Blueberries (Vaccinium angustifolium or Vaccinium corymbosum) are flowering plants with indigo-colored berries within the family Vaccinium (a genus that also includes cranberries and bilberries). Species in the section, Cyanococcus are the most common fruits sold as "blueberries" and are native to North America. They have a sweet taste when mature, with variable acidity. Blueberry bushes typically bear fruit in the middle of the growing season.
Here are the 7 health benefits of blueberries.
1. Blueberries are a great source of fiber.
Blueberries are an excellent source of dietary fiber. Dietary fiber can help prevent constipation, helping make your bowel movements easier to manage. Additionally, fiber contributes to regulating cholesterol levels and can boost heart health when regularly added to the diet. The daily recommended dietary fiber intake for men and women are 38 grams and 25 grams, respectively.
2. Blueberries can help you battle ugly infections.
A cup of blueberries has 85 percent of the vitamin C daily requirements. Vitamin C is a potent natural water-soluble antioxidant that helps the body develop resistance against infectious agents and eliminates cancer-causing free radicals in the body.
Also, blueberries are an excellent source of ellagic acid. Ellagic acid is a phytonutrient that rapidly disrupts the growths of certain types of bacteria and fungi in the body. Lastly, the anthocyanins in blueberries have unique antioxidant and antimicrobial properties.
3. Blueberries can help increase bone strength.
Blueberries are a good source of vitamin K, which functions in retaining calcium in the bone matrix. Sufficient vitamin K consumption may also reduce urinary excretion of calcium. One cup of blueberries contains 36 percent of the daily recommended value of vitamin K.
4. Blueberries contain anti-inflammatory benefits.
Vitamin K acts as a direct regulator of our inflammatory response. Also, blueberries contain two forms of anthocyanins (malvidin-3-glucoside and malvidin-3-galactoside) that could prevent long-term inflammation.
5. Blueberries can help you maintain a healthy blood pressure.
People with hypertension need to monitor their blood pressure levels. Potassium is known to help your body fight high blood pressure. Luckily, blueberries have a very high content of potassium and a low content of sodium. One cup of blueberries contains 114 milligrams of potassium, compared to 1.5 milligrams of sodium. Folate also contributes to the reduction of hypertension and relaxes blood vessels, while maintaining proper blood flow.
6. Blueberries can help you fight cancer.
Blueberries contain a multitude of compounds like pterostilbene, ellagic acid, and anthocyanin can help fight colon and liver cancer.
7. Blueberries can help enhance brain functioning.
Blueberries have many vitamins, minerals, and compounds like anthocyanin, selenium, vitamin A, B-complex, vitamin C, vitamin E, zinc, sodium, potassium, copper, magnesium, phosphorus, and manganese can help prevent ward off brain disorders. These nutrients protect brain cells and help restore the brain and nerves.
A study published in the journal of Nutritional Neuroscience conducted an animal study to see the brain effects of anthocyanins in aged blueberry-fed rats. The results showed that the mice who ate blueberries were linked to increased cognitive performance and enhanced memory.