Blueberry pie, blueberry cheesecake, blueberry cookies and crumbles, and blueberry coffee cake. The dessert possibilities and recipes are truly endless and endlessly delicious.
But did you know about the health benefits of blueberries? Yes, these are the fruits which can be the most delicious and healthiest thing you are going to eat all day, at the same time. Do you want to know more? Here is a comprehensive list of all the health benefits of blueberries.
Health Benefits of Blueberries
#1. Their antioxidant capacity is through the roof
As a matter of fact, blueberries have the biggest levels of antioxidants of all the fresh fruit. Apart from that, they are also high in the following.
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin B complex
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin E
- Copper which also builds up your immune system and has antibacterial properties
- Iron which helps your immune system by raising the levels of oxygen and hemoglobin in your blood.
- The antioxidant called anthocyanin
All of these compounds are known to boost the human immune system and, thusly, to prevent infections. In laymen’s terms, if you manage to take good care of your immune system, then you will be able to prevent catching colds, fevers, the pox, as well as any other bacterial and viral diseases that typically communicate from one person to another.
#2. Free radicals be gone
Another great entry on our list of health benefits of blueberries is the fact that these incredible little fruits will neutralize free radicals. They affect the process of aging in the body as well as disease, therefore they need to be taken care of. Blueberries are the best and most natural way to do that. The fact that they can do that to free radicals is due to their high level of antioxidants and vitamin C.
#3. Getting rid of your belly fat
It’s time to face the cold, hard facts. Most of us have belly fat. No matter how skinny and fit you might be, that pesky belly fat is always there to remind you that you still need to work out, keep running or hit the gym. But what if we told you that, in fact, there’s an easy way to get rid of it? It’s called blueberries, and this solution has been standing in your cupboard this whole time.
The University of Michigan Cardiovascular Center has performed a study which helps prove this idea. The test subjects were rats, and it unquestionably worked on them. As the research develops, the Michigan scientists will continue to carry out tests on other animals as well, including humans. Here are a few details on what they managed to do so far.
They concocted a powder enriched with blueberries, and they fed it to their lab rats, along with other foods in their regular diet. Those particular items of food were both low-fat and high-fat. After a period of 90 days, the animals that were fed with the blueberry powder showed signs of less belly fat. Apart from that, they also displayed a lower triglycerides and cholesterol level. Their sensitivity to fasting glucose and insulin improved as well.
If we were to talk about the rats which were fed the blueberry powder combined with a low-fat diet, they did even better. Their health was overall improved. They were thinner, had a lower total fat mass, and their liver was smaller as well, compared to the other rats. Needless to say, having an enlarged liver will lead to obesity, as well as a resistance to insulin. These two symptoms translate into diabetes.
#4. Helping the urinary tract stay healthy
The health benefits of blueberries are evident when it comes to our urinary tract as well. Infections at this level are caused by colonies of bacteria such as b-coli that build up and line the inner walls of the tract. This build up leads to inflammations, a burning sensation when you’re trying to pass urine through it, as well as a number of other complications. In other words, a urinary tract infection.
Believe it or not, the health benefits of blueberries are evident here as well. They have a compound which contains heavy molecules. They are constructed in the same way large polymers are. Therefore, they inhibit the bacteria described above and don’t allow it to develop or multiply. The heavy molecules have antibiotic properties as well that undoubtedly add to the beneficial effect. They simply wash off all the bacteria, preventing any pesky infections in the process.
#5. How does preserving your vision sound?
Health benefits of blueberries for maintaining one’s eyesight? Yes, please. How does this work? There is a blueberry extract high in anthocyanosides. Studies show that this particular compound is able to slow down vision decay. The visual problems related to age that blueberries can help you with are as follows: macular degeneration, myopia, cataract, infections, dryness, hypermetropia, and afflictions related to the retina.
Blueberries have a series of antioxidants called Carotenoids, such as lutein and zeaxanthin that help fight all these diseases. They also have flavonoids, such as resveratrol, rutin, and quercetin, as well as vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, zinc, selenium, and phosphorus. All these compounds are known to be extremely beneficial for our sight, especially as we progress age-wise.
The Archives of Ophthalmology published a batch of studies, their data, and results which show that eating three servings of these fruits will help you take advantage of all the health benefits of blueberries. It will lower your risk of ARMD, otherwise known as age-related macular degeneration, which is known to be the main thing that causes loss of vision in most adults. The said level is lowered by 36 percent when we compare it with persons who do not eat blueberries on a regular basis or who consume less than one and a half servings of this fruit per day.
#6. Health benefits of blueberries help with brain damage
All the top compounds named above which blueberries contain also help when it comes to damages to the brain. They can both prevent and heal neurological ailments because they stop the neurons from degenerating or dying. This is also the case with brain cells. More than that, blueberries and their complex of vitamins and other helpful and healthy compounds restore the central nervous system’s health.
It can be difficult to imagine how something so small and so completely in our grasp such as blueberries can, in fact, prevent and cure severe illnesses such as Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia, but it’s entirely accurate. Blueberries can even heal brain cells and neuron tissue that has already been damaged. Apart from that, they can also keep your memory up to par for a far longer period that it would ordinarily be preserved.
The health benefits of blueberries as far as brain damage goes do not stop here, though. Amazingly enough, they also improve the learning capacity of young people as well as the motor skills of old ones. In this sense, blueberries can make elderly people equivalent from a mental point of view with the ones who are much younger.
