Move over beans, blueberries are truly the magical fruit. Not only are they versatile and delicious, but they are loaded with health benefits for our entire bodies, inside and out. Combine that with their portable and adorable physique and anyone can see that blueberries are essential and totally irresistible! Here are some of the awe-mazing powers of the enchanting blueberry…
By Jennifer Gattoni
1. Lower Blood Pressure & Reduce Risk of Heart Disease
A study conducted by Florida State University found that a 1 cup serving of blueberries per day lowered the risk of cardiovascular disease by reducing both blood pressure and arterial stiffness.
2. Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease
Promising research shows that ingesting blueberries daily may prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. A study conducted by the University of Cincinnati Academic Health Center, revealed that in subjects with minor cognitive impairment, daily intake of blueberry powder, equivalent to 1 cup of berries, showed improvement in both memory and brain activity. While more research is needed, these results provide hope in the quest for effective Alzheimer prevention and treatment.
3. Treat Gum Disease
Scientist’s have discovered that blueberry polyphenols effectively prevent the growth of the bacteria and biofilms which cause gum disease. While antibiotics are currently used for severe cases, the report featured in ACS' Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry,
announced that researchers are working on an oral device that would release blueberry extract directly onto the gums to treat the disease.
4. Diabetes Prevention and Treatment
The American Association of Diabetes regards blueberries as a “diabetes superfood.” A study done by researchers at the University of Illinois found that fermenting berries doubled their antidiabetic power. While eating fresh blueberries daily will help control blood glucose levels, drinking blueberry wine (alcohol removed) is a tasty way to benefit from these little berries’ magic. In fact, the study featured in Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, revealed that highly concentrated levels of anthocyanins, present in blackberry-blueberry wine (alcohol removed), had comparable effects to the diabetes medication sitagliptin. Since long term use of diabetic medicine has adverse side effects, it is promising that a more natural cure may be in the near future.
5. Weight Loss
Indulge in nature’s sweet treat guilt free! Blueberries are loaded with fiber and water. Consuming a cup will help you to stay full longer and help to keep you hydrated.
6. Cancer Prevention and Treatment
The mighty little blueberry is loaded with antioxidants and phytonutrients which studies have found to reduce inflammation, cell damage, and oxidative stress, all precursors to cancer. Researchers from Charles-Bruneau Cancer Research Center found that the juice of blueberries drastically reduced the growth of gastric, intestinal, breast, and prostate cancer. Furthermore, a study done by Lombardi Cancer Center found that a six-month diet of daily blueberry intake led to the reduction of a malignant breast tumor by 60%!
7. Brain Power
Blueberries are your brain’s favorite food. Studies show that a daily intake of blueberries improves cognitive function, learning capacity, and memory. As if this isn’t impressive enough, nature’s blue miracle may also protect your brain from damage and learning impairments caused by neurotoxins or stroke.
8. Lower Cholesterol
Researchers found that a diet supplemented with blueberry extract significantly lowers both total serum, and LDL cholesterol, further protecting our precious physical vessels from heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.
9. Gastrointestinal and Bladder Health
A study conducted by Rowett Research Institute found that the non- digestible low molecular weight phenols in blueberries are able to stay intact throughout the long journey to the large bowel. When the large bowel is graced by the presence of blueberries, they alter local bacteria metabolism, preventing infection and translocation of pathogenic bacteria from the colon to exterior lymph nodes. One study even found that blueberry extract can kill the parasite, Giardia duodenal, which is prevalent in both developing and developed countries.
You may not know that blueberries pack as much punch as cranberries when it comes to urinary tract health. The abundant amount of anthocyanins (a class of polyphenols), along with the natural sugar D-mannose that the berries contain, attach to E. coli bacteria preventing it from adhering to the urethra and bladder wall. This prevents, and can even cure, urinary tract infections.
10. Beautiful Skin, Hair, and Nails
Now that you have peace of mind that your daily intake of blueberries are working hard for your internal health, here is the blueberry icing on the cake! As you’ve already learned, blueberries are full of beneficial antioxidants and phytochemicals that reduce inflammation, fight free radicals, and carry away infection causing bacteria. They are also full of folate, essential fatty acids, and vitamins A,B,C, and E. All of these have the power to turn back time for healthy, youthful skin, hair, and nails. As with the prevention of gum disease, topical application can effectively absorb these beneficial nutrients directly where they are needed.