By Michelle Fouchi Esneault
Though tiny, blueberries pack a powerful punch when it comes to your health. This sweet and nutritious summer super food has the highest levels of antioxidants of any other fruit and provides multiple benefits to both brain and body.
The American Heart Association states that eating at least three servings of blueberries a day can lower your risk of heart attacks by 32 percent. In addition, they contain fiber, potassium, calcium and magnesium which can lower your blood pressure and help prevent atherosclerosis and strokes.
The antioxidants and phytochemicals in blueberries have anti-carcinogenic properties which can prevent tumors and cancers. A study by the Beckman Research Institute suggests that they also can reduce DNA damage by neutralizing the free radicals that cause oxidative stress which may play a role in the development of cancer.
LOWERS BAD CHOLESTEROL
The British Journal of Nutrition finds that the high fiber content and antioxidants in blueberries help to dissolve bad LDL cholesterol, reducing your risk for heart disease.
Anthocyanins are the pigments that make blueberries blue. According to a study in The Journal of Nutrition, this powerful antioxidant also improves insulin sensitivity and lowers blood sugar levels which can lessen the risk of metabolic syndrome and Type 2 diabetes.
IMPROVES BRAIN FUNCTION
A study in the Annals of Neurology has found that the antioxidants in blueberries help maintain brain function. Antioxidants tend to accumulate in areas of the brain linked with intelligence which improves memory. In addition, a study found in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry has found that eating blueberries can help lower the risk of Alzheimer’s disease as well.
TREATS URINARY TRACT INFECTIONS
Studies from the journal Molecular Nutrition and Food Research have found that blueberries contain anti-adhesives that prevent bacteria like E. coli from binding to the wall of the bladder, preventing urinary tract infections.
The calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc and vitamin K found in blueberries increases bone density and elasticity which leads to healthy bones which in turn, keeps your body strong.
One cup of blueberries contains 24 percent of the recommended daily dose of vitamin C which is a big factor in building collagen. It helps to improve your skin health by reducing acne and preventing skin damage caused by UV rays, smoke, dust and pollution that can cause wrinkles and age spots.
PROMOTES DIGESTION AND WEIGHT LOSS
At only 84 calories a cup and with 14 percent of the recommended daily dose of fiber, blueberries are a great low-calorie snack that assists with digestion and weight loss by making you feel full.
The anthocyanins in blueberries help to detoxify heavy metals such as lead, mercury, cadmium and arsenic from your body.
Fresh or frozen, eat blueberries as is, or on top of waffles, pancakes, or yogurt. Blend them into smoothies or add to baked goods or salads. Any way you eat them, they are a simple and delicious way to improve your health.