Blueberries have become SUPERSTARS!!!
Blueberries have reached superstar status in terms of their unique health benefits since they’re
frequently touted as an antioxidant-rich superfood. I have always loved blueberries, and often
find myself wanting to add them to so many different recipes, as well as just grabbing a handful
of fresh, or even dried blueberries to keep me going as a snack. But these little facts might
reinvigorate your love for this fruit: a study in mice found that a blueberry-enriched
diet can not only prevent, but can actually enhance memory and recognition.
Blueberries function both as antioxidants and as anti-inflammatory
compounds in the body. Here are some of the well-documented
health benefits we get from regular consumption of blueberries.
Many Health Benefits
It is easy to understand many of the special accolades being given to this wonderful berry. Most
health research on blueberries involves their phytonutrient content. Anthocyanins – the colorful
antioxidant pigment that gives blueberries there wonderful shades of blue, are the phytonutrients
which is a big part of blueberries amazing health-supportive properties.
Whole Body Antioxidant Support
Given the wide variety of antioxidant nutrients present in blueberries, it is not surprising to find
research studies showing improved antioxidant defenses in body systems that need special
protection from oxidative stress, like the cardiovascular system. But what is surprising about
the blueberry research, is its’ whole body relevance. Blueberries benefit virtually every body
system studied to date!
Blueberry support of antioxidant defenses in respect to the cardiovascular system is super impressive.
It’s the many different pathways for cardio support that are so striking in the blueberry research. In
repeated studies of blood composition, blueberry intake, usually in the amount of 1-2 cups per day,
over the course of 1-3 months, has been shown to improve blood fat balances, including reduction
in total cholesterol, raising of HDL cholesterol. At the same time, blueberry intake has been shown
to help protect the blood components, like cholesterol, from oxygen damage that could lead
to eventual clogging of the blood vessels.
Improved blood pressure, in both men and women, of many different ages, has been proven by a
daily routine blueberry intake. In individuals with high blood pressure, blueberry intake has
significantly reduced both systolic and diastolic blood pressures .
One of the most exciting new areas of research on blueberries is the area of cognitive benefits. In one
study involving older adults, 12 weeks of daily blueberry consumption was enough to improve scores
on two different tests of cognitive function including memory. The authors of this study were
encouraged by the results and suggested that blueberries might turn out to be beneficial not
only for improvement of memory, but for slowing down or postponing the onset of other cognitive
problems frequently associated with aging.
Nerve cells have a naturally high risk of oxygen damage and they require special antioxidant protection
at all times in life. Their ability to send information throughout the body depends on the presence of
balanced oxygen metabolism, and that balance cannot be achieved without ample intake of antioxidant
nutrients. By lowering the risk of oxidative stress in our nerve cells, blueberries help us maintain smoothly
working nerve cells and healthy cognitive function.
Blood Sugar Benefits
Research on blood sugar balance and blueberry intake has been conducted on individuals who have
been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, or insulin resistance, and the results of
this research have been consistent. They have shown that blueberries (along with other berries)
have a favorable impact on blood sugar regulation in persons already diagnosed with blood sugar problems.
Blueberries also provide a very good amount of fiber (nearly 4 grams per cup). Most low-GI foods with
strong fiber content are foods we can count on to be helpful in blood sugar regulation.
The retina of the eye is a unique place in our body and it is also a place that is at higher than normal
risk of oxidative stress.
Types of cancer already studied with respect to blueberry intake include breast cancer, colon cancer,
esophageal cancer, and cancers of the small intestine. All with significant positive results. Blueberries
are indeed SUPERSTARS!
This Grilled Chicken Nectarine Salad can be found in volume seven of The Gathering of friends.