Blueberries are tiny, mighty
disease-fighting warriors. Brimming with health-promoting compounds, they
give a delicious boost to your heart, immune system, brain, eyes, and
Boost the Immune System
Cell damage caused by unstable
oxygen molecules called free radicals weakens your immune system. It is also
linked to aging and chronic diseases like cardiovascular disease and cancer.
Blueberries are nature's wonders, bursting with the goodness of antioxidants
to protect you by neutralizing free radicals. They are one of the richest
sources of antioxidants, making them a powerful supporter of the immune
Based on data from the USDA Human
Nutrition Research Center on Aging (Boston, MA), blueberries are among the
fruits with the highest antioxidant activity. Just 100 grams of fresh
blueberries could deliver the equivalent antioxidant capacity of five
servings of some fruits and vegetables.
Antioxidant Activity Comparison
|1 cup (145 g) of blueberries
||= 1.5 cups of strawberries
||= 3 cups of orange segments
||= 4.5 cups of broccoli florets
||= 5 cups of chopped spinach
Blueberries contain antioxidants
such as anthocyanins, beta-carotene, vitamins A and E, ellagic acid,
phenolic compounds, and resveratrol. Anthocyanin, the pigment that makes
blueberries blue, is a potent antioxidant that offers major health benefits.
Every 100 grams of blueberries has 25-497 mg of anthocyanins. Resveratrol is
more than a potent antioxidant (about 20-50 times more effective than
vitamin C). It also acts synergistically with vitamin C, enhancing each
Support Heart and Liver health
Keep your heart happy with
blueberries. Thanks to their high antioxidant activity, blueberries help
reduce the buildup of LDL ("bad") cholesterol, thereby preventing
cardiovascular disease and stroke. Resveratrol in blueberries has an
anti-clotting effect to prevent the formation of blood clots that may block
blood vessels and cause heart attacks and stroke.
Blueberries are also a ready
source of pterostilbene. Scientists have discovered pterostilbene has
immense potential for inhibiting LDL cholesterol, thus lessening the burden
on the liver. Removing LDL cholesterol from the blood is one of the liver's
Experimental studies show that
diets containing blueberry extract lower blood pressure. Phytochemicals in
blueberries strengthen blood vessels and are useful in treating varicose
veins and spider veins.
Help prevent Cancer
These juicy orbs contain more
than 40 healthful compounds with high antioxidant activity that may reduce
risk of certain types of cancer. Scientific research shows that
pterostilbene in blueberries has immense potential in colon cancer, breast
cancer and lung cancer prevention. Folic acid in blueberries may help guard
against cervical cancer. Consuming blueberries may reduce liver cancer risk.
Researchers found that the phenols and anthocyanidins in bluberries
inhibited growth of liver cancer cells by 50%, while death of liver cancer
cells increased by 400% in a study. Resveratrol and ellagic acid in
blueberries have shown significant anti-cancer effects and may delay the
Protect Brain Cells
Free radicals speed up the aging
of brain cells, which can lead to memory loss and impaired balance and
coordination. Evidence is mounting that blueberries with their high
antioxidant content may help improve memory, intelligence, co-ordination,
and even reverse memory loss !
A study in the Journal of
Agricultural and Food Chemistry reported that one group o volunteers in
their seventies with early memory decline drank the equivalent of two to
two-and-a-half cups of a commercially available blueberry juice every day
for two months. A control group drank a beverage without blueberry juice.
The blueberry juice group showed significant improvement on learning and
memory tests. Another study showed that people who ate a cup of blueberries
a day performed 5-6% better on motor skills tests than the control group.
Blueberries are rich in quercetin.
Quercetin has been found to be particularly effective in protecting brain
cells from free radical damage that can lead to dementia. One study
published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry found that
quercetin protected rats' brains from damage due to exposure to hydrogen
peroxide (a free radical). Quercetin quells the risk of heart disease and
stoke, type 2 diabetes, cancer, asthma, high blood pressure, damage to the
brain by free radicals, and coughing.
Research at the University of
Reading has found that phytochemical-rich foods, such as blueberries, can
reverse age-related decline in memory and may have implications for the
treatment of aging-associated diseases, such as Alzheimer's disease.
Published in the journal Free Radical Biology and Medicine, the research
shows that supplementing a regular diet with blueberries results in
improvements in memory.
Blueberries contain anthocyanins,
which have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects to help prevent
abnormal deterioration of the nervous system.
If you spend long periods staring
at computer screen, eat more blueberries. Not only do blueberries ease eye
fatigue, they also improve weak eyesight, according to findings by Japanese
researchers in 1999. Blueberry consumption increases circulation of the
capillaries of the eyes, which reduces oxidation in these tissues. This
action benefits eyesight. It is thought to be especially helpful in
preventing diabetic retinopathy (disease of the retina due to diabetes
mellitus), as well as night blindness, cataracts and macular degeneration
(an age-related eye disease that is the leading cause of vision loss in the
Fortify Bones and Muscles
Manganese (an essential trace
mineral important for many chemical reactions in your body) in blueberries
aids in keeping bones strong.
Studies show that malvidin
glycosides in blueberries may be beneficial in alleviating muscle damage
caused by oxidative stress.
Blueberries reduce production of
histamines (inflammatory substances produced by the body that are
responsible for causing allergy symptoms). They also act as an
anti-inflammatory nutrient to connective tissue.
Promote Urinary Tract Health
Researchers at Rutgers University
in New Jersey have identified phytochemicals in blueberries called
proanthocyanidins that promote urinary tract health, and reduce the risk of
urinary tract infection by preventing bacteria from adhering to the cells
that line the walls of the urinary tract.
With so many amazing health
benefits, blueberries are proof that delicious fruit can be so good for you