July is National Blueberry month and it’s no surprise that these berries receive such recognition. According to the World’s Healthiest Foods website, the blueberry is only second to the strawberry among berry popularity in the United States. They taste delicious, make a convenient snack, enhance any smoothie AND they’re good for you. Here are five amazing benefits of blueberries.
Blueberries contain high amounts of vitamin C (immune system hero), vitamin K (important contributor to bone health) and the mineral manganese (a trace mineral involved in many functions of the body including blood sugar regulation and brain/nerve function). Other vitamins such as B vitamins and vitamin A are part of the nutritional profile, albeit in smaller amounts.
Antioxidants fight free radicals that lead to disease. Blueberries contain high amounts of anthocyanadins, a group of antioxidants that make the skin of the berry purple. These anthocyanadins are associated with improvement of blood pressure and eyesight as well as demonstrating anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties.
3. Cardiovascular support
A study on mice published in 2010, reportedly showed protective factors against atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries that hinders blood flow throughout the body) which may be due to a reduction in oxidative stress. A review written the same year concluded showed more benefits of blueberries for improved heart health in human studies as well, both on healthy subjects and those with health risks.
A study published in 2011 had athletes ingest 250g of blueberries every day for six weeks; the subjects saw a reduction in oxidative stress and an accumulation of anti-inflammatory cytokines in the body. Oxidative stress is the result of free radical activity in the body and associated with diseases, such as cancer, diabetes and Alzheimer’s.
Blueberries boast a high amount of fiber, approximately 3.55 g per 1 cup serving. A good source of fiber for a food would be 3g per serving. Fiber is good for digestive health, the cardiovascular system and pulling toxins from the body. An adequate amount of fiber per day will keep you regular, steady your blood sugar and help you feel full and satisfied.
Choose organic blueberries as the blueberry is among the list of twelve conventional foods that contain high amounts of pesticides. Also, frozen berries still retain their antioxidant profile and will not diminish their nutritional profile. So, enjoy this wonderful berry in any and all recipes this summer and reap the amazing benefits of blueberries!
Photo credit: @notnixon