Blueberries are one item that is proof of the saying,“good things come in small packages”. Along with their rich color, juicy texture and mouth-watering taste, blueberries are known for their amazing health benefits.
The nutritional value of these little berries contributes immensely to optimum health and wellness as they are among the highest antioxidant-value fruits.
They are also loaded with vitamins C, A and E, along with riboflavin, folate, fiber, niacin, magnesium, potassium, manganese, copper, iron, and zinc.
The phytonutrients in blueberries include anthocyanins, hydroxycinnamic acids, hydroxybenzoic acids, flavonols and other phytonutrients.
Blueberries also are low in calories, making them a perfect snack for any time of day. You can eat them whole or use them in granolas, fruit salads, cereals or smoothies.
Here are the top 10 health benefits of blueberries.
1. Boosts Immunity
With a daily serving of blueberries, you can easily keep common colds, seasonal flu and other illnesses at bay. Blueberries are loaded with antioxidants that strengthen the immune system by neutralizing free radicals and fight infections.
Also, blueberries are loaded with vitamin C and have strong antibacterial and antiviral properties that help prevent your body from catching colds, fevers, and many other viral and bacterial communicable diseases.
To keep your immune system strong, eat blueberries fresh instead of the packaged versions.
2. Fights Cancer
According to the American Institute of Cancer Research, blueberries can help prevent different types of cancer, including mouth, ovarian, colon, liver, prostate, lung, stomach and breast.
High amounts of vitamin C, copper and phenolic compounds make these berries rich in antioxidants that help inhibit cancer cells from progressing.
Plus, blueberries have several minerals and phytochemicals that work together to prevent the growth and spread of various forms of cancerous cells.
Frozen and fresh blueberries have equal antioxidant capacity, so you can use either to enjoy the anti-cancer benefits of this superfood.
3. Reduces Belly Fat
A 2009 University of Michigan Cardiovascular Center study shows that blueberries help eliminate belly fat. The polyphenols in blueberries can break down belly fat and reduce the risk factors for metabolic syndrome.
Also, blueberries are a great source of fiber that helps keep you feeling full and satisfied for a longer time between meals. They are also high in manganese, which helps metabolize proteins, carbohydrates and fats.
Plus, being low in fat and calories, they are an excellent addition to any weight loss diet plan. Eat blueberries daily to enjoy lower body weight and a lower total fat mass.
4. Boosts Brain Power
Blueberries also support healthy brain functioning. A 2014 study published in the scientific journal Brain Research found that blueberries help protect brain performance as well as reduce the risk of contracting Parkinson’s disease.
Two specific classes of phytochemicals, anthocyanins and proanthocyanidins, are responsible for the neuroprotective benefits of blueberries.
Also, blueberries contain brain-boosting nutrients like vitamins A, B-complex, C and E as well as selenium, zinc, potassium, copper and others.
To improve several brain functions like learning capacity, memory and motor skills, eat 1/2 cup of blueberries daily.
5. Promotes Heart Health
According to a 2013 study published in the American Heart Association’s journal Circulation, eating 3 or more servings of blueberries and strawberries a week can help cut the risk of heart attacks among women. 1 serving of blueberries is equal to about 1/2 cup of the fruit.
Blueberries contain high levels of compounds that may help widen arteries, which counters the plaque buildup that generally causes heart attacks. Also, it strengthens the cardiac muscles.
Blueberries are rich in vitamin C, calcium, magnesium, potassium and fiber that support heart health.
Simply sprinkle a few blueberries in your yogurt or add them in your smoothies to reduce heart attack risk and enjoy a healthy heart.
6. Keeps Vision Healthy
You can enjoy healthy vision for years by including blueberries in your diet. The various vitamins, minerals and antioxidants like lutein found in blueberries can help maintain healthy eyes.
According to a study published in the 2012 issue of Laboratory Investigation, these berries are rich in compounds called anthocyanosides that help reduce vision loss, eye strain and promote a healthy retina.
Also, blueberries can help prevent age-related vision problems like cataracts, myopia, macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy.
Eat 1 cup of fresh blueberries on a regular basis to enjoy good vision.