Blueberries are natural, easy-to-find fruits that help ward off loads of diseases and conditions – it is no wonder they are considered a superfood. Integrating fruits and vegetables into the diet has an undeniable effect on your mood and well-being. It is for this reason that dieticians and physicians encourage individuals to include fresh fruits and vegetables in their daily diet. In this article, we take a quick look at the benefits of plant based diets containing blueberries.
Blueberries are deep purple fruits. They derive their color from anthocyanins, which are present in large amounts. In addition to anthocyanins, blueberries are loaded with other phenolic compounds such as catechin, ferulic acid, caffeic acid, quercetrin, and quercitin.
Fresh blueberries are low in sodium, calories, and virtually have zero fat. In contrast, these fruits are rich sources of antioxidants, vitamin C, vitamin K, and dietary fiber. They also have significant amounts of potassium and manganese, which are also vital for one’s overall well-being.
Blueberries have a sweet and tart flavor, which makes them a staple among many people. But that’s not all they have. Below, we highlight the health benefits of blueberries.
You may already know that blueberries are the “king of antioxidant foods.” They are said to have probably the highest levels of antioxidants among all common fruits and vegetables. Particularly, blueberries contain flavonoids, which is a family of polyphenol antioxidants.
Antioxidants are extremely helpful to the body as they neutralize free radicals. These unstable molecules are by-products of chemical processes in the body and can damage body cells, leading to certain cancers. While blueberries may not be a remedy for cancer, they can help fend off the main culprits.
The antioxidants present in blueberries also help prevent the damage of skin cells which may be caused by free radicals. Some dermatological studies have also indicated that vitamin C, which has antioxidant properties, plays a significant role in the synthesis of collagen. These nutrients, which are abundant in blueberries, have beneficial effects on skin cells and ultimately promote skin health.
Integrating blueberries into your diet can help maintain collagen levels, keeping your skin looking healthy and young. While the antioxidants present in blueberries may not necessarily boost collagen production, they prevent the depletion of the already-present collagen. This way, it can do the best job it can in keeping your skin healthy.
Another benefit of plant based diet containing blueberries is a low cholesterol level in the blood. Besides containing practically no fats, blueberries also help prevent the oxidation of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol. The oxidation of LDL cholesterol is detrimental as it plays a role in the development of heart disease. The antioxidants present in blueberries are linked to lower levels of oxidized LDL, which makes these fruits heart-friendly foods.
Other studies have indicated that a high intake of anthocyanins, which are the main antioxidants in blueberries, significantly reduces the risk of a heart attack. However, this was not a conclusive study and more scientific research is needed.
High blood pressure – a major risk factor of heart disease – may be significantly lowered by a diet containing blueberries. While it is not clear which nutrients in blueberries help with the lowering of blood pressure, studies have shown that these fruits do well in lowering blood pressure among obese people and postmenopausal women.
The oxidation of body cells by free radicals could also harm the brain. Oxidative stress, which is a result of free radical activity in the body, can hasten the aging process of the brain. This often affects brain function, including memory.
The antioxidants in blueberries are also believed to benefit aging neurons, which significantly improves cell signaling. Consuming blueberries every day has also been found to be a good way of combating mild cognitive impairment that may affect older adults. What’s more, the compounds in blueberries are essential in delaying mental aging.
Blueberries are high in dietary fiber, which is good for the gut. Consuming enough fiber can help prevent or relieve constipation. Also, eating dietary fiber results in increased stool bulk, which promotes regular bowel movements. Besides gut health, dietary fiber can help with weight loss as it results in the feeling of fullness. This way, individuals trying to shed some weight consume less food (and fewer calories).
Blueberries contain fairly moderate sugar levels. Further, the bioactive compounds in these fruits appear to be effective in blood sugar control. Particularly, anthocyanins have positive anti-diabetes effects, including insulin sensitivity and sugar metabolism. By improving insulin sensitivity, blueberries can lower the risk of type 2 diabetes, which is a risk factor for lower limb amputation.
There are a plethora of health benefits from consuming a plant based diet containing blueberries. If you’re looking for fruits to integrate into your diet for a wholesome nutritional treat, then blueberries are your best bet. Besides promoting skin and gut health, blueberries can lower the risk of high blood pressure and heart disease, which are risk factors for limb amputation.