25 Blueberry Health Benefits
Fresh blueberries are a popular fruity treat. They have a sweet flavor and can be eaten freshly picked or incorporated into recipes for desserts plus you can buy them frozen too. Blueberry health benefits can reduce your risk of many diseases.
Blueberries grow in clusters on shrubs and bushes, ranging in size and shade but will always be some variant of a deep blue-purple.
Health Benefits of Blueberries
Low in Calories but High in Nutrients
Blueberries are one of the most nutrient-dense berries. One cup of blueberries containing four grams of fiber, 24% of your recommended intake of Vitamin C, 36% of your recommended intake of vitamin K and 25% of your recommended intake of manganese. They’re also made up of 85% water which means they’re both hydrating and low in calories. In fact, one cup only contains 84 calories.
Antioxidants are key to protecting your body from damage by free radicals, unstable molecules that can damage your cells and contribute to the physical signs of aging and create a higher risk of cancer. Blueberries are a great, natural source of antioxidants. In fact, they’re thought to have one of the highest antioxidant levels of all fruits and vegetables.
Protect Against Cancer
Oxidative damage to your DNA happens all the time, in fact, scientists believe it happens tens of thousands of times each day in every cell in your body. Excessive damage to your DNA can lead to an increased risk of your cells mutating or reproducing more rapidly than they should. This can lead to a higher risk of developing cancer. The antioxidants within blueberries will help to reduce the effects of free radicals in your blood and reduce the level of DNA damage – thus lowering your risk of cancer.
Prevent the Oxidation of Cholesterol in Your Blood
Oxidative damage can cause the oxidation of the bad cholesterol in your blood. This is one of the leading causes of heart disease. The antioxidant properties of blueberries help to reduce the oxidation of LDL cholesterol and thus helps to keep your heart healthy.
Lower Blood Pressure
Blueberries have been shown to help lower blood pressure. This is great news for people who suffer from high blood pressure – a major risk factor for heart disease. Eating a medium sized portion (fifty grams) of blueberries each day should help to reduce your blood pressure by up to six percent.
Reduced Risk of Heart Disease
By tackling a number of risk factors for heart disease, blueberries can help to significantly reduce your risk of developing the condition. Studies have also found that the antioxidants in blueberries could lower your risk of heart attacks by 23%.
Maintain Brain Function and Improve Memory
Oxidative stress can cause the cells in your brain to become damaged or age rapidly. This then has a negative effect on your brain function and memory capacity. Because blueberries contain antioxidants, they can reduce this oxidative damage and so preserve the function of your brain.
Help Tackle Diabetes
Studies suggest that the bioactive compounds in blueberries outweigh any negative impact of their moderately high sugar content when it comes to controlling your blood sugar. Their antioxidant properties also have a positive effect on insulin sensitivity and glucose metabolism.
Help Fight Urinary Tract Infections
Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are a common health problem. One of the amazing health benefits of blueberries, however, is that they can help to fight off these infections. As close relatives of cranberries, which are well known for their ability to tackle UTIs, it’s hardly surprising that blueberries can be used in this way. Blueberries contain many of the same active ingredients as cranberries which makes them a potent home remedy for UTIs.
Reduce Muscle Damage
Strenuous exercise or heavy lifting can sometimes lead to muscle soreness, fatigue, and even damage. This is largely driven by the inflammation and oxidative stress in your muscle tissues. Blueberries can help to reduce this inflammation and prevent some degree of oxidative stress. This helps to keep your muscles healthy and functioning correctly, even after strenuous exercise.
Maintain Healthy Bones
Blueberries contain high levels of iron, phosphorous, calcium, magnesium, manganese, zinc, and vitamin K. These are crucial compounds to the formation of bones. Getting enough of each component into your diet will help your bones stay strong and maintain their structure. Studies have shown that low levels of vitamin K can increase your risk of bone fracture while positive levels of the vitamin can increase calcium absorption, helping your bones stay healthy and strong.
Improved Skin Health
Skin needs collagen in order to stay supported and full. The rich levels of vitamin C in blueberries helps our bodies to produce more collagen and protects our skin from the damage that can be caused by the sun, smoke, and pollution. This also helps to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles by helping to plump out the skin.
Helps with Weight Loss
The high content of fiber in blueberries acts as a bulking agent which helps you to feel fuller. As a result, eating blueberries, which have a low-calorie content, can help you feel full and stop you from snacking on calorie heavy and unhealthy foods. This, therefore, helps to prevent weight gain and can even aid with necessary weight loss.
Healthy Digestion, weight loss, and feeling full
Fiber is also key to healthy digestion, which means that eating blueberries could improve your digestive health and reduce the risk of constipation.
Inflammation is a normal part of the immune response and helps to protect your body from illness and injury. However, chronic inflammation can actually be a cause of many different illnesses and diseases including heart disease, depression, and cancer. Because blueberries are packed full of antioxidants, they have a potent anti-inflammatory effect on the body which helps to lower your risk of a number of diseases.
Blueberries can help to delay and even prevent age-related ocular problems thanks to their powerful antioxidant properties. They have been known to help combat dryness, macular degeneration, cataracts, and retinal infections.
The high levels of vitamin C and antioxidants in blueberries mean they’re great for boosting your immune system. This will reduce your risk of developing common illnesses such as colds and flu.
Alleviate Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
Blueberry husks can be consumed alongside probiotics to provide relief from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). This is because their potent anti-inflammatory properties reduce inflammation within the bowel and tackle symptoms such a bleeding or pain in the abdominal area.
The high content of anthocyanin (a specific type of antioxidant) in blueberries helps to detoxify heavy metals such as lead, mercury, and cadmium from the body including lead.
Blueberries contain polyphenols and resveratrol which are known to help increase lifespan and slow down the adverse effects of aging. They also help to activate the specific genes linked to anti-aging and reducing the decline of brain function.
Protect Your Lungs
The high levels of anthocyanin in blueberries help to protect your lungs as you age. One study found that over a period of sixteen years, people who ate two or more servings of blueberries each week had as much as 37.9% less of a decline in the function of their lungs when compared to people who ate no or very few blueberries.
Prevents and Cures Acne
One of the great health benefits of blueberries is that they’re great for your skin and can help fight and prevent acne. This is because they have a high concentration of salicylates – the salt from salicylic acid, which is often used as in commercially available acne treatments. It helps to unclog pores, remove dead skin and fight bacteria for clearer, blemish-free skin.
You can either eat blueberries or use them to create a face mask by mashing them up with some lemon juice and honey. Leave the face mask on for twenty minutes before rinsing your skin with warm water. Do this at least twice a week and you should start to notice your acne improving.
Facilitates Hair Growth
Blueberries can help to stimulate the growth of new hair. This is because they contain chemicals called proanthocyanidins which accelerate the growth of your hair. You can use crushed blueberries to make a hair mask that will work wonders for your hair growth.
Simply mix a handful of crushed berries with some olive oil and apply to your hair, concentrating the application at the roots. Leave on for twenty to thirty minutes before rinsing with warm water. Don’t over-use the mask though as it could cause your hair to become dry and brittle.
Prevents Premature Graying
Graying hair occurs when your hair loses its colored pigment. This can often be prematurely triggered by genetic or by a deficiency of vitamin B12. Thankfully, blueberries are a great source of vitamin B12 which makes them great for delaying graying hair. Again, you can use the blueberries to create a hair mask or simply try to include more of them into your diet.
Will these blueberry health benefits encourage you to eat more of this little blue fruit? Comment below!