Blueberries are my new obsession.The question I hear often is: Are blueberries good for you? Let’s explore this very impressive berry and uncover 7 health benefits of blueberries. I knew they were good for you, I just didn’t know how good.
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Are Blueberries Good for You?
Blueberries are often called a superfood and even the king of antioxidants. Credited with many health benefits. This powerhouse berry is nutrient rich and packed with antioxidants and even good for your heart. Like many other Fruits and vegetables, blueberries are good for your health, and we need more of them in our daily diet.
Among all the nutrients they provide they contain important biological molecules called flavonoids. Flavonoids and in blueberries have powerful antioxidant capabilities that protect your brain and other tissues from oxidant molecules produced by normal life processes. These molecules help suppress inflammation, a major cause not only of chronic brain impairment but of aging in other parts of the body as well.
With today’s diet habits most people aren’t getting enough of the vitamins and minerals they need through their days. This comes as unsurprisingly as a product of drastic changes on what we eat over the last couple of centuries. Processing of food in the name of profit over health. We’ve managed to make it less nutritious instead of more beneficial to us and animals and the environment around us.
When we feel sick, tired or lethargic we understand that something is lacking. Most likely it is the right nutrients and vitamins. Usually we try to fix the lack of vitamins in most of our diets by taking supplements. They help to bridge the gap between what you are eating and what you should be eating.
By adding the right fruits and vegetables you can bridge that gap without the need of supplements. You can add blueberries to your daily diet. Just a handful of blueberries every day can do the job of several vitamin supplements all at once.
7 Health Benefits of Blueberries
Blueberries are one of the most beneficial fruits you can add to your diet.They are packed with antioxidants, vitamins and potassium. Making them a very potent and nutritional choice for you. Recommended by doctors and nutritionists. Not only can they lower your risk of heart disease and cancer, they are also anti-inflammatory and even anti-aging.
I have found that including blueberries in my diet helps me feel better with better digestive health and less bloating. when I was researching and gathering information to create a vegan cooking guide. I started to find more and more benefits of these fruit that I liked before but did not used them as I shouldve. They are a guilt free all natural snack that can help with cravings and add a great deal of flavor as a topping. You can eat them with your oats, on pancakes and even with vegan desserts like this vegan blueberry coconut cheesecake cups.
Blueberries are easily accessible during the summer season and even when they are not in season you can get some frozen ones too which are great for smoothies. They are so versatile, you can use them in fruit salads and many more ways. Later in this article I will discuss many ways you can add it to your favorite meals. And I’ll try to answer frequently asked questions about them and their nutritional value.
Here are 7 ways blueberries help protect your health. Answers to questions like are blueberries good for you? Including easy ways to incorporate them into meals, snacks, and drinks, and why you should enjoy them year-round. I’m sure some of these 7 health benefits will surprise you.
Blueberries are loaded with Vitamins
A cup of blueberries can provide nearly a quarter of your daily minimum target for vitamin C. This vitamin is essential to boost your immune system. It also supports skin health. That cup of blueberries can also provide over a third of your daily goal for vitamin K. As we all know vitamin C is very important and blueberries are rich with it. Vitamin K is one that is not as well known but it is very important nonetheless. Vitamin K plays a role in blood clotting, bone metabolism, and regulating blood calcium levels. The body needs Vitamin K to produce prothrombin, a protein and clotting factor that is important in blood clotting and bone metabolism.
Blueberries are rich in Nutrients
Blueberries are considered a superfood because not only are they rich in vitamins, they are packed with nutrients like manganese and potassium. And that’s not all they also provide essential antioxidants and phytoflavinoids, these berries are definitely a powerful superfood.
One cup of fresh blueberries contains much needed water. With only 85 calories, 0 fat,1 gram of protein, about 20 grams of carbohydrates, and roughly 4 grams of fiber. These nutrients have a very important role in our digestive system. And provide energy to keep our bodies functioning properly. There is no waste, blueberries provide nutrients without any unnecessary sugars or chemicals. That causes so much harm to our metabolisms.