#7. Heart diseases
Blueberries have a very high fiber content, apart from all the antioxidants we’ve already mentioned. This idea translates into the fact that they are literally able to dissolve the bad cholesterol which builds up along the lining of your veins and arteries. Therefore, blueberries become an excellent supplement to your diet that will be able to prevent and cure many of the known heart diseases. Furthermore, it will strengthen your cardiac muscles, provided you eat the fruits several times a day, every day. But that shouldn’t be a problem, seeing as blueberries are utterly delicious and so easy to incorporate into your daily diet.
The Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry has published a study which showed the following results. Approximately four ounces or a reasonable drink of white wine has .47 mmol of free radicals that absorb antioxidants. The same amount of red wine has 2.04 mmol, while the type of wine that is made from highbush blueberries can deliver a whopping 2.42 mmol of said compounds which protect our hearts.
#8. Health benefits of blueberries help you respond no to constipation
We’ve mentioned in one of the above paragraphs that blueberries have a high fiber content. It’s good to be aware of the fact that it also helps with your constipation problems. Blueberries do keep constipation at bay, but you need to eat a whole bunch of them. In this way, their vitamins, copper, sodium, acids, and fructose will improve your digestion.
Therefore, the next time you feel you’re constipated, don’t rush straight to the pharmacy for a laxative or two. Try the wonderful home remedy that is blueberries.
#9. Health benefits of blueberries regarding cancer
When it comes to cancer patients, blueberries have been proven to be utter bliss. The fruits are very high in compounds such as Pterostilbene, a fantastic remedy for colon and liver cancer, as well as in Ellagic Acid. The latter, when combined with Anthocyanin and some other antioxidants the likes of copper and vitamin C, work miracles as far as cancer-prevention goes.
The Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry has released some studies performed in the lab which show that the phenolic complexes typically found in blueberries can and will inhibit the proliferation of colon cancer cells. Apart from that, they can also induce apoptosis, which is also known as the programmed death of particular cells.
Tips on How to Include More Blueberries in Your Daily Diet
- You can create an almost instant sauce for your desserts starting with blueberries as a basis. Microwave some fresh, canned or fresh fruits together with one or two spoonfuls of a jam of your choosing. You can pour it while it’s still warm over some ice cream, sorbet, pancakes, yogurt or rice pudding.
- Add a handful of blueberries to your garden salad. Drizzle everything with some olive oil and vinegar and watch how your banal salad turns into a Mediterranean bliss in no time. Plus, you’ll get to enjoy the health benefits of blueberries in an unexpected way.
- Blueberries can be heated up with some maple syrup. You can then pour the resulting concoction over pancakes or even waffles.
- Add some blueberries to sugar-free gelatin and turn this dessert into a wondrous healthy thing that you can enjoy all day long.
- Whenever you bake muffins, make sure to throw a handful of blueberries in the batter as well.
- You can also make salsa using blueberries. Mix the fruits with strawberries, limes, onion, cilantro, as well as half an avocado to get some healthy fats into there and so that you can make it a bit more filling. All the guests at your party will wonder from which chef did you get the recipe.
- Blueberry dip is very easy to make. Soak some cashews overnight. In the morning, mix them up with a cooked concoction made from blueberries, lemon juice, and yogurt. Make sure you let this dip cool down very well prior to eating it. Add it to some chocolate fondue, banana slices, strawberries, pineapple, and everything else you can think of or you’d like to try.
- How about blueberry cornbread? Most people who have tried this recipe have stated that once you go blueberry on your cornbread, you never go back. Is that really true? Why don’t you try it for yourself and find out?
- Another way to enjoy the health benefits of blueberries in a delicious recipe is by adding the fresh fruits to couscous. However, be careful because you will need to use the wild kind. Add some zucchinis, chickpeas, and carrots, and watch how such a basic dish practically transforms itself in an exotic cuisine staple
- Blueberry barbecue sauce? Why not? Once you try it, this particular BBQ sauce is bound to become your favorite. It’s unique and it has an amazing sweet and sour taste which will work amazingly well with your chicken or your pork meals. There are several recipes online so may want to try and find one that works best for you and your family. However, they all start with blueberries, apple sauce, onions, brown sugar, paprika, and, surprisingly enough, coffee.
Now that you’ve read the above health benefits of blueberries, it’s time to discuss the best ways to store blueberries to preserve them so they remain fresh.
Check For Mold
As soon as you bring your blueberries home, check that there aren’t any berries that look shriveled or have mold already growing on them. This bacteria can spread quickly to other blueberries as they’re close together, so remove any that have fuzzy parts on them.
Dry Them After Rinsing
Once you’ve thoroughly rinsed your blueberries under clean, cold water, make sure they’re dry before storing them. Lay them out on a paper towel to absorb any moisture. To effectively do this, roll the blueberries around in the towel so all moisture escapes.
Keep Them Refrigerated
Some people store blueberries on the side, though we suggest keeping them in an airtight container in the fridge. Keeping them next to other fruit will ripen them quicker, thus making them not last as long. Otherwise, they can usually keep for one week if they’re thoroughly dry before storage.
Freeze If There Are Too Many
If you don’t think you’ll eat all of the blueberries in the packet before their best before date, you can store them in a freezer until you’ll eat them next. Lay them on a single layer of a baking sheet so they’re separate and not touching one another.
Once you’ve removed them from the freezer, add the blueberries to an airtight bag. Leave them to defrost before eating, or add to drinks and yogurt on a hot summer’s day for a delightfully sweet taste.
There are so many health benefits of blueberries that it would be impossible to put them in a single list. With this in mind, why don’t you try them for yourself and see what amazing things you’ll get to experience?
Georgia has graduated from a nutrition expert degree and her work involves some freelance blogging on the side of her main part time job in a doctor’s office. She doesn’t travel a lot due to work constraints, but she likes going out as often as she can to compensate.