If you’re concerned about your health, you’re probably aware that blueberries are something of a superfood. Rich in antioxidants, blueberries are a topic of rigorous study by scientists interested in determining all of the benefits they hold. If you are unfamiliar with blueberries, or not a fan of them, you may want to consider adding them to your diet. When consumed regularly, blueberries provide several positive benefits, protecting the body against disease and helping to mitigate existing illness. Whether fresh or frozen, consider these reasons to make blueberries a healthy habit.
8. Improved Memory and Motor Function
Blueberries have been found to have a positive effect on both memory and motor function, particularly for older adults. Specifically, a study was conducted over twelve weeks on seniors over the age of 75. They consumed blueberries daily and were compared to a control group who did not consume blueberries. At the end of the experiment, those who consumed blueberries regularly were able to outperform those who had not in both cognitive and motor function tests. This suggests that those at higher risk for dementia should consider making blueberries a regular part of their diet.
7. Vision Protection
Blueberries are also beneficial in the sense that they contribute to eye health. While they do not have large amounts of vitamin A like you’d expect from a vision boosting food, they do have other nutritional offerings that have similar effects. Specifically, the compound pterostilbene protects the eyes’ corneal cells from the damage brought on by inflammation. Inflammation, when left unchecked, can interfere with cells and increase the likelihood of serious ailments such as cancer. However, pterostilbene prevents oxidative damage and keeps the eyes healthier longer.
6. Heart Health
Blueberries are not just good for your eyes. They may also play a role in heart health, given that they are suspected to improve blood pressure. This is in part due to their modest potassium content, which contributes to more elastic blood vessels. In general, blueberries are thought to reduce blood pressure by restoring elasticity to blood vessels, so the heart has an easier time moving the blood through the circulatory system. Based on one study of pregnant women with higher blood pressure, there is a theory that additional nitric oxide production plays a role in the reduction of blood pressure.
5. Reduced Dementia/Alzheimer’s Risk
As mentioned earlier, blueberries can contribute to mental health. This is good news for those at risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, given that these conditions have no cure. However, there are ways to delay and mitigate such illnesses, and it’s thought that blueberries do this by limiting the damage to brain cells due to a flavonoid called anthocyanin. This flavonoid has antioxidant properties, which means it protects the cells from damage. Specifically, the anthocyanin content of blueberries helps to preserve brain cells, which ultimately results in the brain staying stronger for longer.
4. Better Digestion
Because of the antioxidant properties of blueberries, cells in other areas of the body can perhaps receive a little more protection from carcinogenic sources. This means that blueberries can help combat inflammation and cancer in the digestive tract, which breaks down the food we eat, as well as related organs. Additionally, blueberries, like several other fruits, provide a little bit of fiber to the body, which can help improve the digestive process by bulking up stool. Consider whipping up a blueberry banana smoothie to get a healthy dose of antioxidants and potassium.Related: 10 Foods That Help You Poop
3. Protection from Heavy Metals
One thing you probably don’t think about is the accumulation of heavy metals in your body’s tissue. Unfortunately, some of our industrial applications, such as the burning of fossil fuels, create pollution in the form of metals that are fine enough for us to inhale. Cadmium is one of these metals, and in high enough doses, it can be toxic. However, believe it or not, blueberries seem to have some effect against this buildup. A study revealed that the anthocyanin found in blueberries can bond with the cadmium, making it less dangerous to surrounding tissue.
2. Nerve Protection
The process of oxidation causes damage to all kinds of cells, and nerve cells are no exception. Given the sensitivity of nerve cells, this sort of damage can cause a host of problems when it affects the cells of the nervous system, including reduced mobility and cognition, as mentioned earlier. Fortunately, the neuroprotective effects of blueberries don’t just shield the brain. They can also protect the nerve cells themselves, which increases their overall lifespan.
1. Blood Sugar Stabilization
While you might think that blueberries, being a fruit, would be harmful to people with diabetes and those at risk on account of their sugar content, the opposite is true. Blueberries can help people with diabetes control their blood sugar levels. This is because of a component of blueberries that actually seems to stimulate the production of insulin, which then makes blood glucose much easier to handle. Blueberries not only increase the glucose tolerance of the body, but they also reduce insulin resistance. In those who don’t have diabetes, blueberries may reduce the risk of diabetes developing.
These are just a few of the benefits that blueberries can provide to the body, but even if that isn’t enough, they are a tasty and versatile food. Also, if you find yourself on board, but concerned about where you can pick up some fresh blueberries, don’t be. There’s no cause for concern because it turns out the frozen variety is about as beneficial. Even frozen, blueberries conserve a lot of their nutritional goodness. If you’re curious about how to incorporate blueberries into your diet, consider giving these recipes a try.Related: 13 Foods That Lower Your Blood Sugar Level Instantly