When it comes to consuming foods good for your health, a good place to start are fruits and vegetables. That’s a broad category of healthy consumables, so let’s narrow it down somewhat and choose a fruit that is readily available in grocery stores, relatively inexpensive, easily added to many courses ranging from a bowl of cereal to a salad, and can be eaten in almost unrestrained abundance without fear of a bellyache. We’re talking about blueberries, of course.
Blueberries are small and malleable, meaning they can be added as an ingredient to pancakes, waffles, and muffins, among other delectables, enhancing the taste and augmenting the health value of foods you already enjoy. Blueberries are healthy and all natural. Not only can they be easily picked, as they can be found growing in many areas, but they can also be purchased ready to eat at the store or frozen, so that they can be stored at home for a reasonable period of time before being thawed out whenever convenient.
Where Do Blueberries Come From?
Per whfoods.com, blueberries have become naturalized to many geographic regions of the world, such as North America, and also to include Europe, Australia, New Zealand and temperate areas of Asia. But North America leads all continents in terms of being home to the most species of blueberries. Note, too, that blueberries are also commercially cultivated and grown in other regions of the world, such as parts of South America and Northern Africa. They’re practically everywhere!
What Makes Blueberries So Healthy?
One thing in particular packs blueberries with their health punch . . . as well as their color. That’s what is known as anthocyanin, which belongs to a group of plant compounds known as flavonoids, which possess a potent antioxidant effect, per medicalnewstoday.com. Anthocyanin also happens to be what is responsible for giving blueberries their blue hue.
Be careful about storing frozen blueberries for too long. Per medicalnewstoday.com, a study cited at National Institutes of Health (NIH) demonstrated that blueberries kept frozen in storage for six months reduced the potency of the anthocyanin by 59 percent. So don’t keep them locked away for too long.
Additionally, all it takes is one cup of blueberries to provide you with 24 percent of your recommended daily allowance (RDA) of vitamin C. That by itself plays a major role in many of the health benefits afforded by the ingestion of nutritious, delicious blueberries.
10 Health Benefits of Blueberries
It’s hard to go wrong eating blueberries, even lots of them. But if you have concerns about health issues or certain prescriptions you might be taking, you should discuss your consumption of blueberries with your physician before making any significant changes to your diet. For instance, blueberries also contain a large amount of vitamin K, which can affect blood clotting, a concern for people using blood thinners such as warfarin, per medicalnewstoday.com.
That said, here are 10 potential health benefits associated with blueberries:
- Manage diabetes. The natural fruit sugars assist in balancing your blood sugar without spiking it, per facty.com. Also, the anthocyanins in blueberries assist with your body’s glucose metabolism and insulin sensitivity.
- Support brain function and cognition. The fruit’s antioxidant properties help minimize the stress and strain of oxidation on the brain, per facty.com. Blueberries thus enhance the ability of your brain to maintain healthy function and might even enhance memory.
- Aid weight loss. Blueberries can help in removing toxins from your body while also working to keep your cravings for snacks under wraps, per besthealth.com.
- Reduce effects of arthritis. Blueberries are also an anti-inflammatory, which can help reduce the pain of arthritis, a condition that involves the degeneration of joints.
- Promote digestive health. Digestive disorders such as stomach ulcers, constipation, and irritable bowel syndrome can be countered by the consumption of blueberries, per besthealth.com.
- Enhance bone health. Per medicalnewstoday.com, blueberries are loaded with a variety of nutrients – such as calcium, iron, vitamin K, magnesium, manganese, phosphorous, and zinc – all of which bone is comprised of.
- Reduce high blood pressure. Blueberries are free of sodium, a mineral known for raising blood pressure. The fruit also contains potassium, calcium, and magnesium, a deficiency of which has been linked to high blood pressure, per medicalnewstoday.com.
- Boost energy levels. The provision of fiber, both soluble and insoluble, in blueberries can thwart the digestion rate in your gastrointestinal tract, per goodhousekeeping.com, producing a more consistent release of sugar into your bloodstream and leading to a more enduring energy boost.
- Lower risk of chronic disease. The antioxidants in blueberries can limit inflammation and combat free radicals, lowering your chances of being subjected to a variety of illnesses, per goodhousekeeping.com.
- Anti-aging properties. Per facty.com, oxidative DNA within the cells can make them break down prematurely, rendering them incapable of properly repairing themselves. This can lead to problems with facets such as eyesight, hearing, internal organs, and even your skin, which comprises your body’s largest organ. Thanks to their antioxidants, blueberries can potentially prevent oxidative DNA by impeding the ability of free radicals to disrupt bodily functions.