First of all, they are so delicious. Second, they have a great effect on -mostly- all of your body organs.Selected nutrients in one cup (148 g edible portion) of raw blueberries:
Water (g): 124.63
Energy (kcal): 84
Protein (g): 1.1
Fat (g): 0.49
Carbohydrate (g): 21.45
Fiber (g): 3.6
Vitamins and Minerals
Vitamin C (mg): 14.4
Folate (mcg DFE): 9
Vitamin A (mcg RAE): 4
Vitamin K (mcg): 28.6
Calcium (mg): 9
Magnesium (mg): 9
Phosphorus (mg): 18
Potassium (mg): 114
Sodium (mg): 1.
Blueberries as Antioxidants
What are oxidants? Oxidants are free radicals which are found either in our environment like cigarette smoke, air pollution or naturally produced in our bodies after viral or bacterial infections. Aging, cancers and cardiovascular diseases are results of accumulation of these oxidative substance. So, antioxidants are highly important.
Then, what are antioxidants components found in blueberries? Blueberries are rich in phyto derivatives, such as flavonoids and phenolic acid, these compounds play a very big role as antioxidants and anti-inflammatory, and it is proved that antioxidants are present on wild blueberries, and their level in blueberries are higher than those present in strawberries, cranberries, plums or others.
Blueberries and Metabolism
We are about to mention the effect of blueberries on 2 important diseases that blueberries can protect you from.
Who doesn’t want to stay fit and in shape on the cost of doing something simple and as entertaining as eating blueberries?
An exciting study was conducted in 2013, Researchers divided mice of four weeks old, fed with high-fat diet into two groups, one of them was induced with blueberry and mulberry juice, and the second not.
Results proved that mice fed with the high-fat diet without blueberry and mulberry juice showed an increase in their body weight, a resistance of insulin, high serum and hepatic lipids in comparison to mice of the first group which showed inhibition in body weight gain, decreased serum cholesterol, decreased insulin resistance and reduced secretion of leptin. (leptin is a hormone which is responsible for energy consumption and feel of satisfaction).
Flavonoids are compounds found richly on blueberries.
A follow-up study published in 2012 was aiming at determining whether dietary flavonoid intakes contribute to lower the risk of type 2 Diabetes Mellitus or not.
Researchers followed 3,645,585 persons for years and results showed that there is a significant association between the intake of rich-in-flavonoid food -especially blueberries- and a lower risk of type 2 Diabetes.
Blueberries and Your Skin
It seems to be a great challenge to have a pure, glowing and healthy skin because our skin is exposed to many harmful agents nowadays.
We can counter attack these harmful agents with other lovely agents called vitamins.
Blueberries are rich in vitamin A and vitamin C.
But how these vitamins help your skin?
Vitamin A is an antioxidant, and it plays a big role in slowing skin senility, protecting your skin from inflammatory skin reactions caused by harmful sun rays.
Vitamin A is responsible for cellular growth so it protects your skin from getting dry or wounded.
The widest organ in the body is skin, so it is a must to be highly defensive against any microorganism. Vitamin A strengthens the physical immunity of your skin.
Vitamin c reduces the damage of ultraviolet rays on your skin, in contrast, ultraviolet rays decrease the amount of vitamin C in your skin, so you need to increase your dietary intake of vitamin C for sufficient protection.
In addition, some rodent studies claim that dietary intake of vitamin C contributes to lower the risk of skin cancers caused by prolonged exposure to ultraviolet rays.
And we have to mention that vitamin C is the main regulator of collagen production in the skin which repair the unhealthy skin and support the outermost layer of skin – called epidermis- which means that vitamin C protects your skin from wrinkling and aging.
Blueberries and Your Hair
It is everybody dream to have a soft, strong free of shelling hair.
Blueberries –either orally or topically by their extracts- can help you to achieve your dreams. They make hair grow up by its antioxidant and vitamins content, it also protects your hair against aging, therefore, the appearance of the annoying grey hair.
Blueberries enhance the blood circulation and blood flow to the scalp.
Blueberries and Pregnancy
Nothing could be more important than providing a proper health care not only for the baby but also for mother, so we should be very careful about mother’s diet.
If you are a pregnant woman and you like eating blueberries, you are very lucky.
Do you want to know why, well, what are your biggest concerns during pregnancy?
Many women worry about gaining weight during pregnancy, but thanks to a low-fat content of blueberries, the mother can freely eat a large number of blueberries.
