Blueberries health benefits seem too good to be true when you consider how yummy they are. In popularity for tastiness they rank second in consumption only to strawberries. But it is true. Blueberries have one of the highest concentrations of antioxidants in foods eaten in North America.
Antioxidants destroy free radicals which damage cellular structure. We’ve known this now for several years, but more research is being done regularly to discover new benefits of blueberries. And one of these wonderful new discoveries which will benefit many people is that freezing blueberries does not destroy their antioxidant properties. Another new discovery of benefits of blueberries is that in spite of their relatively higher Glycemic Index compared to other fruits, they still react positively on blood sugar regulation with persons with type 2 diabetes. Studies have also shown that organically grown blueberries are higher in many types of antioxidants present in blueberries than the commercially grown types.
Research has already uncovered blueberries health benefits for the nervous system and the brain, and now new research is showing that blueberries can improve memory as well. Researchers are hopeful that it may be revealed in more studies that one of the health benefits of blueberries may be to slow down or delay the onset of cognitive illnesses related to the aging process.
Blueberries are packed full of phytonutrients which act as both antioxidants and anti-inflammatories. Anthocyanins are the phytonutrients responsible for giving blueberries their wonderful blue color and are also responsible for many of the health benefits of blueberries. Research is now finding that these antioxidants are not only beneficial in their ability to strengthen the cardiovascular system, but literally every body system studied showed improvement with the consumption of blueberries. Some of these areas studied include damage to muscle tissue, protection of the nervous system, in older adults with neurodegenerative disease, in younger and middle aged obese adults, as a blood glucose level regulator and in protecting the digestive tract particularly against colon cancer.
One of the more commonly documented benefits of blueberries is in the cardiovascular system in numerous aspects of their action. Blueberries reduce triglycerides and LDL, the bad cholesterol, and improve the HDL, the good cholesterol. Blueberries protect the blood from oxygen damage which leads to clogging of the arteries. Blueberries protect the cells lining blood vessel walls. So you can see the multiple blueberry health benefits when it relates to the cardiovascular system.
Blueberries improve cognitive functioning. Research suggests that this could be a result of nerve cell protection from oxidation stress. There is well documented evidence of the health benefits of blueberries in relation to blood sugar regulation in persons with type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome and insulin resistance. Research consistently results in favourable impact.
The retina of the eye is particularly at risk for oxidation stress and blueberries have been shown to reduce this risk considerably with their antioxidant properties. During studies, one area which is now being studied is their ability also to protect the retina from damage from sunlight, thus protecting from cancer.
Ongoing studies are being conducted to determine the benefits of blueberries in relation to several different types of cancers, the plague of our times. At worst we can only improve our eating habits by eating better foods in the process.
Blueberries are packed with vitamins and minerals and you would be hard pressed to find anybody who doesn’t understand the importance of them in our daily regime. But rather than taking vitamin and mineral supplements why not consume them in the foods we eat daily. Blueberries contain the minerals calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, sodium, zinc, copper, iron, manganese and selenium and many of the vitamins our bodies require.
A final tip is if you want to take advantage of the blueberries health benefits that come with taking the many antioxidants that come with them, make sure to have WILD blueberries. By being farmed blueberries slowly lose some antioxidants since they are also used to repel intruders. So, if you want to take advantage of the anti aging benefits of blueberries make sure to get them wild!
Blueberries make everything better, and on a hot hot day, snack on a small bowl of frozen ones. Refreshing and definitely makes the hot days even better.