Though the roster of “superfoods” is filled with names that many people outside of nutritional circles are probably not too familiar with, most of us know and love the common blueberry. This popular, sweet little berry is packed with important nutrients, and can be a great contribution to overall good health.
Blueberries are full of the micronutrients that our bodies require for healthy functioning. They are also a good source of vitamin A, vitamin K, manganese, and important dietary fiber. Another great thing about blueberries is that they have a low glycemic load. What this means is that they do not substantially raise blood glucose levels after being eaten. There is promising evidence that blueberries are good for:
1. Improve memory function
A 12 week study out of the University of Cincinna found that older adults benefited from improved memory after consuming wild blueberry juice on a daily basis. The researchers concluded that this was likely due to antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds known as anthocyanins that are found in blueberries.
2. Support heart health
The antioxidant effect of blueberries may also help to prevent cardiovascular disease. Though more research needs to be done, especially in humans, researchers at the University of Arkansas discovered that mice fed with blueberry powder showed healthier heart vessels.
3. Prevent urinary tract infections (UTIs)
Blueberries may be helpful for preventing UTIs because they contain compounds known as flavonoids. Flavonoids are good for helping the body fight off and get rid of bacterial infections.
4. Reduce inflammation
Along with the already noted anti-inflammatory effect of anthocyanins, flavonoids are also known for their anti-inflammatory properties. This can make blueberries helpful for inflammatory diseases such as arthritis. Of course, such conditions require a healthy lifestyle of a good diet and regular exercise in order to be managed properly, but consistent blueberry intake may help to reduce some of the pain.
5. Help to prevent cancer
One of the most exciting and hopeful new paths coming from research into the health effects of blueberries is the possibility that they may prevent and inhibit the growth of cancer cells. These studies are tentative and have so far only been done on animals or on human cells in a laboratory setting. Nonetheless, researchers have had promising results that are sure to lead to more studies in the future.
6. Slow down visual loss
High in anthocyanosides, blueberries help to slow down visual loss. Due to their antioxidant properties, these tiny berries can delay or prevent age-related ocular problems, including cataract, macular degeneration, myopia and hypermetropia. The thing is, blueberries contain a special group of powerful antioxidants such as carotenoids (zeaxanthin, lutein), flavonoids (resveritrol, rutin, quercetin), as well as vitamins A, C, and E, selenium, phosphorus and zinc, which are all essential and beneficial for the ocular health.
7. Reduce belly fat
Eating blueberries regularly can also help you get rid of belly fat. A handful of blueberries is a healthy and nutritious snack, so why not eat it right now to boost your health and reduce belly fat? You can add blueberries to your smoothies, yogurt, pancakes, waffles and sprinkle them on your cereal.
8. Good for your skin and hair
Ever wondered how you can get healthy skin and hair naturally? Eating a cup of blueberries can provide fantastic benefits such as a glowing skin and a healthy and shiny hair. Blueberries help to fight free radical damage, and the antioxidants in these berries protect you from premature aging. I think it’s a great reason to eat blueberries daily.
9. Keep away constipation
Blueberries are high in fiber that can help relieve constipation. Just make sure you don’t eat too much of them. A big handful of blueberries will be enough to keep away constipation. If you have constipation frequently, you need to consult your doctor to find out the reason.
10. Improve digestion
Last but not least health benefit of blueberries is that they help to keep your digestive system healthy. Vitamins, copper, sodium, fiber, fructose and acids in blueberries improve digestion and can help you feel fuller longer. Both fresh and frozen blueberries make great additions to smoothies and baked goods. It’s an excellent way to reap the benefits of blueberries.
Even if you aren’t worried about any particular disease you should consider snacking on blueberries more often instead of reaching for a bag of chips. Eat them by the handful or throw them into your favorite smoothie for an easy way to give your body some important nutrients. What’s your favorite way to eat blueberries?