Health benefits of blueberries

Health benefits of blueberries

  • Don’t let their little size fool you; blueberries are powerful. They are packed with health benefits and nutrients.
  •  They are renowned as a super-food around the world. Blueberries are second in consumption only to strawberries.
  • Let’s take a look at the health benefits of blueberries.
  • Antioxidant rich:
  • Blueberries are on top of the list when it comes to antioxidants.
  •  Antioxidants promote overall health by fighting the effects of oxidative stress. According to Dr. Andrew Weil, “oxidative stress is the total burden placed on organisms by the constant production of free radicals in the normal course of metabolism plus whatever other pressures the environment brings to bear (natural and artificial radiation, toxins in air, food and water; and miscellaneous sources of oxidizing activity, such as tobacco smoke).”  The effects of oxidative stress are often linked to chronic illnesses such as heart disease and many types of cancers.
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  • Blood sugar:
  • Research has been conducted on the effects of blueberries for persons with type 2 diabetes, insulin resistance, and metabolic syndrome. They are a low glycemic index fruit, which means it doesn’t place a high load on blood sugar. According the American Diabetes Association, “the glycemic index, or GI, measures how a carbohydrate-containing food raises blood glucose.” The participants in the study showed great improvement in blood sugar regulation after three months. Blueberries contain dietary fiber, which is also important for blood sugar regulation.
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  • Brain health:
  • Can eating blueberries keep your brain sharp and healthy? Studies say yes. Harvard researchers conducted a study, which showed that consuming berries that are high in flavonoids like strawberries and blueberries delayed memory decline in older women. Elizabeth Devore, an instructor in medicine at Harvard noted, “our findings have significant public health implications as increasing berry intake is a fairly simple dietary modification to reduce memory decline in older adults.”
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  • Cancer prevention:
  • Blueberries are high in dietary fiber which is believed to help prevent cancers  in the digestive tract. They also contain a variety of antioxidants and nutrients like vitamin C, ellagic acid, anthocyanins, urolithins, and pterostilbene, which according to the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) may help prevent certain types of cancers. Studies on animals have shown anti-cancer benefits for these antioxidants. Most studies in humans are focused on the overall level of fruit consumption. According to AICR, “comparing people with and without cancer, the studies show lower risk of several cancers in those who eat more fruits compared to those who eat relatively few.”
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  • Happy heart:
  • The heart thrives on antioxidants, which makes blueberries a top heart health food. Blueberries have been shown to reduce levels of LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) in the blood, which is very important for heart health. According to the American Heart Association, high cholesterol is one of the major factors for heart disease, stroke, and atherosclerosis.
  • For a raw blueberry jam recipe.
  • For the top heart foods.
  • For a cancer-fighting drink with blueberries.
  • REFERENCES:
  • 1. “Blueberries.AICR.org. American Institute for Cancer, n.d. Web. 26 July 2013.
  • 2. “Why Cholesterol Matters.Heart.org. American Heart Association, n.d. Web. 26 July 2013.
  • 3. “Berries Keep Your Brain Sharp.News.harvard.edu. Harvard Gazette, 26 Apr. 2012. Web. 26 July 2013.
  • 4. “Anti-diabetic Properties of the Canadian Lowbush Blueberry Vaccinium Angustifolium Ait.” National Center for Biotechnology Information. U.S. National Library of Medicine, Nov. 2006. Web. 26 July 2013.
  • 5. “Glycemic Index and Diabetes.” Diabetes.org. American Diabetes Association, n.d. Web. 26 July 2013.
  • 6. Weil, Andrew, M.D. “Stumped by Oxidative Stress?DrWeil.com. DrWeil.com, n.d. Web. 27 July 2013.
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