Blueberries help with Aging
Blueberries through their potent antioxidant properties, blueberries are proven by medical studies to impact the aging processes. Minimizing cellular damage and promoting cellular regeneration. Giving your body the ability to block and even reverse many of the consequences of aging.
They can have this impact because of high concentration of important biological molecules called flavonoids. These antioxidants have been shown to combat inflammation and reduce oxidative stress 1. This is an imbalance between the production of cellular damaging free radicals and our body’s ability to counter their destructive effects.
Blueberries also contain manganese which helps maintain strong bones. Manganese also helps promote collagen production for healthy skin and joints.
In fact, recent studies prove that blueberry extracts can extend life span by significant amounts due to its antioxidant activity 2 minimizing DNA damage. This lowers the risk of several chronic diseases, including obesity, cancer, and type 2 diabetes.
Blueberries help with Arthritis
Blueberries are well-known for being very effective as an anti-inflammatory. Making them a great ally against Arthritis. Reducing arthritis inflammation can ease the pain and stress it causes to our joints.
Generally this condition happens when we age and our cartilage starts to degenerate. This causes inflammation, pain and other complications throughout our bodies. If you are my age and already feeling its effects it is painful but by no means should be considered a condition that will only happen to you when you are older.
Some studies suggest that blueberries and other antioxidant rich foods can help strengthen our bodies bones and joints to fight against arthritis. Adding some blueberries to your diet can help you with this condition. Whether you have been struggling with it for a while or want to avoid it.
Of course adding blueberries to your diet is not an absolute cure by any means. You will also want to ask your doctor about what other measures you can take to ensure better joint health and effectively combat arthritis.
Blueberries are good for your Heart
Blueberries can help you avoid heart disease by reducing your likelihood of developing major risk factors such as obesity, diabetes, and atherosclerosis. The hardening of the arteries can lead to a blockage that causes heart attack and stroke.
Cardiovascular health is a priority in today’s world. According to the CDC, heart disease remains the top killer of both men and women in the US affecting more than 27 million and causing nearly 600,000 deaths annually. With those alarming statistics it is a wise choice to eat more fruits and vegetables. Blueberry is one of the fruits that can improve artery function and create a positive impact on your cardiovascular health. More studies are uncovering health benefits of this superfood. This has led scientists to conclude that blueberries should be included in dietary strategies to reduce heart disease risk.
Blueberries can help your blood vessels regulate themselves 3 by tightening up or relaxing in response to blood flow. Loss of this control is an early feature of atherosclerosis. If left unchecked, it produces undesirable thickening of arterial walls affecting blood flow to vital tissues that ultimately produces heart conditions or worse.
Studies have indicated that people who regularly eat blueberries have a reduced risk 4 of developing cardiovascular disease and other conditions. Adding blueberries to your diet can improve artery function and reduce hardening. Another benefit is that it can help lower your cholesterol. All of these factors make blueberries good for your heart.
Blueberries are good for the Brain
Blueberries can enhance memory and improve cognition. This flavonoid rich fruit can help protect delayed memory, executive and psychomotor function in healthy adults as well as adults with mild cognitive impairment.
Blueberry consumption has been shown to improve delayed memory and executive function in children and adults 5 alike. In a study 6 of over 16,000 older adults over a 20 year period found those who ate a higher amount of both blueberries and strawberries which have high concentration of flavonoids experienced the slowest rates of cognitive decline.
Nutrient molecules extracted from blueberries have been detected in measurable quantities in brain tissue, especially in areas that serve memory functions. Essential functions like:
- Delayed memory which deals with long-term retention and the ability to recall information
- Executive function involves skills that enable a person to plan, focus attention, and juggle multiple tasks.
- Psychomotor function that has to do with the body and brain working together, such as hand eye coordination.
Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth leading killer in America, causing more than 19,000 deaths annually and keeping nearly 232,000 people in nursing homes. Loss of memory and cognitive skills with age is frightening and tragic. Many of the remarkable healing powers of blueberries were first discovered by treating and researching in the area of neurocognitive diseases like alzheimers and dementia. Patients with these neurodegenerative diseases have collections of abnormal brain proteins that cause memory loss and cognitive decline. Blueberry consumption interferes with production of those proteins, and their destructive impact on the brain. The evidence of their benefits continues to grow exponentially.
Blueberries helps Muscle Recovery
Blueberries can reduce the oxidant stress of exercise. This allows you to increment the duration and intensity of your workouts. It maximizes your workouts by helping your muscles recover faster and more effectively.
Preventing exercise-induced muscle damage that can leave you sore and aching can guarantee you can exercise more frequently. Regular exercise is one of the most important ways for you to combat the most common health conditions affecting us today. Unfortunately most of us fall short of getting sufficient exercise as consistently as we need to.
Blueberries nutrients not only helps muscle recovery also adds to the immune-system boost that regular workouts can provide. Ultimately this helps to keep you healthier.
The wear and tear put on muscles during exercise can trigger exercise-induced muscle damage. This can result in increased muscle soreness, reduced muscle force, and hindered athletic performance. However athletes eating blueberries by way of smoothies before and/or after exercise has proven to offset these effects. Researchers found a faster rate of muscle strength recovery in these athletes 7. The scientists concluded that blueberry consumption triggers adaptive events in the body that accelerate muscle repair.
What happens if you eat blueberries everyday?
Eating a cup of blueberries a day can reduce risk factors for cardiovascular disease, obesity, and high blood pressure. It can help protect brain function after stroke and from neurodegenerative diseases and even prevent cancer 8.
The average American only eats about 12 ounces of blueberries per year. In most studies of blueberry fruit supplementation subjects were given about that amount as a single serving per day. For example, research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 9 shows that eating 150g which is ¾ cup of blueberries daily reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease by up to 15%.
But eating that many whole berries daily might not be realistic. If you can you should consider it but at the same time keeping an eye on sugar intake is important. Remember that like most fruits, blueberries contain relatively high amounts of fructose that can contribute to excess glucose and triglycerides in the blood and fat storage in the body.
How do you eat blueberries everyday?
There’s so many ways you can add them to your meals, snacks and even drinks. Incorporate blueberries into overnight oats and parfaits, and add them to healthy pancakes and baked goods, acai bowls, and chia puddings. and amazingly easy desserts like these vegan blueberry coconut cheesecake cups.
Blueberries also work well in savory dishes. Add them to make sauces hot or chilled. Make a vinaigrette with them for a flavorful companion for salads and wraps. Add them to wild rice or quinoa. Or make them into jam and chutney made with onions and herbs. Aim for a minimum of two cups of blueberries per week, but eating more is ideal.
Blueberries are particularly great in smoothies. Add them along with banana and chia seeds and some oat milk and you get yourself a potent nutrient packed and delicious smoothie. There are extracts and even powdered products that claim deliver its nutrient more effectively. I am always prefer using the whole fruit but like with other supplements I’m not opposed to an organic version. You can add blueberries into regular or sparkling water with fresh mint for a refreshing and satisfying drink, or freeze them in ice cubes to add color and nutrients to your favorite drink. You can play with them any way you can imagine.
Are frozen blueberries good for you?
Frozen blueberries as long as they don’t have any preservatives still contain the same nutrients that fresh ones do. They are rich in Vitamin C, B6, K. They also contain fiber, manganese, iron, and antioxidants.
You can buy frozen bags with no added ingredients or freeze them yourself. Just wash the berries and spread them in a single layer on a baking sheet. Freeze them for 30 minutes then transfer to freezer bags. Remove as much of the air as possible and seal, label them and store them in the freezer. They will last for about six months.
