The Many Health Benefits of Blueberries

| December 3, 2015 | 0 Comments

Blueberry antioxidant organic superfood in a bowl concept for healthy eating and nutrition

The term “superfood” may be loosely defined in the health world, but whatever the precise definition, blueberries are sure to be a shining example. They are low in calories and high in nutrients. They help to fight off cancer, diabetes, and heart disease.

They have positive effects on your bones, blood pressure, digestion, and more. And they happen to be insanely delicious. So if blueberries have never been a regular part of your diet, here are some of their many health benefits of blueberries to tempt you to make them a staple in your diet.

Healthy Bones

Blueberries contain a unique combination of nutrients that work together perfectly to build stronger bones—namely, calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorous, zinc, and vitamin K. Iron and zinc, in particular, are central to maintaining strength and elasticity in bones and joints, and vitamin K actually improves calcium absorption. (One cup of blueberries contains 36% of the RDA of vitamin K.)

Reduced Muscle Damage

BlueberriesStrenuous exercise can take a significant toll on your muscles, leaving you with muscle soreness and fatigue.

Blueberries, however, can help reduce the muscular damage that occurs at the molecular level, minimizing soreness and improving muscle performance.

One study has shown that blueberries can even accelerate muscle recovery after strenuous exercise.

Lower Blood Pressure

Blueberries contain calcium, magnesium, and potassium—all of which are known to help reduce blood pressure naturally. They also are naturally low in sodium, which in excess can increase your blood pressure.

Better Digestion

Just a couple handfuls of blueberries (about 1 cup) contains enough fiber (3.5–4 grams) to help prevent constipation and promote regularity. In addition, the vitamins, fructose, and acids in blueberries work to stimulate the gastric and digestive juices to keep food running smoothly through the gastrointestinal system.

Youthful Skin

As this article details, blueberries are rich in antioxidants and therefore offer a myriad of anti-aging benefits. They help stimulate collagen production, improve skin elasticity, reduce the appearance of wrinkles, and improve overall skin texture.

health blueberries

The vitamin C in blueberries (one cup contains 24% of the RDA) also helps to protect the skin against harmful ultraviolet rays.

Improved Mental Health

Some studies have shown that regularly consuming blueberries can reduce the risk of cognitive decline, improve short-term memory loss, and improve motor coordination.

More Manageable Diabetes

Those who are affected by type 1 diabetes can benefit significantly from consuming high fiber diets, which means that blueberries are a great food for diabetics. Type 1 diabetics who consume a high fiber diet will see lower glucose levels.

Type 2 diabetics may benefit from consuming blueberries, as well, potentially seeing improved blood sugar, lipids, and insulin levels.

Decreased Risk of Urinary Tract Infections

Wild berry. Blueberries in wooden spoons on purple background

Wild berry. Blueberries in wooden spoons on purple background

Research on blueberries and their ability to reduce the risk of developing a urinary tract infection is still ongoing, but it is reasonable to surmise that since blueberries contain many of the same nutrients as cranberries that help prevent certain bacteria from binding to the wall of the urinary bladder, blueberries can likely fight off UTIs as well.

Decreased Risk of Heart Disease

Blueberries contain several nutrients that are known to reduce the risk of heart disease—namely, fiber, potassium, folate, vitamin C, and vitamin B6. They also happen to be low in cholesterol, which is a major contributor to heart disease; and they can even help prevent “bad cholesterol” from causing oxidative damage in the body, a major step in the development of heart disease.

Decreased Risk of Cancer

Yep—these berries can fight your risk of cancer as well. The antioxidants in blueberries help protect cells against free radical damage, inhibit tumor growth, and decrease inflammation in the body.

Blueberries, in particular, have been linked to decreasing your risk of developing colon, endometrial, esophageal, lung, mouth, pharynx, pancreatic, and prostate cancer.

Satiety and Weight Loss

And, of course, as you’re looking to better your diet in the new year, blueberries can help you there, as well. Because blueberries are a high fiber food, they can increase satiety and thus reduce appetite, allowing you to feel fuller longer. This means that blueberries, in the long run, can help fight obesity.

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