Scientific Benefits of Blueberries for Skin, Health and Weight Loss
By Refadoc, Posted on : Friday, 03 July 2015 - 2:01 am IST
Blueberries may be small in size but this fruit offers you immense health benefits which range from boosting your brain health to battling UTI’s. Know more as to why you should be adding Blueberries to your diet plan.
Blueberries are an excellent source of antioxidants and they work towards neutralizing free radicals which boost the development of cancer, cardiovascular disease as well as other conditions related to old age.
Blueberries are low in fat; they contain around 80 calories per cup. The fruit is also fat free and is loaded with fiber in order to keep your fuller longer. Blueberries are also an excellent source of Manganese, which helps in bone development and converting carbohydrates into energy.
Fresh Blueberries emerge as one of the most popular summer fruit consumed by people all over the world. They are sweet, juicy and full of nutrients and can be either consumed raw or could be incorporated into a variety of dishes. Blueberries come loaded with a certain kind of flavanoids known as Anthocyanins, which is responsible for the deep blue color of the berry as well. These Anthocyanins are also responsible for the numerous health benefits of the berries.
Nutritional Breakdown of Blueberries:
One cup of fresh blueberries contain around 84 calories, 0 grams of cholesterol, 1.1 grams of proteins, 0.49 grams of fat, 21 grams of carbohydrates and around 3.6 grams of fiber. A cup of blueberries also provides around 24% of the daily requirement of Vitamin C, 5% of RDA of Vitamin B6 and around 36% of Vitamin K. Blueberries are also a rich source of Calcium, Potassium, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Sodium, Manganese, Zinc, Copper, Folate, Beta Carotene, Vitamin A and E.
In addition of these, Blueberries are also a rich source of Phenolic compounds such as Quercetin, Kaempferol, Myricetin and Cholorogenic Acid – which adds to the antioxidant capacity of the fruit.
Major Health Benefits of Blueberries:
1) Great Source of Vitamin C:
Blueberries are an excellent source of Vitamin C and can provide you with almost 25% of the daily intake of the Vitamin. It also helps in the formation of Collagen and maintains healthy gums and teeth. A cup of Blueberries contains around 14 milligrams of Vitamin C.
2) Improves Heart Health:
Cardiovascular disease affects people all over the world. Currently, it is one of the leading causes of deaths all over the world. Some of the major diseases which can be caused due to cardiovascular disease are high blood pressure, high blood sugar and obesity. A recent study has suggested that consuming berries is known to reduce the heart risk of heart disease in women.
3) Reduces the risk of Cancer:
Anthocyanins – which give the blue color to the Blueberries is known to improve the heart health and also help against cancer causing free radicals and blocks the tumor cells from forming. A recent research has found that blueberries are a therapeutic agent which helps in the prevention of cancer.
4) Fights against Urinary Tract Infections:
Urinary Tract Infections are often bacteria which grow inside the Urinary tract of the person. UTI’s are more common amongst women as compared to men. Blueberries are known to prevent against UTI’s as they contain compounds which prevent the bacteria from sticking to the walls of the urinary bladder. Blueberries, which are also rich in antioxidants, are known to help reduce the symptoms of the disease.
5) Boosts the Health of the Brain:
Scientists across the world have proved that Blueberries have a beneficial effect on the brain function of the person. However, consuming Blueberries is known to reduce the chances of objecting memory loss, which is often caused due to onset of old age and can be reversed by consuming Blueberries. Blueberries can also be used as a preventive method against cognitive decline.
6) Maintains Healthy Bones:
Iron, Phosphorus, Calcium, Magnesium, Manganese, Zinc and Vitamin K – are the major ingredients of Blueberries which helps to build and maintain the bone structure. The iron and the zinc present in the Blueberries helps to maintain the strength and the elasticity of the bones and the joints. The adequate amount of Vitamin K in the Blueberries also helps to improve the absorption of the calcium and also reduces the loss of the Calcium from the body.
7) Lowers the Blood Pressure:
It is very crucial to maintain a low amount of Sodium in the bloodstream to lower the amount of blood pressure. Blueberries are free of sodium and contain essential minerals such as Potassium, Calcium and Magnesium, which is known to decrease the blood pressure naturally.
