Blueberries are small, round fruits packed with a lot of vitamins and minerals for improved health. They can either be taken whole or chopped and eaten as dessert or pudding. These berries come in a variety of shades, ranging from the typical blue to darker strains of the same color. Studies show that they are rich in fiber, vitamins C & E, and manganese among other essential nutrients.
Apart from eating them raw by the handful, the fruit can also be taken as a snack or prepared together with a full course meal. When in season, you can serve blueberries on top of hot/cold cereal as a healthier substitute for extra sugar. The choice of which method to use when taking this fruit is all yours.
Otherwise, below are some key health benefits of blueberries for those who plan to consume them.
Health Benefits of Blueberries
- Lowers cholesterol levels
- Prevention of stomach irritation
- Improves urinary tract health
- Powerful antioxidant
- Improves eyesight
- Better memory and intellectual function
- Increased motor function
- Helps in building stronger bones
- Prevention of chronic inflammation
- Healthier good-looking skin
1. Lowers cholesterol levels
They contain the phytosterol compound pterostilbene, which readily binds to PPAR-alpha or peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor. This component is responsible for reducing the amount of cholesterol and other related lipids flowing inside the bloodstream. Pterostilbene shares similar properties as fibrates, a unique class of cholesterol-lowering capsules that reduce LDL levels and triglycerides. It has also been found that this ingredient is an active anti-diabetic agent. Moreover, since it works on only one body receptor, PPAR-alpha, chances of encountering side effects are rare compared to fibrates which attach to several receptors at once.
2. Prevention of stomach irritation
Blueberries can help relieve stomach irritations since they contain high levels of tannins and fiber, these elements draw tissue together hence decreasing inflammation within the digestive tract. The berries also have a great fructose-to-glucose quotient which makes them intestine-friendly, the fiber in particular also helps in waste management hence preventing constipation. The fruit also helps in keeping stomach flu also known as gastroenteritis at bay. This virus can otherwise travel to your stomach via hands, food, or beverages. They are also very effective at healing gut flora which is very important for those with diseases such as Ulcerative Colitis.
3. Improves urinary tract health
The proanthocyanidins found in them work to enhance the overall health and function of your urinary tract, decreasing the danger of infection by preventing bad bacteria from attaching onto cells found around this organ. They also contain anthocyanins flavonoids, which help in cleansing the urinary bladder to keep bacteria away so that they don’t get a conducive environment in which to multiply. Similarly, the natural juices found in this fruit can help purify kidneys so that they perform better at removing waste products from the body.
4. Powerful antioxidant
Blueberries help reduce the effects of free radicals that are usually produced during metabolism. These compounds when left to multiply can be destructive on different parts of the body, for instance, they can enter the brain and trigger mental function decline characterized by age-related illnesses such as Alzheimer’s. Moreover, the antioxidants can help counteract the effects of destructive free radicals that may otherwise cause certain strains of cancer.
5. Improves eyesight
Blueberries are associated with various sight-related benefits such as enhanced vision, overall visual sharpness, and reduced eyestrain. It also has incredible effects on visual acuity and prevents macular degeneration when taken in sufficient amounts. Some of the substantive ways this fruit can help with your eyesight include:
- Improved night-time visual acuity
- Faster adjustment after exposure to light glare
- More rapid pupil reaction to darkness
Studies show that age-related macular degeneration or ARMD is the primary cause of visual loss and blindness in persons over 65yrs old. However, compounds found in this product can help reverse the condition.
6. Better memory and intellectual function
It contains phytochemicals that prevent dementia, especially in older persons. The fruit can be taken to supplement other techniques one may be undergoing to improve memory, such as therapy. Scientists found out that those who drink blueberry juice extract every day for at least 2 months perform better in learning and memory tests.
These findings are very encouraging, they show that consistent supplementation with this product may offer a better approach to mitigating neurodegeneration. Moreover, if you can’t find fresh fruits because of seasonal availability there are still commercially available blueberry juice brands in the market that you can take.
7. Increased motor function
A diet rich in this fruit can help prevent loss of balance and coordination which comes with old age. Researchers found that rats fed on blueberry extracts for 8 weeks straight showed improved poise and coordination. The study established that properties found inside the berry can help reverse behavioral dysfunctions caused by nerve cell damage.
It also tested high in the ability to subdue oxygenated free radicals. When left unchecked, these compounds can cause damage to cell membranes, DNA, and other delicate internal systems found inside the human body. Most aging people will tell you that motor function is one of the first things that an individual loses when they become older. However, a proper meal plan rich in blueberries can help prevent this from happening.
8. Helps in building stronger bones
Blueberries contain manganese compound which when taken in moderate proportions can lead to improved bone metabolism, healthier bone structure and creation of essential enzymes for enhanced skeletal mass. It also works as a co-enzyme for enhancing digestive activity in human beings. Apart from these benefits, other health benefits of this compound include formation of connective tissues, proper functioning of thyroid gland, absorption of calcium and blood sugar level regulation.
9. Prevention of chronic inflammation
Sometimes different parts of the body may get inflamed due to disease or infection, when left untreated these swellings can cause diabetes, cancer, arthritis or even inflammatory bowel condition. Blueberries help the body fight such inflammations and prevent side effects from happening. Moreover, if you have been accidentally hit by an object and swelling has occurred, taking this fruit can help reduce the lesion considerably.
10. Healthier good-looking skin
Fat soluble antioxidants found in blueberries can help maintain the lipid-based moisture barrier, something that prevents loss of moisture to the atmosphere during hot seasons. Furthermore, it prevents formation of osteoporosis especially in postmenopausal women. Osteoporosis is a disease that causes deformation of bones around the limbs, taking blueberries is an efficient way of curbing it.
As you can see the health benefits of blueberries are incredible! And remember when they aren’t in season you can still buy them in the frozen isle.