Thursday, May 23, 2013

Unexpected Health Benefits of Blueberries

We are blessed to live in a world rich with a variety of delicious fruits, veggies, nuts and seeds. Each plant-based food has its own unique flavor, scent and nutritional profile — made of health giving vitamins and phytochemicals (many of which act as antioxidants).
A well-known super food, and one of my favorite fruits, is the antioxidant powerhouse: the Blueberry. This fruit is a classic option for topping off your fruit bowl, sweetening muffins and filling perfect pies.  
While they might be a bit pricy to find fresh at the market or grocer, blueberries are truly a worthwhile treat, especially when they are in season.
Blueberries are extremely high in health giving phytochemicals. And why is that so important? Because they’re good, good, good for you!
Many of the phytochemicals listed below provide anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits:

  • Anthocyanins (malvidins, delphinidins, pelargonidins, cyanidins, peonidins)
  • Flavonols (kaempferol, quercetin, myricetin)
  • Resveratrol
  • Pterostilbene
  • Hydroxycinnamic acids (caffeic acids, ferulic acids, coumaric acids)
  • Hydroxybenzoic acids (coumaric acids)
  • Hydroxybenzoic acids (gallic acids, procatchuic acids)

And these are only some of the phytochemicals we’ve studied so far!
Along with all of these beautiful nutrients, blueberries are also a good source of vitamins including:
  • Manganese
  • Vitamin K
  • Vitamin C
All of these vitamins and phytonutrients gives blueberries their wonderful smell, color, flavor AND health benefits!

Health benefits of blueberries:
- Eye health: Anthocyanin (one of the phytochemicals in blueberries) has been shown to protect the retina from damage.
- Cardiovascular health: Blueberries have been shown to improve blood fat balance (including reducing total overall cholesterol while raising HDL cholesterol (the good kind), and lowering triglycerides. In addition, they protect the blood vessels and certain blood components from oxygen damage.
Blood Sugar Balance: Blueberries (along with many other berries) have been shown to have a favorable impact on blood sugar regulation.
Cognitive Benefits: Studies have demonstrated (especially in elderly patients) that regular consumption of blueberries can improve cognitive function including memory, as well as potentially postponing other cognitive problems often associated with aging.
Anti-Cancer Properties: Studies are beginning to suggest that blueberries may have many anti-cancer benefits, particularly breast cancer, colon cancer, esophageal cancer and cancer of the small intestine.
Full body antioxidant protection and support: Blueberries not only benefit your eyes, cardiovascular system and cognitive abilities, they’re pretty much good for every system in the body! Every system that they have studied thus far in relation to blueberry consumption has benefited. This includes reducing damage to muscles after exercise, protection of the entire nervous system from oxygen damage, reducing the risk of neurodegenerative diseases and protecting the digestive tract from oxygen damage.

And that’s just some of what we’ve learned so far.
So along with all the other wonderful and delicious plant nutrients you enjoy on a daily basis, pick up some blueberries too!

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