Eat them straight from the freezer as a refreshing snack or add them to smoothies, or thaw in the refrigerator to add to anything from oatmeal to salads.
What did you learn?
Blueberries have an immense potential to help our bodies fight off damaging results of aging and bad nutrition in current diets. It will serve you well to get more information and welcome this amazing fruit into you diet as often as possible. The label “superfood,” is tossed around a lot but blueberries undoubtedly fit the bill possessing the ability to block and even reverse many of the consequences of aging. Long thought to mainly deliver their benefits through their antioxidant effects, blueberries are now recognized as having impacts on many different aging processes on a genetic level. In fact, recent studies prove that blueberry extracts can extend life span by significant amounts.
What do you think?
Let me know in the comments. If you liked this deep dive into beneficial vegan ingredients like blueberries. Please let me know if you want more and which one will you like next. Thanks,
1 Nair AR, Mariappan N, Stull AJ, Francis J. Blueberry supplementation attenuates oxidative stress within monocytes and modulates immune cell levels in adults with metabolic syndrome: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Food Funct. 2017 Nov 15;8(11):4118-4128. doi: 10.1039/c7fo00815e. PMID: 29019365.
2 Wolfe KL, Kang X, He X, Dong M, Zhang Q, Liu RH. Cellular antioxidant activity of common fruits. J Agric Food Chem. 2008 Sep 24;56(18):8418-26. doi: 10.1021/jf801381y. Epub 2008 Aug 30. PMID: 18759450.
3 Wu X, Wang TTY, Prior RL, Pehrsson PR. Prevention of Atherosclerosis by Berries: The Case of Blueberries. J Agric Food Chem. 2018 Sep 5;66(35):9172-9188. doi: 10.1021/acs.jafc.8b03201. Epub 2018 Aug 21. PMID: 30092632.
4 Curtis PJ, van der Velpen V, Berends L, Jennings A, Feelisch M, Umpleby AM, Evans M, Fernandez BO, Meiss MS, Minnion M, Potter J, Minihane AM, Kay CD, Rimm EB, Cassidy A. Blueberries improve biomarkers of cardiometabolic function in participants with metabolic syndrome-results from a 6-month, double-blind, randomized controlled trial. Am J Clin Nutr. 2019 Jun 1;109(6):1535-1545. doi: 10.1093/ajcn/nqy380. Erratum in: Am J Clin Nutr. 2019 Nov 1;110(5):1262. PMID: 31136659; PMCID: PMC6537945.
5 Hein S, Whyte AR, Wood E, Rodriguez-Mateos A, Williams CM. Systematic Review of the Effects of Blueberry on Cognitive Performance as We Age. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2019 Jun 18;74(7):984-995. doi: 10.1093/gerona/glz082. PMID: 30941401.
6 Devore, E.E., Kang, J.H., Breteler, M.M.B. and Grodstein, F. (2012), Dietary intakes of berries and flavonoids in relation to cognitive decline. Ann Neurol., 72: 135-143
7 McLeay Y, Barnes MJ, Mundel T, Hurst SM, Hurst RD, Stannard SR. Effect of New Zealand blueberry consumption on recovery from eccentric exercise-induced muscle damage. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2012;9(1):19. Published 2012 Jul 11. doi:10.1186/1550-2783-9-19
8 Yi W, Fischer J, Krewer G, Akoh CC. Phenolic compounds from blueberries can inhibit colon cancer cell proliferation and induce apoptosis. J Agric Food Chem. 2005 Sep 7;53(18):7320-9. doi: 10.1021/jf051333o. PMID: 16131149.
9 James A Joseph, Barbara Shukitt-Hale, Gemma Casadesus, Reversing the deleterious effects of aging on neuronal communication and behavior: beneficial properties of fruit polyphenolic compounds, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Volume 81, Issue 1, January 2005, Pages 313S–316S
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