Health Benefits of Blueberries
Blueberries are the fruits of a shrub that belong to the heath family, which includes the cranberry and bilberry as well as the azalea, mountain laurel and rhododendron. Blueberries are not only popular, but also repeatedly ranked in the U.S. diet as having one of the highest antioxidant capacities among all fruits, vegetables, spices and seasonings. Like other fruits, blueberries provide you with the best flavor and the greatest health benefits which include:
1. Blueberries and Cancer
Blueberries can prove to be bliss for the cancer patients, for they contain certain compounds like Pterostilbene (excellent remedy for colon and liver cancer) and Ellagic Acid. Various studies on ellagic acid have demonstrated that people who consume foods that are high in ellagic acid are three times less likely to develop cancer when compared to those who consume very little or no dietary ellagic acid.
2. Improve Heart Health
Cardiovascular disease is a major public health concern in the United States. Currently, it is the leading cause of death in both men and women. Eating three or more servings of blueberries each week may help reduce a woman’s risk of heart attack. Blueberries contain high levels of compounds that may help widen arteries, which counters the plaque buildup that generally causes heart attacks, the researchers said.
3. Boost Brain Health
It is hard to believe that these berries can also cure serious problems like Alzheimer’s disease to a great extent. Blueberries even heal damaged brain cells and neuron tissues and keep your memory sharp for a long-long time, thanks to its abundance of antioxidants called flavonoids, which have been found to activate the parts of the brain that control memory and learning. A small study done at the University of Cincinnati Academic Health Center looked at the effect of daily consumption of wild blueberry juice on older adults with memory changes. After 12 weeks, participants showed improved memory function.
4. Constipation & Digestion
Blueberries are a good source of fiber. A 1-cup serving of raw blueberries, at just 84 calories, contains 4 g of fiber, or over 15 percent of the recommended daily intake. The soluble fiber present in blueberries can absorb 10 to 15 times its own weight in water, drawing fluid into your gut and increasing bowel movements.
5. Healthy immune system
According to the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council, blueberries have more antioxidants than any other fresh fruits or vegetables tested to date. Most of the berry’s antioxidant power comes from Anthocyanin, the pigment responsible for the blue color of the berries. Anthocyanin can seriously boost your immune system and prevent infections. Once your immune system is strong, you won’t catch colds, fever, pox and countless other communicable diseases spread by bacteria and viruses. Remember, the deeper the color of the blueberries, the more they are rich in anti oxidants and other medicinal values.
6. Aid in reducing Belly Fat
Blueberries are very low in calories. 100 g fresh berries provide only 57 calories. The researchers suggest that blueberries, with their high antioxidant content, might somehow alter the way the body stores and processes sugar. A new University of Michigan Cardiovascular Center study suggests that blueberries may help reduce belly fat and risk factors for heart disease and metabolic syndrome.
7. Eye Care & Macular Degeneration
Blueberries are one of the best alternatives for spectacles, contact-lenses, eye-drops, medications and eye surgeries. They can prevent or delay all age-related ocular problems like macular degeneration, cataracts, myopia and hypermetropia, dryness, and infections, particularly those pertaining to the retina, due to their antioxidant properties. Data reported in a study published in the Archives of Ophthalmology indicates that eating 3 or more servings of fruit per day may lower your risk of age-related macular degeneration (ARMD), the primary cause of vision loss in older adults, by 36%, compared to persons who consume less than 1.5 servings of fruit daily.
8. Blueberries and Skin
No matter what form blueberries take in your diet, their many vitamins and nutrients can be good for your skin. Blueberries can also be an effective topical skin care ingredient, try this blueberry skin care recipe after your next trip to the market:
1/4 Cup Raw Blueberries (better if they’re organic and slightly ripe)
1 Tablespoom Raw Organic Honey
1 Tablespoon Olive or Grapeseed Oil
Mash all the ingredients together or use a blender and to mix well. Apply a 1/4″ thick layer all over the face (excluding eyes and mouth). Leave the mask on for five to ten minutes, then wash off with a damp cloth.