Blueberry bushes vary in size depending on variety, soil condition, altitude, and weather condition. Typically the smaller variety of blueberries is referred to a ‘lowbush blueberries’ and these are commercially produced. The larger variety known as ‘highbush blueberries’ are either hybrids or found in the wild. In the initial stages blueberries are green in color, as they ripen the color changes. A fully ripe berry has a rich dark purplish-black color.
These fruits have a thin-whitish wax that covers the surface. Blueberries should be washed clean to get rid of this waxy substance. The best way to wash blueberries is toplace then in a vessel with water and add a teaspoon of salt. Use hands to gently scramble the berries. This shrub fruit contains tiny seeds. Aside from being delicious, blueberries also have high nutritional value. This fruit is a rich source of minerals and vitamins. Although blueberries are cultivated in different parts of the world, North America is home to some of the most luscious commercial blueberries in the world.
Blueberries are a nutritional powerhouse
Blueberries have a diverse range of health benefits which is why this shrub fruit is a munch-favorite around the world. The range of micronutrients present in this fruit is diverse. Blueberries contain anthocyanins, phytochemicals and flavonoids which have the potential to reduce the risk of cancer and other life threatening diseases. A complex range of minerals and vitamins that offer a range of health benefits are present in blueberries. A serving of blueberries is often recommended in various health diets by nutritionists and diet planners because of its diverse range of health benefits.
Health benefits of Blueberries
1. Ability to lower cholesterol
Research suggests consumption of blueberries reduces the risk of heart diseases. Studies reveal blueberries have the potential to lower cholesterol. The presence of antioxidants and flavonoids in this in berries play a vital role in protecting from diseases that may be life threatening. Blueberries are considered by many as a superfruit for its cardiovascular health benefits.
2. Excellent for urinary tract infections
Blueberry juice is an excellent home remedy for urinary tract infection. When an individual develops an UTI he/she may feel the urge to urinate frequently or a prickly or burning sensation while passing urine. This may be due to b-coli, bacteria that form on the inner walls of the urinary tract. A Rutger’s Study blueberry consumption helps prevent bacteria on walls of the bladder and in the process minimize the risk of UTIs. Aside from its natural antibiotic properties, certain compounds and micronutrients present in blueberries are highly effective in flushing out toxins in the urinary tract.
3. Potential to improve brain health
Preliminary research suggests blueberries have potential to improve brain health. Researchers are of the opinion blueberries can prevent neurotic disorders. ‘Free Radical Biology and Medicine’, a journal, throws light on the fact that blueberries have the ability to lower the risk of age-related memory loss. Consumption of berries is known to increase brain cell activity and functioning of the central nervous system. Furthermore research reveals blueberries have the ability to reverse the effects on brain damage by improving mortar skills and memory. Studies on flavonoids and phytochemicals found in blueberries have opened pathways to find a cure for Alzheimer’s disease. Blueberries consumption is known to sharpen memory and assist in healing neuron tissue.
4. Excellent for weight loss
If you’re looking to maintain weight or lose weight, blueberries are definitely for you. Blueberries are low in fat, which make these juicy berries the perfect health snack. Research conducted by the ‘Michigan Cardiovascular Center’ brings to light the fact that blueberries have the potential to reduce belly fat amongst other risk factors that contribute towards cardiovascular disease. Experiments conducted on rats that were fed blueberries and blueberry enhanced supplements showed a significant loss of abdominal fat over a period 3 months. Also, lab experiments conducted on animals fed with blueberry has proven has the potential to lower cholesterol and lower triglycerides.
5. Slows down vision loss
Vision loss is a common problem as we get older. Research suggests that vision loss is likely todevelop in individuals that have an unhealthy diet. Eating the right quantity and the right food is essential for good eyesight. The presence of anthocyanosides, a compound is known to slow down or delay conditions such as myopia, macular degeneration, hypermetropia and cataract. In the ‘Archives of Ophthalmology, a study suggests 3 servings of blueberries in a day have the ability to lower ARMD (Age-Related Macular Degeneration) by almost 35% among old adults.
6. Plays a role in cancer prevention
Research reveals blueberries have the ability to lower risk of cancer. The ‘Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry’ has published laboratory studies on how phenolic compounds present in blueberries induce programmed cell death in colon cancer. Laboratory studies throw light on the fact that both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds linked to phytonutrirnts show a remarkable display of playing a protective role to prevent various cancer types.
7. Helps diabetics maintain blood sugar balance
Individuals with Type 2 diabetes and insulin resistance have to deal with various challenges in regard with blood sugar. Research suggests individual that suffer from diabetes related conditions can control their blood sugar level by adding blueberry juice in their diet. Like many fiber-rich fruits, blueberries too help regulate blood sugar levels.
8. Slows down cognitive problems
Blueberry consumption in a balanced diet helps slow down cognitive problems. Antioxidants, flavonoids, and phytonutrients have the ability to lower oxidative stress associated with nerve cells. A large number of cognitive problems are associated with aging. Laboratory research suggests blueberry consumption helps maintain healthy nerve cell function.
9. Helps maintain good bone health
If you want healthy bones, make sure you add blueberries to your diet. In 2010 a study published in ‘Journal of Bone and Mineral Research’ highlighted the role of blueberries for bone health. The study revealed animals that were put on a food diet that contained 10 percent blueberry powder (Freeze-dried) had more bone mass percentage than animals that were not on a blueberry diet. It’s a known fact that this fiber-rich fruit is a rich source of manganese, a mineral that is an essential requirement in healthy bone development. Regular Blueberry consumption has the ability to increase bone mass.
10. Superfruit for constipation
If you suffer from frequent bouts of constipation, make sure you include blueberries in your diet. This shrub fruit is a rich source of fiber. Soluble fiber present in blueberries helps enhance bowel movements naturally. The quality of soluble fiber present in this fruit helps fluid flow in the gut thereby leading to healthy bowel movement.
Nutritional Value of Blueberries (Per 100 grams)
Source: USDA National Nutrient Database
- Zinc- 0.16mg
- Magnesium- 6mg
- Calcium- 6mg
- Manganese- 0.336mg
- Iron- 0.28mg
- Niacin- 0.418mg
- Pantothenic acid- 0.124mg
- Riboflavin- 0.041mg
- Pyridoxine- 0.052mg
- Folates- 6mcg
- Vitamin K- 19.3mcg
- Vitamin A- 54 IU
- Vitamin E- 0.57mg
- Vitamin C- 9.7mg
- Potassium- 77mg
- Sodium- 1mg
- Dietary Fiber- 2.4g
- Energy- 57 Kacl
- Cholesterol- 0mg
- Protein- 0.74g
- Total Fat- 0.33g
- Carbohydrates- 14.49g
- Lutein-zeaxanthin- 80mcg
- Carotene-B- 32mcg