The benefits of blueberries as a superfood are literally off the charts! Blueberries have got to be one of my favorite foods to write about. Why? Because I never knew they were so powerful.
I never thought twice about eating blueberries except for in cupcakes and waffles, which of course were never real blueberries at all and so contained no nutritional benefit at all. On the contrary, these types of foods are usually harmful to you.
So lets talk about the type that are really, really good for you, shall we?
Awesome Medical Benefits of Blueberries
Because of the medical benefits of blueberries, they are also called “brain berries” and “youth berries” as they help with cognitive function and also help to turn back the clock, health-wise, as you get older older.
One of the nutrients blueberries are packed with are antioxidants, which keep other molecules from oxidizing and thus breaking down faster. One serving of blueberries has as much antioxidants as 5 servings of carrots, apples, or broccoli!
Now, blueberries contain Vitamin E but they also provide more protection against cell oxidation than over 1700 IUs (International Units) of Vitamin E by itself. So those of you who love to take Vitamin E supplements, just eat more blueberries!
Let’s take a look at what other nutrients are comprised of a blueberry:
We mentioned Vitamin E already but how about Vitamin C, Potassium, Folate, Manganese, Magnesium, Iron, Riboflavin, Niacin, Polyphenols, Carotenoids, and Fiber just to name a few. There are more and some have not even been discovered yet.
One of the polyphenols in blueberries, and there are several, is anthocyanins, which is also found in red wine and which give them their deep blue color. This polyphenol is obviously most concentrated in the skin.
So what do all these nutrients and polyphenols do? Well they combine in the blueberry to provide such health benefits as lowering cholesterol, reducing cardiovascular disease risks, an anti-inflammatory, maintaining healthy skin and reducing age wrinkles (remember these are also called “youth berries”?), reducing risks for diabetes, some types of cancers, cataracts, and also boosts immune health.
Blueberries also help protect the brain against age-related degenerative conditions like Alzheimer’s, dementia, and senility. I know your mouth is wide-open in pleasant shock right now, right?
A Little Blueberry History
Blueberries are native to North America. They used to be called “star fruit” because of the star-shaped pattern left from its attachment to the plant.
Native Americans have long known that blueberries were good for preservation of meat because of their antibacterial properties. They used to grind them up and mash them over meats to slow the spoilage process. They also would make tea with blueberry plants and use it as a remedy for diarrhea because of their digestive health properties.
So the Native Americans found these little berries a pretty important staple in their diets and early settlers in North America learned about blueberries medicinal properties from the natives as well.
Blueberries seem to be able to help in the prevention of many conditions which plague the human race, especially as we get older. More and more people are waking up to the fact that supplements by themselves aren’t doing the trick, but eating a diet rich in whole foods the way nature intended it is the way to go.
No one knows why but when all the nutrients, vitamins, antioxidants, and polyphenols, both known and unknown, are able to come together (like inside of a blueberry) to create a powerhouse of health benefits, then sparks fly as far as your body is concerned.
It’s all about education. I think if more people knew how wonderful blueberries are for your health, many more people would eat them and less people would be taking prescription pills and supplements, along with a proper regular diet and exercise of course.
But blueberries do go a long way towards making you a healthier person. When you want to eat them, make sure you buy wild blueberries when you can. Buy them canned, frozen, dried, or fresh. Stay away from dried blueberries that are loaded up with high fructose corn syrup.
As well as eating them plain, I love eating blueberries frozen as a delicious summer snack and I’ve also found them to be a tasty addition to a spinach salad. Also eat them with cranberries, raspberries, and blackberries. Just be sure to enjoy all of the health benefits of blueberries so your body will thank you for it. Enjoy!
Sources: Superfoods Rx: How to Unlock the Power of Foods to Prevent and Even Cure Disease. Pratt M.D., Steven (2008)