Whether you’re looking for quick information or want something to impress your friends at dinner, here’s our Featured 5 of the Week!
Blueberries – they’re known as a Superfood due to their high nutritional benefits. We know they’re good for us, but what’s going on in those tiny berries? We’re here to tell you!
5. Help Strengthen Bones
Blueberries contain a ton of micronutrients, including iron, phosphorus, calcium, magnesium, and more. Almost every micronutrient found in a blueberry is also found in our bones!
A study done on polyphenol intake from berries – including blueberries – on bone aging showed that polyphenols from berries had a positive effect on bone mass, leading to a decrease in the potential risk of age-related bone loss.
So, whether you suffer from low bone density or just want to make sure you can keep up with your kids and grandkids down the road, blueberries may be a great, natural source of polyphenol!
4. Low in Calories, High in Fiber
The million-dollar question – what snacks can I eat that are low in calories? Blueberries!
Blueberries are 85% water, and a cup of blueberries is only 84 calories. Now, we know that sometimes we need a little bit more to fuel our bodies and get through the day. BUT, the best thing about this low-calorie snack is that they are high in fiber – around 4 grams per cup!
We need fiber to keep us full throughout the day, which is another reason why blueberries are a great choice for your mid-afternoon snack…or at any time of the day!
3. Lower Cholesterol
We hear about cholesterol all the time, and most of us only know that Cheerios lower it because of the commercial. But blueberries are also a good choice if you want to lower your cholesterol!
A study conducted on both healthy people and those with existing metabolic problems examined if the polyphenols in blueberries had positive effects on lowering cardiovascular risk. They found that eating this fruit, among others, led to significant improvements in LDL “bad” cholesterol oxidation. Oxidative stress means there’s an excess of free radicals, which can damage cells. By preventing this in LDL “bad” cholesterol, it lowers one’s risk of heart disease.
Protect your cholesterol not with Cheerios, but with heart-healthy blueberries!
Blueberries are an anti-inflammatory because they contain flavonoids, which can mean a lot of different (but good) things.
First, it means that blueberries can help boost our immune system. It’s important to note that we need some inflammation to protect ourselves from injury and infection. However, too much is not a good thing. Blueberries allow our bodies to fight against infection by lowering the excess inflammation that leads to poor blood circulation and other negative consequences.
Second, it means blueberries lower our risk of diet-related illnesses, such as heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes. When our bodies consume a lot of fat, our arteries run the risk of becoming inflamed, which inhibits good blood circulation. We need good blood circulation, especially to our brain and heart. Because blueberries are anti-inflammatory, they protect us against the diseases that come from a bad diet.
Third, it means blueberries are good for our brains! The same flavonoids that are anti-inflammatory are also needed for healthy brain function. In the brain, flavonoids help strengthen neuron connections, promoting healthy communication.
If you are at risk of developing a diet-related illness or Alzheimer’s, adding blueberries to your diet is one way to help protect yourself!
Everything we’ve talked about above all comes down to the fact that blueberries are indeed an Antioxidant Superfood!
We learned above that free radicals can be potentially harmful to our bodies, leading to oxidative stress and an increase in LDL “bad” cholesterol. But, in a study done by Ronald Prior, they measured the plasma antioxidant capacity (AOC) of volunteers to see if foods with rich antioxidant properties were able to lower the level of free radicals in the body.
They found that when volunteers consumed a half-cup of berries, including blueberries, there was a distinct climb in AOC. There have been a few studies in animals that show the consumption of antioxidants can lower the amount of free radicals in the bodies, but less have been done on humans.
The Bottom Line:
Blueberries have a lot of great nutritional benefits, making them a vital part of any diet. They can help lower our blood pressure, protect us against different diseases, and even aid in metabolic function. So, no matter if you’re looking to lose weight or protect your overall health, try adding blueberries into your diet and see the results!