Blueberries belong to the bilberry and cranberry family. They grow in clusters on a bush and are about the size of a marble or pea. Despite their small size, they are as potent and as healthy as any other fruit and, in fact, may provide benefits that other fruits cannot.
The various health benefits of blueberries include:
1. Lowering cholesterol levels
Blueberries reduce cholesterol by preventing the build-up of lipids in the blood vessels and preventing the absorption of fats in the intestines. They also reduce the risk of heart disease.
2. Being high in antioxidants
Blueberries are high in antioxidants. The anthocyanin they contain, which gives them their distinctive blue colour, makes them rank particularly highly amongst other fresh fruits, but they contain Vitamin C, Vitamin A, Vitamin E, copper, iron, zinc and selenium as well, which help reduce the toxins in, and oxidative stress on, cells.
3. Reducing fat levels around the waist
According to a recent study by the University of Michigan’s Cardiovascular Centre, blueberries reduce the amount of fat stored around the waist by lowering triglyceride levels in adipose tissue. Thisleads to a reduction in overall weight and total fat mass, thus reducing the risk of obesity related illnesses such as diabetes, hypertension and heart disease.
4. Preventing urinary tract infections
Blueberries contain chemicals that prevent the growth of bacteria in the urinary tract. Preventing urinary tract infections plays a key role in preventing renal kidney disease.
5. Improving cognitive function
Blueberries are well known for improving memory and concentration. They contain nutrients that prevent the degeneration of nerve cells, or neurons, thereby preventing neurotic disorders such asdementia and Alzheimer’s disease. A study has also revealed that the memory function of older adults who take blueberries is improved, and is, in fact, similar to the normal mental functioning of younger people.
6. Preventing loss of vision
The anthocyanins in blueberries slow down the loss of vision, especially in older people. Blueberries may also delay, if not prevent, eye problems such as myopia, cataracts, retinal problems and macular degeneration. For these benefits, consider eating up to three servings of blueberries a day.
7. Improving digestion
Blueberries contain roughage, which improves digestion and helps keep bowel movements regular. The copper, sodium, fructose, and vitamins they contain also contribute to healthier digestion.
8. Preventing, and possibly curing, cancer
Blueberries contain Pterostilbene, which has cancer fighting properties. In fact, studies have shown that blueberries may even inhibit the proliferation of cancer cells and induce cell death of malignant cells, thereby possibly curing certain types of cancer.
In order to benefit from blueberries, it is important to choose the right kind. Make sure you choose blueberries that are firm and have a uniform blue hue. Avoid soft and dull blueberries because these may not be fresh and may already have lost some of their important chemicals.
Alapati currently writes for eDrugstore.MD, an online facilitator for medications. He has extensive background in health and enjoys offering tips on the Sexual Health Videos section.