Blueberries are indigo-colored round berries produced by a perennial flowering plant. Although blueberries are small, they pack a surprisingly long list of essential nutrients and antioxidants. That’s why blueberries cemented their place as one of the most nutritious of all superfoods! And if you need more convincing, check out our list of the amazing health benefits of blueberries:
1. Concentrated Level of Vitamin C
Blueberries are a rich source of vitamin C or ascorbic acid. Just a serving will satisfy 25% of your RDA of this vitamin. Vitamin C acts as an antioxidant, it protects from cellular damage caused by free radicals. This nutrient facilitates collagen production and boosts gum health. It also strengthens the immune system and protects from common infections. Even better, vitamin C keeps the skin clear, smooth and younger-looking!
It can protect from cancer too! According to the Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine, ascorbic acid has the ability to repair damaged tissues and inhibit oxidative stress. Studies show that oxidative stress is one of the most common precursors to cancer.
2. Keep the Heart Healthy
Here’s another reason to add blueberries to your diet, they are incredibly heart-friendly too! Heart disease kills millions of people each year. It’s the leading cause of death around the globe in both men and women. Cardiovascular disease can cause high blood pressure, unstable blood sugar level, obesity, diabetes and cardiac disorders.
A diet rich in berries may reduce the risk of heart disease, especially among women. Studies show that the anthocyanins in berries help cut the risk factors to heart disease. Anthocyanins are antioxidants that remove fatty plaque accumulation within the veins. Eating at least three servings of blueberries each week will reduce your risk of developing arterial and heart disease significantly!
3. Reduce Cancer Risk
The same antioxidants in blueberries that cut the risk of heart disease also reduce the risk of cancer. Anthocyanins give blueberries their distinct indigo coloring. These chemicals happen to inhibit tumor growth and prevent cancer cells from spreading to other parts of the body. In fact, a study from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign found that anthocyanins are so good at destroying cancer cells, they prevent mutation from ever taking place. That’s why these chemicals serve as a therapeutic agent for early stages of prostate cancer. Although the research is still ongoing, initial findings on anthocyanins’ cancer-fighting abilities are promising!
4. Protects from Urinary Infections
Blueberries are loaded with antiviral, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory compounds. These berries kill harmful microbes so effectively that they reduce the risk of urinary tract infection or UTI. In women, a diet rich in blueberries reduces pelvic pain and strong-smelling urine. These are some of the symptoms of UTI. And women are 50% more likely to develop UTI than men.
In addition, the anti-bacterial compounds in blueberries keep microbes from sticking to the bladder walls and causing inflammation.
5. Improves Brain Health
USDA scientists found that eating blueberries presents a lot of brain-boosting benefits too! Mice fed a daily portion of blueberries have stronger memory and cognitive function. They found that the mice’s brains behave much younger than they really are. And among human tests, researchers at the University of Cincinnati found that older patients given blueberry juice performed better at memory tests compared to patients fed with a placebo.