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.
7. Controls Blood Glucose Level
According to a 2013 study published in the journal Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism, eating 2 cups a day of wild blueberries can improve or even prevent high blood sugar levels in people with Type 2 diabetes.
Blueberries are packed with antioxidants, vitamins and fiber that can help control blood sugar levels as well as other health complications due to diabetes. As blueberries have a low glycemic index, they can help maintain energy levels and fullness for longer periods of time.
These berries are a smart substitute when you feel the urge to eat something sweet. You can eat fresh or dried versions as a healthy snack, and use them to make low-sugar cakes and desserts.
8. Fights UTIs
According to a 2004 Rutgers University study, blueberries can also prevent urinary tract infections (UTIs). They have bacteria-inhibiting properties that prevent bacteria from adhering to bladder walls, which in turn helps ward off UTIs.
Plus, being rich in antioxidants, blueberries also boost the immune system. A strong immune system will support a better functioning bladder.
Drink a glass of blueberry juice once or twice daily to prevent as well as help treat UTIs.
9. Delays Aging Process
Antioxidants can slow down the aging process by neutralizing free radicals in your body. Blueberries are the best antioxidant-rich food in the world, so eat them daily to delay the aging process. You can even even drink a glass of blueberry juice daily
Plus, blueberries are rich in anti-inflammatory properties that help keep all your body’s cells from aging and keep your skin looking young. They can prevent signs of premature aging like wrinkles, fine lines, sagging skin and dull complexion.
10. Aids Digestion
Blueberries are a high-fiber fruit, and hence very good for the digestive system. Fiber plays a key role in waste management, regulating bowel movements and the natural detoxification process.
They can even prevent constipation, bloating and gas. Also, they may help fight inflammation and infection in the lower gastrointestinal tract.
Plus, the nutrients present in blueberries improve digestion. The fiber content of blueberries is lost when they are juiced, so eat whole blueberries to aid healthy digestion.
To enjoy the all the health benefits of blueberries, make sure to choose berries that are firm and have a uniform color with a whitish bloom. Avoid berries that appear dull in color or are soft and watery in texture.