loss, and feeling full

Blueberries help to prevent constipation and maintain regularity for a healthful digestive tract because of their fiber content.

Dietary fiber is also commonly recognized as an important factor in weight loss and weight management by functioning as a “bulking agent” in the digestive system. High fiber foods increase satiety, or the feeling of being full, and reduce appetite.

Feeling fuller for longer can reduce a person’s overall calorie intake.

10. Protecting against heart disease

The fiber, potassium, folate, vitamin C, vitamin B6, and phytonutrient content in blueberries supports heart health. The absence of cholesterol from blueberries is also beneficial to the heart. The fiber content helps to reduce the total amount of cholesterol in the blood and decrease the risk of heart disease.

Vitamin B6 and folate prevent the buildup of a compound known as homocysteine. Excessive buildup of homocysteine in the body can damage blood vessels and lead to heart problems.

According to a study from the Harvard School of Public Health and the University of East Anglia, in the United Kingdom (U.K.) regular consumption of anthocyanins can reduce the risk of heart attack by 32 percent Trusted Source in young and middle-aged women.

The study found that women who consumed at least three servings of blueberries or strawberries per week showed the best results.

11. May Reduce Muscle Damage After Strenuous Exercise

Strenuous exercise can lead to muscle soreness and fatigue.

This is driven partly by local inflammation and oxidative stress in your muscle tissue (Trusted Source).

Blueberry supplements may lessen the damage that occurs at a molecular level, minimizing soreness and reduced muscle performance.

In a small study in 10 female athletes, blueberries accelerated muscle recovery after strenuous leg exercises (Trusted Source).

12. Skin health

Collagen is the support system of the skin. It relies on vitamin C as an essential nutrient and works to help prevent skin damage caused by the sun, pollution, and smoke. Vitamin C may also improve collagen’s ability to smooth wrinkles and enhance overall skin texture.

One cup of blueberries provides 24 percent of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin C.

13. May Help Fight Urinary Tract Infections

Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are a common problem for women.

It is widely known that cranberry juice can help prevent these types of infections.

Because blueberries are closely related to cranberries, they boast many of the same active substances as cranberry juice (Trusted Source).

These substances are called anti-adhesives and help prevent bacteria like E. coli from binding to the wall of your bladder.

Blueberries have rarely been studied for their impact on UTIs, but they likely have similar effects as cranberries (Trusted Source).

Precautions:

People who are taking blood-thinners, such as warfarin, must not suddenly change their intake of blueberries or other sources of vitamin K. Vitamin K plays a key role in blood clotting, and it could affect the blood-thinning action of the drug.

The overall diet is more important than any single food in preventing disease and achieving good health. It is better to eat a varied diet is the key to healthful living, rather than to concentrate on individual foods.

Summary:

Blueberries are incredibly healthy and nutritious.

They boost your heart health, brain function, and numerous other aspects of your body.

What’s more, they’re sweet, colorful, and easily enjoyed either fresh or frozen.

 

Please leave us your comments below:

  • Do you eat blueberries? If so, how often do you eat them?
  • How do you prefer to eat your blueberries?
  • Is there any benefit you derive from blueberries?

 

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Disclaimer

Information on this site is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. We encourage you to do your own research. Seek the advice of a medical professional before making any changes to your lifestyle or diet.

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REFERENCES:

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Healthline.Com

MedicalNewsToday.Com

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