By: Adam L.
During the summer months, the grocery stores and farmer’s markets are flooded with fruit.
From strawberries to oranges, the cornucopia is a sight to behold.
And when you’re shopping for fruit, consider these six research-backed reasons blueberries should always be in your diet.
1 – They’re Loaded With Antioxidants:
Antioxidants help to protect the cells from oxidative damage, which leads to a host of chronic health problems. Blueberries are one of nature’s top “containers” for antioxidants.
Multiple studies indicate that when compared to other fruits as well as other plant-based foods, blueberries lead the pack in total antioxidant content as well as total antioxidant power.
The class of antioxidants in blueberries known to impart serious health benefits are a type of polyphenol antioxidant known as flavonoids.
According to the Journal of Agricultural Food Chemistry a class of flavonoids called anthocyanins are what help protect and shield the body’s cells from free-radical damage. The dark blue skin of blueberries contains the most anthocyanins, so always be sure to eat as much blueberry skin as possible.
2 – They’re Great For Heart Health:
While fruits and vegetables are known to help protect the heart (owing to their fiber content) blueberries are especially useful at modulating heart health towards the positive.
Multiple studies indicate just a few ounces of blueberries a day are all it takes to start improving cardiovascular function.
The Journal of Nutrition published a study showing that when people ate 2 ounces of blueberries daily for eight weeks, it improved their blood pressure anywhere from 4-6%. This was achieved without any modification to behavior or exercise, too.
While other studies support this benefit, several studies have shown blueberries are especially helpful at lowering blood pressure for postmenopausal women.
3 – Boost Brain Power:
Those wishing to protect memory and enhance cognition would be wise to include blueberries in their diet as the antioxidant power of this tiny fruit can help protect brain cells while simultaneously boosting brain function.
Studies indicate that the way blueberries modify your brain is by helping regenerate aging neurons, which helps your brain send signals with increased efficiency.
In a study following nine adults for 12 weeks, researchers published a study in the Journal of Agricultural Food Chemistry detailing how consuming blueberry juice every day helped improve several markers associated with brain activity.
This study sits atop mounds of evidence supporting how antioxidants in fruit delay the onset of aging and the associated weakening in brain function that results.
4 – May Help You Lose Weight:
Blueberries are also one of the best foods for weight control as they’re low in carbs, high in fiber, and are known to influence blood sugar positively.
Here’s what Dr. Josh Axe says about blueberries and weight loss.
“Several animal studies have confirmed the beneficial effects of blueberries on weight loss. An animal study published in the journal PLoS One, for instance, found that blueberry juice prevented obesity in mice fed a high-fat diet.
Another animal study conducted by the Cardiovascular Center and the Michigan Integrative Medicine Program showed that blueberry intake was associated with a reduction in belly fat for obese rats.
Be sure to combine blueberries with a nutritious, well-rounded diet and plenty of physical activity to promote weight loss even more.”
5 – Could Prevent Diabetes:
Type 2 diabetes is known as a disease of civilization. It’s called this because it’s mostly preventable.
By modifying their diet, the average person can prevent type 2 diabetes, and a person who already has diabetes can reverse it.
And adding servings of blueberries to your diet can help in this quest.
There are two mechanisms at work here. The first is related to how blueberries help you lose weight. The high fiber content in blueberries influencing blood sugar positively helps to keep insulin normalized, which is essential for keeping diabetes at bay.
Antioxidants in blueberries are also believed to help control diabetes in much the same way. Research indicates antioxidants in blueberries have positive effects on how the body responds to the release of insulin as well as how it metabolizes blood sugar.
Studies show when people drink blueberry juice or take an extract of blueberry, it helps the body metabolize glucose better and also improves how insulin is used. Both of these factors help promote an anti-diabetic effect.
6 – Could Help Fight Urinary Tract Infections:
While most people are familiar with using cranberry juice to prevent urinary tract infections (UTIs), there is mounting evidence blueberries also promote a healthy urinary tract.
Blueberries, like cranberries, contain compounds called anti-adhesives, which are known to help prevent bacteria like E. coli from adhering to the wall of the bladder and causing infections. While blueberries are not the first recommendation for preventing UTIs, the fact they share a similar trait to cranberries indicates they could be a reliable source of the substances known to fight infections.
Things to Know about Blueberries
When selecting blueberries, it’s crucial to buy organic. Blueberries grown conventionally are subject to intense herbicide and pesticide applications, which should be avoided at all costs.
Additionally, if the price of blueberries is something of concern, realize that buying frozen blueberries is a reliable way to get all the health benefits of blueberries without the cost.