Blueberries are the fruit of the shrub that belonging to the genus Vaccinium, which also includes cranberries and bilberries. Blueberries grow in clusters and range in size from 10 cm to 4 meters tall. This fruit come in different shades and colors, ranging from blue to dark blue to purple-black and feature a white-gray waxy “bloom” that covers the surface that serves as a protective layer.
Blueberries are popular around the world not only for their good tastes but also because they provide numerous health benefits for people. In fact, a recent study has suggested that blueberry is one of the most vital fruit for those who want to maintain their health at the highest level.
The base for all of the blueberries health benefits are in fact that they are extremely rich in Antioxidants. Antioxidants are very important to our body because they help support overall health and immune system. Here are some proven health benefits of blueberries:
- Boost Immune System
The antioxidants like vitamin A, vitamin B complex, vitamin C, vitamin E, anthocyanin, copper, iron, selenium, and zinc contain in blueberries help boost the body’s immune system so enable the body to fight against viral and bacterial infections.
- Neutralize Free Radicals
Blueberries are packed with Anthocyanin, a pigment responsible for the dark blue color of the blueberries. This powerful antioxidant help neutralize free radicals that can lead to cancer and other age-related diseases.
- Improves Memory
Blueberries are probably the best brain food of all because they increase the potential of neuron signals, protect brain against oxidative stress and reduce the age-related memory problems, such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers found that a diet that includes blueberries significantly improve memory and brain functions.
- Maintain Good Eyesight
Nutrients contain in blueberries has proved helpful in enhancing and maintaining people’s eyesight. Blueberries are great source of Vitamin A which is an essential nutrient for maintaining good eyesight.
- Lower Cholesterol Levels
One of the blueberries health benefit is their ability to lower cholesterol levels naturally. Recent research shows that a compound in blueberries prove to lower cholesterol as effectively as prescription drugs but without side effects.
- Prevent Heart Disease
Blueberries have the ability to keep cholesterol levels under control, thus improve heart health. The presence of antioxidants and fiber content makes this fruit a natural food supplement to prevent heart disease.
- Prevent Urinary Tract Infections
Another health benefit of blueberries is their ability to not only prevent urinary tract infections, but also cure them. Recent study at Rutgers Blueberry Cranberry Research Center in Chatsworth, NJ, has showed that blueberries have compounds similar to cranberries that used to prevent and treat urinary tract infections (UTI).
- Prevent Cancer
Several Compounds in blueberries such as Ellagic Acid and Pterostilbene are known for their cancer prevention and healing properties. Laboratory study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry showed that phenolic compounds in blueberries can inhibit colon cancer cell proliferation.
- Prevent Constipation and Improve Digestion
Blueberries are rich in fiber, a nutrient which helps prevent constipation, while copper, fructose, sodium, and vitamins in blueberries help to improve digestion.
- Reduce Belly Fat
Researchers at the Michigan University claimed that eating blueberries may help reduce belly fat. In a study conducted on mice for 90 days, scientists has proved that mice that were given blueberries-enriched diet had less belly fat than those with normal diet.
- Slow Aging process
Blueberries have been shown to have a positive impact on aging. The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of blueberries build a protective layer around the brain to fight the signs of aging and deterioration.
- Act as Natural Anti-depressants
Blueberries would keep you in good mood and reduce depression symptoms without the use of any medication.
When buying blueberries, make sure to look for ones that are firm, plump, and deeply-colored. The deeper the color, the more antioxidants it has.