8 Health benefits of blueberries, a superfruit that boosts your heart health
04/22/2022 / By Rose Lidell / Comments
8 Health benefits of blueberries, a superfruit that boosts your heart health

Fresh, sweet blueberries are a delicious summer treat. The berries are also a good snack if you’re looking for something nutritious that offers many health benefits. Studies have shown that blueberries can help prevent cancer and heart disease.

Nutritional profile of blueberries

A one-cup serving of fresh blueberries contains only 84 calories, zero cholesterol and the following nutrients:

  • Vitamin K (36 percent of the Daily Value (DV))
  • Vitamin C (24 percent of the DV)
  • Vitamin B6 (Five percent of the DV)
  • Potassium (114 milligrams (mg))
  • Phosphorus (18 mg)
  • Calcium (nine mg)
  • Folate (nine mg)
  • Magnesium (nine mg)
  • Sodium (one mg)
  • Iron (0.41 mg)
  • Zinc (0.24 mg)

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Blueberries also contain trace amounts of other nutrients like beta-carotene, choline, copper, folate, manganese and vitamins A and F.

Blueberries contain various phenolic compounds such as chlorogenic acid, kaempferol, myricetin and quercetin, all of which contribute to the antioxidant capacity of the berries.

While blueberries are considered generally safe to eat, you should limit your intake if you are taking blood-thinners like warfarin. Don’t suddenly change your intake of blueberries or other sources of vitamin K.

This is crucial since vitamin K has a key role in blood clotting and may affect the blood-thinning action of warfarin.

8 Reasons to eat more blueberries

Blueberries contain flavonoids called anthocyanins that are responsible for many of the fruit’s health benefits.

Flavonoids are plant compounds with potent antioxidant effects. Anthocyanins make blueberries blue and contribute to the various benefits of the superfruit.

It’s best to eat fresh, organic blueberries to reap many health benefits. While you can also eat frozen blueberries, some experts say that the freezing process can diminish the potency of blueberries’ health benefits.

According to a study, after six months in storage, the anthocyanins in blueberries degraded by 59 percent. The best way to improve your overall health is to follow a balanced diet and eat nutritious fruits and vegetables like blueberries.

Here are eight more reasons to enjoy blueberries:

Blueberries promote bone health

Blueberries contain nutrients like calcium and iron that are components of bones. Adequate intake of these nutrients is essential for maintaining bone structure and strength.

Iron and zinc both have a role in maintaining the strength and elasticity of your bones and joints.

Studies have found that low intakes of vitamin K are linked to a higher risk of bone fracture. But adequate vitamin K intake can help boost calcium absorption and reduce calcium loss.

Blueberries help reduce blood pressure

Maintaining low sodium levels helps keep your blood pressure at a healthy level. Blueberries are a healthy snack because they’re free of sodium and full of nutrients like calcium, magnesium and potassium.

Research shows that diets low in these minerals are linked to high blood pressure; adequate dietary intake of these minerals can help reduce blood pressure.

Blueberries help prevent heart disease

Blueberries contain dietary fiber, folate, potassium, vitamin B6, vitamin C and phytonutrients that promote heart health.

Blueberries don’t contain cholesterol, making them a heart-friendly snack. They also contain dietary fiber that helps reduce the total amount of cholesterol in your blood, decreasing your heart disease risk.

The folate and vitamin B6 in blueberries can prevent the buildup of homocysteine. Excessive buildup of this compound in your body can damage blood vessels and result in heart problems.

According to a British study, regular consumption of anthocyanins helps lower heart attack risk by 32 percent in young and middle-aged women. Those who consumed at least three servings of blueberries or strawberries per week had the best results.

Blueberries offer anticancer benefits

The phytonutrients and vitamins A and C in blueberries act as potent antioxidants that can protect cells against free radical damage linked to health problems.

According to data, antioxidants can inhibit tumor growth, minimize inflammation and help fight or slow down colon, endometrial, esophageal, lung, mouth, pancreatic, pharynx and prostate cancers.

Additionally, blueberries contain folate, a nutrient with a crucial role in DNA synthesis and repair. This is important because it helps prevent tumor formation caused by DNA mutations.

Blueberries are good for people with diabetes

A one-cup serving of blueberries contains 3.6 grams of fiber.

Research has found that individuals with Type 1 diabetes who consume high-fiber diets have low blood glucose levels while those with Type 2 diabetes who consumed the same diet improved their blood sugar, lipid and insulin levels.

According to a large 2013 cohort study, consuming certain fruits can also help reduce Type 2 diabetes risk in adults. Results showed that during the study, only 6.5 percent of the participants developed diabetes.

The researchers reported that eating at least three servings per week of apples, blueberries, grapes, pears, or raisins reduced Type 2 diabetes risk by at least seven percent.

Blueberries helps improve skin health

Collagen is the support system of your skin.

Your skin needs vitamin C because it helps prevent skin damage caused by constant exposure to the sun, pollution and smoke. Additionally, vitamin C improves the production of collagen, which helps smoothen wrinkles and enhance your skin’s texture.

A one-cup serving of blueberries provides 24 percent of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin C.

Blueberries promote healthy digestion and weight loss

Blueberries can prevent constipation and maintain regularity because they contain dietary fiber.

Fiber is also important for healthy weight loss and weight management because it acts as a “bulking agent” in your digestive system. Consuming fiber-rich foods increases satiety, or the feeling of being full, and helps prevent unhealthy snacking.

Blueberries improve mental health

According to population-based studies, eating blueberries is associated with slower cognitive decline in older women.

Research also suggests that aside from reducing your risk of cognitive damage, blueberries can help boost your short-term memory and motor coordination.

Incorporating blueberries into a healthy diet

You can buy blueberries fresh, dried or frozen, or in jams and jellies or syrups.

Make sure you check the label of frozen and dried blueberries for added sugars. When purchasing jellies or jams, choose all-fruit spreads without any added sweeteners, juices or fillers.

Here are some suggestions on how to incorporate blueberries into your meals and snacks:

  • Eat a handful of fresh blueberries as a quick snack.
  • Use blueberries as toppings on cereal, oatmeal, pancakes, waffles, or yogurt to give your breakfast an extra burst of flavor and nutrition.
  • Add blueberries into muffins or desserts.
  • Make a fresh syrup to top desserts or breakfast foods by blending blueberries in a food processor with a little water.
  • For a light dessert, heat frozen blueberries in a bit of sugar and some brandy. Serve with whipped cream or plain, thick yogurt.
  • Make a smoothie with frozen berries, low-fat milk and yogurt.
  • Make a delicious salad with fresh or dried blueberries, spinach, walnuts and feta cheese.
  • Pair blueberries with meat by serving pork with a blueberry sauce.

If you’re feeling hungry, snack on a handful of fresh blueberries or make a refreshing fruit smoothie.

Sources:

MedicalNewsToday.com

TheKitchn.com

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