Blueberries are powerful little fruits that are filled with nutrients which help to promote good health and to ward off a number of diseases. Here are 10 reasons to make them a regular part of your diet.
High Anti-oxidant content
Blueberries have a very high anti-oxidant content, especially those which are grown wild or organically. In particular they contain high amounts of anthocyanin, (which gives blueberries their distinctive colour) resveratrol and piceatannol; all powerful anti-oxidants. Antioxidants, are able to quash harmful free radicals which can damage cell membranes and DNA through a process known as oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is linked with many chronic and degenerative diseases.
Slowing the ageing process
Tests on laboratory rats that were fed high amounts of blueberries demonstrated a reduction in age-related loss of mental capacity. This finding could have implications for humans given the ageing populations in many western countries. Preliminary tests have shown that eating a cup of blueberries a day can significantly improve coordination in older people.
Good for your Brain
Blueberries are also beneficial for your brain.Experimental work has shown that the antioxidants present in blueberries activate brain-protective enzymes which keep neurons working after they are attacked by free radicals. Scientists at the Montreal Diabetes Research Center and the University of Montreal in Canada suggest that blueberry juice helps combat Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and age-related memory problems, and that eating blueberries confers similar benefits.
Promote urinary tract health
It is also well-known that blueberries, similar to cranberries, promote the health of the urinary tract by cleansing the tract of unhealthy bacteria and thereby preventing urinary tract infections.
Promote eye health
Blueberry extract has been found in clinical studies to slow down visual loss. Due to their strong anti-oxidant properties Blueberries are useful for helping to prevent or delay all age related ocular problems like macular degeneration, cataracts, myopia, dryness and infections, particularly those pertaining to the retina.
High in Nutrients
Blueberries are very low in calories – 100 g of fresh berries only contains 57 calories. However despite their small size they possess many health promoting plant-nutrients such as soluble dietary fibre, minerals, vitamins, and pigment anti-oxidants that contribute immensely towards optimum health and wellness.
Protective against heart disease and diabetes
A study by the Universityof Michigan Cardiovascular Centre study suggests that blueberries may help reduce belly fat and risk factors for cardiovascular disease and metabolic syndrome. A diet rich in blueberries lowers blood cholesterol levels while improving glucose control and insulin sensitivity, lowering the risk of subsequent heart disease and diabetes.
Good for digestive health
Blueberries are low in sugar and high in fibre. Finally, the dietary fiber from the skin of the fruit decreases the incidence of constipation while the vitamins and minerals such as copper improve digestion.
Protective against Cancer
Laboratory studies published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry show that compounds in blueberries can inhibit colon cancer cell proliferation and induce apoptosis (programmed cell death). Blue Berries contain certain compounds like Ellagic Acid which, in harmony with Anthocyanin and other anti oxidants like vitamin-C and copper, helps to fight cancer.
Blueberries taste great, are sweet enough to eat on their own and are very versatile.