Blueberries are tiny, bluish-purple fruits with a sweet taste. They are packed with antioxidants and phytonutrients with powerful health benefits. Eating them on a regular basis can help us fend off different illnesses.
According to the USDA National Nutrient Database, blueberries are low in calories and high in fiber. They are also rich in vitamin C, vitamin K, copper, folate, manganese, and potassium. Also, one of its major components is its powerful antioxidants which include anthocyanins, the one responsible for the fruits’ deep blue color and amazing benefits.
In a study conducted by a team of researchers from King’s College London, they have found that consumption of blueberries can help improve blood pressure and blood vessel function. For this study, 20 healthy individuals were given a beverage containing 20 g of blueberries every day. Blood and urine samples, as well as blood pressure and the flow-mediated dilation (FMD) of the brachial artery of the participants, were monitored and measured. FMD is the (widening) of an artery when blood flow increases in that artery. A person with low FMD is an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.
For this one-month study period, results revealed that after two hours of consuming blueberry drinks there was already an improvement in blood vessel function of the participants. Aside from this, the drink also has lowered the blood pressure of the participants by five-millimeter mercury (mmHg). According to the researchers, these effects are mainly due to the presence of anthocyanins, the major bioactive compounds in blueberry.
Ana Rodriguez-Mateos, the lead author of this study, says that:
“We provide further scientific evidence that in healthy humans chronic blueberry consumption leads to sustained cardiovascular benefits which are linked with circulating anthocyanin metabolites and the modulation of cellular gene programs towards an anti-inflammatory and CVD [a condition wherein a person has a narrowed or blocked blood vessel] protective profile.”
Due to these findings, the team concluded that adding blueberries into our diet can help in managing blood pressure and supporting heart function.
Other Proven Health Benefits Of Blueberries
Helps Reduce DNA Damage, Which May Help Protect Against Aging and Cancer
Oxidative DNA damage has been linked to premature aging and in the development of diseases like cancer. Blueberries have high antioxidant levels that can help neutralize free radicals that harm our DNA. According to studies, consumption of 1 liter of mixed blueberry and apple juice daily for four weeks can reduce oxidative DNA damage due to free radicals by 20%.
Can Help Protect The Lungs
As we get older, the anthocyanins in blueberries can possibly protect our lungs. Research has found that a person eating two or more servings of blueberries a week can have an up to 37.9% less decline in his lung function.
Contains Anthocyanins That May Have Anti-Diabetes Effects
Anthocyanins are one of the main antioxidant compounds in blueberries. Experts have found that they have beneficial effects on glucose metabolism and insulin sensitivity.
Helps Keep the Brain Healthy
According to studies, blueberries are packed with vitamin, minerals, and phytonutrients that can help improve cognition, prevent degeneration and death of neurons and heal damaged brain cells and neuron tissues. Due to this, blueberries can help keep our memory sharp and lower our risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
Helps Promote Digestion
Due to the fiber content of blueberries as well as its vitamins, sodium, copper, fructose, and acids, it can help the food move smoothly through the gastrointestinal system. This helps prevent constipation and other digestive problems.