Ten Reasons Why Blueberries Are Good For You
from Food News
Blueberries are considered superfoods due to high amounts of immune-boosting antioxidants, good carbohydrates, protein and important micronutrients that support overall health.
Unsurprisingly, blueberries are among the healthiest fruits that you can eat. Here are 10 reasons why you should add blueberries to your everyday diet.
Blueberries have an impressive nutrition profile. A cup of fresh blueberries contains the following:
- Calories: 84 kcal
- Protein: 1.1 g
- Carbohydrate: 21.45 g
- Fat: 0.49 g
- Fiber: 3.6 g
- Calcium: 9 mg
- Iron: 0.41 mg
- Potassium: 114 mg
- Phosphorus: 18 mg
- Folate: 9 mg
Blueberries also contain copper, folate, choline, manganese and vitamins A, C and E. Additionally, blueberries are 85 percent water, so snacking on a cup of blueberries can keep you hydrated.
Prevent oxidative stress
Blueberries contain plant compounds known as flavonoids that have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. In particular, a flavonoid called anthocyanin acts as an especially powerful antioxidant that can prevent cellular damage caused by disease-causing free radicals. Anthocyanin also gives the blueberry its distinct blue color.
If left unchecked, free radicals can also damage immune cells, lipids, proteins and DNA, thus accelerating the aging process. Fortunately, high amounts of antioxidants can neutralize free radicals and protect against premature aging. Additionally, antioxidants can lower the risk of cancer.
Anthocyanins also work to regulate the amount of low-density lipoproteins (LDL) or “bad” cholesterol. High levels of LDL can clog arteries and severely heighten the risk of heart attack, congestive heart failure and atherosclerosis. To maintain healthy levels of cholesterol, eat plenty of antioxidant-rich foods that guard against excess LDL.
Lower blood pressure
Regular consumption of blueberries can also significantly lower systolic and diastolic blood pressure and prevent hypertension. Plus, antioxidants also ease stiff arteries and constricted blood vessels to promote circulation.
Support cardiovascular health
The blueberry’s anti-hypertension and anti-hyperlipidemia activities support overall cardiovascular health. Hypertension and hyperlipidemia, or excessive amounts of LDL, significantly increase the risk of heart attacks and cardiovascular disease since both conditions impair blood circulation.
Improve brain function
Regular consumption of blueberries can prevent degenerative cognitive conditions like dementia, Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease. Free radicals can also target brain cells and neurotransmitters that power cognitive functions like memory and concentration. But blueberries are excellent sources of antioxidants that can eliminate free radicals and keep mental faculties sharp.
Reduce the risk of Type 2 diabetes
Anthocyanins can also regulate glucose levels and improve insulin sensitivity, both of which contribute to a lower risk of Type 2 diabetes. Plus, blueberries contain dietary fiber that inhibits the absorption of excess glucose.
Treat urinary tract infection
Like most varieties of berries, blueberries are an effective natural remedy for urinary tract infection (UTI). A UTI is an infection of the kidney, ureters, bladder and urethra caused by the Escherichia coli bacteria. It causes a painful, burning sensation upon urination, and it can even cause chills and abdominal pain. Blueberries can treat UTI by preventing E. coli bacteria from latching onto the urinary tract and the bladder.
Due to the anti-inflammatory properties of anthocyanins, snacking on blueberries after strenuous exercise can relieve sore muscles and alleviate fatigue. Anthocyanins also promote tissue repair, which is a vital part of the muscle development process.
Blueberries are incredibly healthy superfoods that provide a ton of health benefits. Use fresh blueberries to top plain yogurt and oatmeal, or create a nutritious fruit smoothie.
By Joanne Washburn
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