8) Manages Diabetes:
One cup of Blueberries provides around 3.6 grams of Fiber. A lot of studies have suggested that Type 1 Diabetic patients who consume high fiber foods are known to show lower blood sugar glucose levels. On the other hand, people who suffer from Type 2 Diabetes, who consume high fiber foods are known to show improved levels of blood sugar, lipids as well as dropper insulin levels.
9) Prevents Heart Disease:
The Fiber, Potassium, Folate, Vitamin C, Vitamin B6 and the Phytonutrients found in Blueberries are great for the health of the heart. The fiber content in the Blueberries is known to help lower down the amount of the cholesterol and therefore, decreases the risk of heart disease eventually. The presence of the Vitamin B6 and Folate in the body can help prevent the buildup of a compound known as Homocysteine. Due to high amounts of Homocysteine accumulation in the body can lead to damage to the blood vessels and can eventually lead to heart problem.
10) Prevents Cancer:
The Vitamin C, A and various Phytonutrients present in Blueberries contains powerful antioxidant which helps to protect the cells from free radical damage. It also helps to stop the growth of tumor cells, decreases the chances of inflammation in the body and also slows down the growth of different kinds of cancer. Blueberries also contain Folate which is known to play a major role in DNA synthesis and repair.
11) Improves the Mental Health:
It has been shown that the consumption of Blueberries is known to decrease the risk of cognitive disease as well as Parkinson’s disease. Studies have also shown that along with reducing the risk of cognitive damage, Blueberries can also help to improve the case of short term memory loss as well as motor co ordination.
12) Promotes a Healthy Digestion:
Due to their high fiber content, Blueberries are also well known to help prevent constipation and promotes the regular movement of the digestive system.
13) Fights Aging and Wrinkles:
Collagen, which is the support system of the skin, depends on Vitamin C works as an antioxidant in order to prevent the damage which has been caused due to the sun, pollution as well as smoke. Vitamin C also promotes the ability of the Collagen soothes down the wrinkles of the skin and improves the overall texture of the skin.
Adding Blueberries to your Diet:
Blueberries are available in the market near you in different forms – fresh, frozen or even in the dried forms of jellies, jams and syrups. It is recommended to check the label of these frozen and dried berries for any signs of added sugars. If you are going to choose from jellies and jams, it is recommended to choose the ones which come without any added sugars or fillers.
Here are some fantastic ways to add more Blueberries to your diet:
- Use blueberries in place of artificial toppings for your oatmeal breakfast, waffles and pancakes. These can also be added to yoghurt and cereal in order to add more color and more nutrients to your food.
- You can make up a sudden smoothie using the frozen berries. It will be low in fat and enriching at the same time.
- Mix some fresh or dried berries to a spinach salad along with some walnuts and feta cheese in order to make a quick salad.
- Berries can be added to muffins or sweet breads in order to make a fresh syrup mix ready to be poured over the desserts or breakfast foods.
How to choose Blueberries:
It is recommended to choose the berries which are firm in appearance and have a lively and uniform color throughout. It is recommended to shake the container of the berries to make sure that the berries have a tendency to move around freely in the container. In case they are not able to shake properly, it means that they are soft, damaged or moldy. Avoid buying the berries which are dull in color and are soft or watery in color. Make sure that the berries are free from moisture as the presence of water means that the berries are decayed. In case you are going to purchase frozen berries, shake the bag of berries gently in order to make sure that the berries are able to move freely and are not clumped together.
Health Risks of Consuming Blueberries:
If you are a person who has been prescribed blood thinners such as Coumadin or Warfarin, it is recommended to not suddenly start consuming more berries or to eat foods which contain Vitamin K, which plays a major role in blood clotting. It is recommended to check in with your doctor or your health care provider before going for blueberries if you are a patient.
Recipes using Blueberries:
Blueberry Pudding is a well known recipe all over the world which is both wholesome as well as nourishing. Here is a quick recipe:
- One cup Coconut Milk
- One cup Kefir
- Three avocados
- One cup blueberries
- Four tablespoons of ground chia seeds
- Half tablespoon of Vanilla Extract
- One drop Peppermint Oil Extract
- One tablespoon raw honey
- Blend down all the ingredients together in a high powered blender.
- Refrigerate them for about four hours.
- Ready to consume.