Top 5 Health Benefits of Blueberries for Your Body
The Health Benefits of Blueberries
Imagine a superfood – not a drug, that was powerful enough to help you reduce the risk of cancer, heart disease and even lower your blood cholesterol! Did I mention there are no side effects involved? You might be already confused or think that it’s too good to be true, but I am talking about blueberries.
Blueberries are popular, sweet and most importantly nutritious. This vibrant fruit might be small, but it packs serious loads of nutritional benefits. And even though they are often outshined and overlooked in favor of more exotic types, there is no denying that they are some of the most antioxidant-rich and nutritious fruits the world has ever seen.
Blueberries health benefits are countless, ranging from helping keep the heart strong to supporting digestion and boosting your brain’s capabilities. Besides this, they are delicious, sweet and even better, low in calories in case you are concerned about adding fruit to your diet because of weight.
So what are the nutritional facts of blueberries and how are they beneficial to your body?
There are 5 major ways your body benefits from blueberries:
1. High in Antioxidants
Antioxidants fight harmful radicals in the body and also come with a myriad of health benefits. Apart from preventing cell damage, they defend the body from chronic infections and diseases such as diabetes, cancer, and heart complications .
Research has already shown that blueberries are rich in antioxidants. For instance, a study conducted in China established that blueberries are some of the most abundant sources of antioxidants. Researchers conducting the study compared the level of antioxidants in strawberries and blueberries and found out that blueberries not only contained the highest level of antioxidants but also had extra antioxidants such as flavonoids, phenols, and anthocyanins .
Wild blueberries are exceptionally high in antioxidants. A study published in the British Journal of Nutrition proved that supplementing participants with wild blueberry powder spiked the level of antioxidant serum by approximately 8 percent after only an hour of consumption .
2. Help Fight Cancer
Research has recently unearthed impressive results regarding blueberries capability to defend the body against specific types of cancer. In 2010, researchers using a test tube experiment found out that blueberry extracts inhibited the growth of breast cancer cells. This strongly implies that these magical fruits do have the potential to fight cancer-causing cells .
In another study conducted at the Brown Cancer Center at the University of Louisville, rats with breast cancer were given a blueberry powder and their tumors magically reduced by 40 percent, further cementing the notion that blueberries can protect your body from cancerous cells. However, although most of these studies are yielding positive results, be sure to consume a wide variety of fruits, along with plenty of vegetables to optimally realize the cancer-fighting potential of blueberries.
3. Amp Up Weight Loss
If you take a close look at the nutritional profile of blueberries, you will quickly realize why they are perfect for you if your goal is losing weight. Besides being low in calories, they contain 3.6 grams of fiber for each cup, effortlessly fulfilling 14 percent of your daily fiber needs in just one serving.
This is important because fiber moves slower through your digestive system when compared to other nutrients. This promotes satiety which keeps you feeling full for longer, eventually helping you get rid of excess weight by not reaching for snacks and extra calories. Several studies have been conducted to confirm this capability, and the results were positive. For instance, a study published in the journal PLoS One established that juice from blueberries prevented obesity in rats that were on a high-fat diet .
Another study conducted by researchers from the Michigan Integrative Medicine Program showed that blueberry extracts were directly related to the reduction of belly fat in obese mice . Once again, make sure that you combine blueberries with a well-rounded, nutritious diet and plenty of exercises if you are looking for positive results.
4. Boost Brain Health
This is perhaps the most iconic health benefit of blueberries. Results from several studies suggest that consuming blueberries improves cognitive skills and memory functionality. In 2016, a study involving 21 children found out that drinking blueberry juice on a regular basis significantly improved the participant’s cognitive performance. The results were published in the European Journal of Nutrition .
In 2012 a study indicated that consuming blueberry juice for two weeks was also able to improve memory performance in older adults . While we know cognitive function can decline when we age if we don’t take specific measures to enhance our brain healthy, it’s good to know that blueberries could be an excellent way to care for our brain as we age easily.
In addition to this, blueberries are laced with several antioxidants which further protect the brain from free radical damages, also promoting its health and preventing it from aging very fast. Consuming other brain foods such as walnuts, avocados, green vegetables, and beets will further help you enhance your memory and cognitive skills.
5. Promotes Heart Health
There is no denying that a healthy heart is one of the keys to living a good life. The heart is the hardest working muscle tasked with pumping blood throughout the body to replenish body tissues with nutrients and oxygen which are all key to survival. Unfortunately, heart disease in the U.S. is a major concern and a leading cause of death. Coronary heart diseases have wreaked havoc on many, accounting for over 30 percent of all deaths in the US alone. High cholesterol levels and high triglycerides are just a few of the risks that exposure to these deadly diseases.
Fortunately, studies have indicated that consuming blueberries has the potential to get rid of some of these risk factors. For instance, a study conducted in 2015 showed that consuming blueberries for 2 months significantly reduced arterial stiffness and blood pressure .
A similar study published in the journal of nutrition indicated that supplementing one’s diet with blueberries reduced not only blood pressure but also oxidized LDL cholesterol, both of which are top risk factors for heart diseases . However, these benefits are limited on their own but you can combine these magical fruits with a well-rounded and all-inclusive diet the uses food to create optimal heart health.
There is no one magic bullet, or berry, when it comes to health. But having a strong arsenal of powerful foods in your fridge is a major step to reaping the benefits that superfoods can offer. Blueberries are easy to add to just about any meal. For breakfast they can go into your bowl of oats, at lunch they could be in, and at dinner, they can be late night snack. If you’re looking for a delicious recipe, try these out in check out the two below. Both the smoothie and the chia pudding are quick and easy to make and pair these powerful blueberries with other awesome superfoods.
Blueberry Power Protein Energy Smoothie
- 1 cup blueberries (frozen)
- ½ cup organic greek yogurt
- 2 cup spinach
- 1 tbsp honey
- 1 banana
- 1 cup water
- Place blueberries, spinach, greek yogurt, banana, honey and water into a blender. Add more water if needed to bring level to the top of ingredients.
- Blend and enjoy.
Blueberry Chia Pudding
- 2 cups unsweetened vanilla almond milk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- 1 cup blueberries
- ½ cup chia seeds
- Mix milk, chia seeds, vanilla extract, cinnamon, and maple syrup into a shallow bowl and place into the refrigerator overnight or for at least 2 hours. Stir halfway through.
- Take out chia mix and divide into 4 cups. Place ¼ cup fresh blueberries on top of each and enjoy.
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