This summer is providing us with an incredible bounty of peaches, strawberries and now blueberries. The ultimate superfood, the little blue orb is packed with minerals, vitamins, antioxidants and fiber.
Blueberries have wonderful health boosting properties. Here are 10 benefits that might encourage you to eat blueberries every day.
1. Memory loss – Researchers at Tufts University in Boston found that aging mice that were given blueberry extract improved their balance, coordination and short-term memory. Anthocyanin, which gives the blueberries their strong bluish purple color, appears to protect the neurons in the brain.
2. Anti-aging – Blueberries contain high levels of antioxidants which help get rid of free radicals in the blood. Free radicals can damage cell membranes and DNA through a process known as oxidative stress. Free radicals cause many of the physical signs of aging.
3. Anti-cancer – Recent research indicates that blueberries contain compounds having anti-cancer properties. They act to induce enzymes that protect against cancer and reduce rapid tumor growth. Antioxidants also help to prevent or delay the onset of certain diseases, such as cancer.
4. Diarrhea – In Sweden, dried blueberries are used to treat childhood diarrhea. Anthocyanoside compounds are believed to kill the E. coli bacteria, which is sometimes linked to the infection.
5. Bladder infections – Researchers at Rutgers University in New Jersey have identified a compound in blueberries that promotes urinary tract health and reduces the risk of infection. It appears to work by preventing bacteria from adhering to the cells that line the walls of the urinary tract.
6. Heart disease – Blueberries may reduce the buildup of “bad” cholesterol, or LDL, that contributes to cardiovascular disease and stroke. Scientists believe that blueberries may be a potent weapon in the battle against obesity and heart disease. The active compounds in blueberries act in two ways: they reduce the oxidation of LDLs, which can result in lowering of arterial plaque buildup, and they reduce the stickiness of blood platelets, which can lower the tendency to form blood clots.
7. Eyesight – Blueberries seem to be able to boost night vision. One study showed that when Israeli fighter pilots were given regular doses of blueberry, their night vision significantly improved. Scientists believe that this happens because compounds in the berries enhance capillary elasticity and permeability of the eye.
8. Pregnancy – Blueberries are a rich source of folic acid, which may benefit the fetus during pregnancy.
9. Digestive system – The more fiber in your diet, the better your digestive health. Blueberries are an excellent source of dietary fiber. A handful of blueberries contains around one tenth of the daily recommended intake of dietary fiber.
10. Deliciousness! Eaten alone, or topped with Greek yogurt, blueberries are just plain delicious.
Photo from here, with thanks.