The Health Benefits of Eating Blueberries
The next time you head to the grocery store be sure to grab some blueberries. Not only do blueberries taste great, but you can experience a ton of health benefits from consuming them. Here are some of the best reasons we found to eat your fill.
The Super Antioxidant Powers of Blueberries
Blueberries are said to be a superfood because they contain the highest level of antioxidants of all the common fruits. Antioxidants are important because they neutralize the free radicals that are released as part of oxidative stress in your body. Oxidative stress occurs as you are exposed to environmental factors, harsh chemicals, and even natural processes in your body such as digestion. This stress causes damage like aging and can lead to diseases such as cancer and Alzheimers. When you eat foods such as blueberries that are antioxidant-rich, it is like cleaning house in your body. Antioxidants protect your cells and neutralize free radicals helping you stay healthier and younger-looking.
The main antioxidant in blueberries is called anthocyanin. Anthocyanin not only gives blueberries their color, but it is also where many of the health benefits of blueberries come from.
In addition to fighting oxidative stress, blueberries are high in Vitamin C which is used in the production of collagen in the body. So blueberries can help reduce wrinkles, age spots, other signs of aging, and even acne.
Because they are full of fiber and anthocyanin, blueberries help lower bad cholesterol and help regulate your blood pressure. In this way, they help you avoid heart disease and increase your overall heart health.
Blueberries are also rich in potassium, calcium, and magnesium, folate, and vitamin B6. These nutrients help your body repair damaged blood vessels and decrease artery stiffness, inhibit the buildup of plaque, and regulate the muscles in your heart. (1)
The fiber in blueberries helps individuals with diabetes lower blood sugar and improve insulin sensitivity. (2)
According to a cancer research journal, blueberries can be part of a long term cancer prevention plan. Not only do the antioxidants in blueberries decrease the risks associated with oxidative stress, but blueberries contain other compounds like pterostilbene and ellagic acid which are currently being researched for their anti-cancer potential. (3,4)
The vitamins and minerals in blueberries help support a healthy brain. The flavonoids in blueberries prevent the degradation of your brain and can even heal damaged brain cells and neuron tissue. This can improve your mood, your memory, and may even help prevent memory loss and brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s.
Blueberries are a low-calorie snack. 1 cup of blueberries contains only 84 calories. The high fiber content of blueberries helps with digestion and helps you feel full faster. If you are trying to lose weight and control belly fat, blueberries make a satisfying snack that won’t leave you with full of regret.
Blueberries contain nutrients that stimulate good gastric and digestive juices helping your body to digest food more efficiently and reducing constipation.
The husks of blueberries have potent anti-inflammatory properties. Consuming a large number of blueberries, along with probiotics, can help alleviate symptoms of bowel disorders such as bleeding and pain caused by Chrone’s Disease and Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). (5)
Urinary Tract Infections
You have probably heard that cranberries are an effective tool against UTIs, but did you know that blueberries are as well. Both berries have antibiotic properties and compounds that prevent bacteria from sticking to the bladder wall. The next time you have a urinary tract infection, try blueberries before you schedule a trip to the doctor, or better yet, eat blueberries on a regular basis to prevent one altogether. (6)
If you are worried about the health of your eyes you should consume blueberries. That’s because blueberries contain antioxidants that prevent age-related degeneration in eyes. Carotenoids and flavonoids in blueberries support eye health and prevent conditions such as macular degeneration, cataracts, dryness, and infections in the retina. (7)
There are just a few of the benefits of eating blueberries. A ton of research has gone into exploring all the amazing ways blueberries can improve your life. Blueberries have been found to boost immunity, reduce muscle soreness, detox your body from heavy metals, and even increase your lifespan.
Blueberries are such a versatile fruit. They are a great choice when eaten fresh, frozen, or dried. You can add blueberries to muffins, cereal, smoothies, or oatmeal, or use them as a topping on pancakes, ice cream, salad, or your other favorite dessert. And now that you know how healthy they are, you’ll want to add them to your diet a lot more.
Blueberry Nutrition Facts
One cup of fresh blueberries contains:
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