There is an extensive amount of research that confirms the health benefit of eating blueberries. These ‘little blue dynamos’ are nutrient-dense and packed with antioxidants, which is why they bear several health merits. In addition to the high nutrient content of the berries, these are low in calories and high in fiber. This further expands the scope of the benefits of blueberries.
Despite the health and beauty benefits though, a word of caution is essential here. The effects of eating large amounts of blueberries are still unknown in the case of pregnant and nursing mothers. Therefore, these women should keep their consumption of blueberries to limited. You should also check with your physician if you have any prevailing health condition.
Health and Beauty Benefits of Blueberries
Blueberries show multiple benefits for your skin, hair, and overall health. Their nutrient profile boasts high fiber, low calories, and an abundance of antioxidants, particularly the powerful anthocyanin, which shows lots of health advantages. These are also rich in vitamin K, vitamin C, and vitamin B6 along with manganese, copper, and potassium.
On top of this, these berries exhibit high water content and contain low amounts of sodium and carbohydrates. Owing to its rich nutrient profile, blueberries are able to pose several benefits when included in diet. Here is an in-depth look at the benefits of blueberries:
- Maintain bone health
Blueberries contain calcium, magnesium, iron, manganese, vitamin K, phosphors, and magnesium. These are all components of bones. An adequate intake of these vitamins and minerals result in stronger bones by contributing to the maintenance of bone strength and structure.
Low levels of vitamin K correlate with increased risk of bone fracture. However, the intake of vitamin K from this source is helpful. Vitamin K helps lessen loss of calcium from the ones and improve calcium absorption. Zinc and iron also play an essential role in maintaining the elasticity and strength of joints and bones.
- Rich source of antioxidants
Antioxidants play a critical role in your body. These combat free radical damage and curtail inflammation. These free radicals lie at the heart of several health concerns such as chronic pain, arthritis, and developing numerous diseases like cancer, diabetes, and heart disease.
Antioxidants help fight free radicals and lower the risk of developing such health condition. These also protect against cellular damage. Blueberries are a potent source of antioxidants. A study compared the antioxidant content of strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries. It found out that blueberries contained the highest antioxidant capacity.
Moreover, these berries contain significant amounts of specific antioxidant types including anthocyanins, flavonoids, and phenols. Another study published in the British Journal of Nutrition also found out that giving participants wild blueberry powder boosted their serum antioxidant status by 8.5% in only an hour’s time.
- Potentially protects against aging
Oxidative DNA damage is partly responsible for early aging. In addition to aging DNA damage also results in the development of chronic ailments like cancer. Blueberries are, however, enriched with antioxidants. These help neutralize free radical damage to the DNA, thereby, slowing the ticking aging clock.
A month-long study asked their 168 participants to drink a liter of apple and blueberry juice daily. At the end of the study, researchers found out that oxidative DNA damage caused by free radicals dropped down by 20%. Several other studies also support these findings.
- Lowers blood pressure
An essential pre-requisite of maintaining low blood pressure is regulating low sodium levels. Blueberries are a good means to this end, as these are free from sodium. In its stead, the berries are packed with calcium, magnesium, and potassium.
Research points out that a diet that is low in these minerals is linked to high blood pressure. It is suggested that the adequate dietary intake of these key minerals helps lower blood pressure. Blueberries are not only low in sodium but also provide these minerals, therefore, helping to reduce high blood pressure markers.
- Prevents cancer
Phytonutrients, vitamin A, and vitamin C in blueberries also work as powerful antioxidants that protect against cellular damage from disease caused by free radicals. Research suggests that antioxidants have the potential to decrease inflammation and inhibit the growth of a tumor.
Moreover, these antioxidants assist in fending off or slowing cancers of the mouth, lung, esophagus, pancreas, prostate, colon, and pharynx. Owing to their rich antioxidant profile, blueberries are able to lower the risk of cancer.
Blueberries also contain folate, which is responsible for DNA repair and synthesis. Resultantly, the formation of cancer cells can be prevented.
- Helps manage diabetes
Studies highlight that people who suffer from diabetes type 1 consume high-fiber diets exhibit have low blood glucose levels. At the same time, individuals with diabetes type 2 who have high fiber diets are able to improve their lipid, blood sugar, and insulin levels.
A cup of blueberries contains 3.6 grams of fiber, which aids in managing diabetes. A study outlines that some fruits can help reduce the risk of diabetes type 2. These fruits include apples, pears, raisins, grapes, and blueberries. The study concluded that three servings of these fruits in a week help to cut down the risk of diabetes by 7%.
- Encourage weight loss
Blueberries are also applauded for their role in promoting weight loss. The high fiber content of blueberries encourages digestion and brushes up weight loss. Research indicates blueberries encourages satiety and reduces belly fat.
A cup of blueberries contains only 84 calories and 15 gram of carbohydrates. These numbers are favorable for those who want to lose weight or manage. Additionally, diet and frozen blueberries are amazing low-calories snacks.
- Protect against heart disease
The nutrient profile of blueberries reaps benefits for the heart health. The berries consist of potassium, vitamin C, vitamin B6, folate, fiber, and phytonutrients that support good heart health. Blueberries are free from cholesterol, which is also a plus point for optimal heart health.
Fiber, present in the berries, helps lower the cholesterol content in your blood and lowers your risk of heart disease. Folate and vitamin B6 help keep the buildup of homocysteine at bay. An excess buildup of this compound can damage blood vessels and culminate in heart problems.
Furthermore, a study also confirms that regular intake of anthocyanins can cut down the odds of a heart attack by 32% in young and middle-aged women. The same study also reveals that women who consumed a minimum of three servings of strawberries and blueberries in a week showed the maximum benefits.
- Improves brain health
Blueberries are also known for their ability to enhance brain health. Several studies indicate that consuming blueberries can help improve cognition and memory. A recent study published in the European Journal of Nutrition suggests that sipping a blueberry drink can improve cognitive performance.
Another study points out that consuming wild blueberry juice on a daily basis helps improve the memory in the case of older adults. Over and above that, the antioxidant content of blueberries helps to protect the brain from damage due to free radicals. On top of it, these antioxidants protect against the early aging of a healthy brain due to free radicals.
- May help fight UTIs
Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs) are common among women. Cranberries help prevent such infections. Since blueberries are related to cranberries and also consist of the same active substance as those present in the cranberry juice, these can also help protect against UTIs.
These substances are termed as anti-adhesives. These prevent bacteria such as E. coli from attaching to the bladder walls. Although blueberries have not been studied to such an end but owing to a similar composition to cranberries, they are considered helpful against UTIs.