Blueberries are delicious, nutritious, and healthy. They also contain potent antioxidants that help fight chronic diseases such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and even Alzheimer’s. But blueberries aren’t just great for your body; they’re also great for your brain.
They are loaded with nutrients that boost memory, prevent dementia, and protect against depression. Some studies suggest that blueberries are as beneficial for treating depression as prescription drugs.
Blueberries are a superfood that everyone should include in their diet. In this article, I’ll share the top health benefits of eating blueberries, including how to get the most from them.
Blueberries are a nutrient-dense food, which means they are low in calories and fat, but they’re packed with fiber, vitamins, and minerals. A cup of blueberries (50 berries) contains (1):
- 84 calories
- 0.5 grams of fat
- 2.4 grams of dietary fiber (5)
- 12.3 grams of sugar
- 9.7 mg of vitamin C
- 0.336 mg of manganese
- 0.16 mg of
- 0.28 mg of Iron
- 6 mg Magnesium
- 77 mg Potassium
Moreover, blueberries are also high in other essential vitamins and nutrients such as vitamins A, B6, and B12, folate, pantothenic acid, zinc, iron, magnesium, and phosphorus. Some beneficial compounds include resveratrol, anthocyanin (antioxidants), phytonutrients, and pterostilbene.
Top Health Benefits of Blueberries
Here are the science-backed health benefits of regular consumption of blueberries (2):
Antioxidants are nutrients found naturally in foods that protect our bodies against damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals are unstable molecules that damage cells.
Free radicals are produced by normal metabolic processes, such as breathing, digestion, and exercise. However, too much exposure to sunlight, pollution, stress, smoking, alcohol and certain medications can cause an imbalance of free radical production and antioxidant protection.
In addition to protecting us from free radicals, antioxidants help maintain healthy skin, hair, and nails.
Inflammation occurs when you are infected or injured. It helps fight off infections and promotes healing. However, chronic inflammation has been associated with numerous diseases, including diabetes, arthritis, asthma, Alzheimer’s disease, and cancer.
Studies show that eating berries may help prevent these conditions. Berries are rich sources of anthocyanins, powerful antioxidants that have anti-inflammatory properties.
Improve Brain Health
Blueberries are often referred to as “brain berries” because they may help improve cognitive function and memory. Consuming blueberries may help delay age-related cognitive decline. One study showed that older adults who consumed blueberry juice every day for 12 weeks improved their memory and cognitive function.
The brain-boosting effects of blueberries may be due to their anthocyanin content. Anthocyanins (3) are potent antioxidants that have been linked to improved brain function.
Berries are packed with vitamin C, another potent antioxidant. Vitamin C supports immune system function and fights infections.
Vitamin C is essential for wound healing and tissue repair. In addition, it helps to keep gums and teeth healthy.
Lowers Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is a significant risk factor for heart disease.
Studies show that blueberries may help lower blood pressure (6) by improving the elasticity of arteries. The anthocyanins in blueberries may be responsible for this effect.
Help Prevent Cancer
Blueberries contain antioxidants, which help combat the formation of free radicals that cause cancer. In addition, blueberries contain high levels of phytochemicals, which can help to protect cells from damage. Studies have shown that regular consumption of blueberry (4) inhibits the growth of cancer cells.
Improve Heart Health
Blueberries are rich in fiber and low in saturated fat. Fiber lowers bad LDL cholesterol, protects against cardiovascular disease, and lowers the risk of a heart attack.
Fiber also helps control appetite and prevents constipation.
It Strengthens Metabolism
Berries contain a type of soluble fiber known as pectin. Pectin helps to regulate blood sugar levels and strengthens metabolism.
Pectin also helps the body absorb nutrients more efficiently and prevents the buildup of toxins in the intestines.
Improve Insulin Sensitivity
The body uses insulin as an energy source. When insulin sensitivity (4) is low, the body cannot use sugar efficiently, which builds up in the bloodstream.
It can lead to type 2 diabetes.
Flavonoids, including anthocyanins in blueberries, may help people with diabetes control their blood sugar levels. It may help improve insulin sensitivity in overweight and obese people with insulin resistance. Therefore, blueberries help in reducing the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Improve Athletic Performance
Many athletes use berries to boost their performance during exercise. Athletes often consume them before, during, and after workouts to increase endurance, build muscle mass, reduce muscle soreness, and recover faster.
Promote Weight Loss
Blueberries are low in calories and provide a satisfying sweet taste. Eating berries regularly can help promote weight loss. It is especially true for those who want to keep their waistline trim.
By adding berries to your daily diet, you can enjoy many health benefits without worrying about extra calories.
Possible Risks and Side Effects
For most people, blueberries are considered safe. They may, however, cause an allergic reaction in some people. Symptoms include itching, swelling, and difficulty breathing.
People on blood-thinning medications, such as Warfarin, should avoid eating large amounts of blueberries because they are high in vitamin K, which may cause interactions with these drugs.
Finally, choose organic fresh berries over frozen blueberries (2) whenever feasible to avoid pesticides. Fresh blueberries are preferable since dried berries have a more significant vitamin and mineral content and more calories and sugar.
Try These Delicious and Healthy Blueberry Recipes
Want more recipes like this? Get a FREE copy of my Superfood Cookbook.
- FoodData Central (usda.gov)
- Blueberries and Health : USDA ARS
- Recent Research on the Health Benefits of Blueberries and Their Anthocyanins – PMC (nih.gov)
- Blueberries: Health benefits, facts, and research (medicalnewstoday.com)
- Blueberries: Health Benefits, Nutrients per Serving, Preparation Information, and More (webmd.com)
- ‘Superfoods’ Everyone Needs: Blueberries, Tea, Salmon, & More (webmd.com)