Several Bowls Filled With Blueberries  Blueberries are considered to be one of the healthiest of fruits. These little fruits protect your body against free-radicals that contribute to aging and cancer. Interestingly, the part of the berry responsible for all this goodness is that beautiful blue color. Reds and most of the blues, purples, and blackish tints, especially in berries and potatoes, trace to flavonoids called anthocyanin. These chemicals are considered antioxidants because they suppress free radicals that have several damaging effects. So what are some of the benefits of adding blueberries to your diet?

  • Maintaining healthy bones
    Blueberries contain iron, phosphorous, calcium, magnesium, manganese, zinc, and vitamin K. An adequate intake of these minerals and vitamins contributes to building and maintaining bone structure and strength. Iron and zinc play huge roles in maintaining the strength and elasticity of bones and joints. Low intakes of vitamin K have been linked to a higher risk of bone fracture.
  • Skin health
    Collagen is the support system of the skin that relies on vitamin C to help prevent damage caused by the sun, pollution, and smoke. Vitamin C may also improve collagen’s ability to smooth wrinkles and enhance overall skin texture. One cup of blueberries provides 24 percent of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin C.
  • Lowering blood pressure
    Maintaining low sodium levels is essential to keeping blood pressure at a healthful level. Blueberries are free of sodium. They contain potassium, calcium, and magnesium. Some studies have shown that diets low in these minerals are associated with higher blood pressure.
  • Managing diabetes
    Studies have found that people with type 1 diabetes who consume high-fiber diets have low blood glucose levels, and people with type 2 diabetes who consume the same may have improved blood sugar, lipid, and insulin levels. One cup of blueberries contributes 3.6 grams of fiber.
  • Protecting against heart disease
    The fiber, potassium, folate, vitamin C, vitamin B6, and phytonutrient content in blueberries supports heart health. The absence of cholesterol from blueberries is also beneficial to the heart. Fiber content helps to reduce the total amount of cholesterol in the blood and decrease the risk of heart disease. Vitamin B6 and folate prevent the buildup of a compound known as homocysteine. Excessive buildup of homocysteine in the body can damage blood vessels and lead to heart problems.
  • Preventing cancer
    Vitamin C, vitamin A, and the various phytonutrients in blueberries function as powerful antioxidants that may help protect cells against damage from disease-linked free radicals. Research suggests that antioxidants may inhibit tumor growth, decrease inflammation in the body, and help ward off or slow down certain cancers.
  • Improving mental health
    Studies have also found that in addition to reducing the risk of cognitive damage, blueberries can also improve a person’s short-term memory and motor coordination.
  • Healthy digestion, weight loss, and feeling full
    Blueberries help to prevent constipation and maintain regularity for a healthful digestive tract because of their fiber content. Dietary fiber is also recognized as an important factor in weight loss and weight management. High fiber foods increase the feeling of being full and reduce appetite. Feeling fuller for longer can reduce a person’s overall calorie intake.

Blueberries In A BowlScience continues to find more and more health benefits linked to blueberries with every study. So blueberry lovers rejoice, and enjoy your blueberries mixed into smoothies, mushed into jams, and baked into your favorite dessert!

Blog written by Debi Kopman, Life Enrichment Director for Sonoma Hills Retirement