It is so important for a pregnant woman to have a good immunity because infections during pregnancy could harm mother and baby, and –as we mentioned above- blueberries are rich in vitamin C which can boost your immunity.
It is well known that pregnancy is a stressful period due to several factors, the most important of which high levels of some hormones, blueberry as an antioxidant can protect you from oxidative stress.
Blueberries protect you from constipation which is a seriously annoying problem during pregnancy.
This all about benefits for mother, but what about blueberries’ benefits for the baby?
Blueberries can help in keeping healthy bone of your baby.
Can lower the risk of premature labor.
It is magnificent that blueberries can limit gaining weight and mother, and – in the same time- protect your baby from the low birth weight.
Blueberries and Vision
There is much can blueberries can provide for your eyes.
In a study conducted in 2003, researchers discovered that blueberries can increase rhodopsin regeneration.
( Rhodopsin is a photoreceptor responsible for night vision).
Also vitamin C –found in blueberries- reduces the intraocular pressure, so it can protect you from the second common cause of blindness “glaucoma”.
Blueberries also contain zinc which can provide a protection from eye aging and night blindness.
Blueberries and Your Gastrointestinal Tract
Disturbances happen in our gastrointestinal tract’s motility or bowel diseases are very common complaints all of us suffering from due to spread of unhealthy and difficult-digested food.
In (Osman et al., 2008), researchers discovered that blueberries’ intake decreases the bacterial and inflammatory reactions in the colon, which means that it can decrease colitis.
Blueberries and Your Brain
One of the most important functions in the brain is processing sensory information or cognitive function.
Cognitive functions are mental processes that allow us to do any task. They allow the subject to have an active role in the processes of receiving, choosing, transforming, storing, processing and retrieval of information, allowing the subject to react to the world around him.
However, as we grow older our brains tend to become less receptive to learning new information. By the age of 40, genes that are associated with learning and neuroplasticity tend to shut down. And by the time we reach the age of 65 or older, the chemicals in our brain begin to make dramatic changes, such as decreases in serotonin, dopamine, and glutamate, all which are important for healthy brain functioning. The grey matter in our brains also begins to thin.
As a result of these physical changes in the brain, many people experience age-related declines in cognitive ability. In addition, individuals 65 and older have a one in 8 chance of developing age-related dementia, such as Alzheimer’s disease, which severely inhibits your ability to think rationally, solve problems, learn new things, and form memories.
Researchers proved that one of the ways to protect your brain against aging processes is to add phytochemicals antioxidant-rich foods to your diets.
Blueberries and Cardiovascular Diseases
In a human study conducted in 2013, researchers claimed that the consumption of the wild blueberry drink for 6 weeks significantly decreases oxidative stress, inflammation, and endothelial dysfunction in humans with cardiovascular risk factors, which means that it can maintain healthy blood vessels and good circulation.
Also, blueberries can help in lowering cardiovascular risk factors, the most important of which is the lipid profile.
Blueberries contribute to decreasing the level of LDL, protecting the body from hypercholesterolemia, this is so important for a healthy heart.
Eating blueberry protects the myocardium against ischemic damage and lowers the risk of development of myocardial infarction and chronic heart failure.
Can Blueberries Lower Your Blood Pressure?
If you are a hypertensive patient, I guess it is a good idea to try adding blueberries to your diet.
The key to treat the patient from hypertension is to restrict sodium intake. Fortunately, blueberries don’t contain sodium.
Instead, blueberry has a big amount of potassium in addition to magnesium. These elements are vasodilators which improve the blood flow and lower your blood pressure.
Side effects of blueberry:
Unfortunately, some cases may show serious harmful events after eating blueberries. They could cause:
Salicylates sensitivity presented by rash, nausea, and headache. (salicylates are the chemical substance present in aspirin and it is found also in some plants)
Increase risk of bleeding due to the presence of vitamin K in their contents.
Hypoglycemia from blueberries leaves, so I advise you not to consume them in dinner.
These events mostly happen with eating a large number of blueberries, but if you suffer from any one of them, I advise you to visit your doctor because it may indicate a serious disease.
Blueberries are one of the most important containing-anti-oxidant fruit, they also contain several vitamins and minerals, these contents play a direct role in their benefits. The most important of which is protecting against cancers, aging and cardiovascular diseases.
In addition to their role in metabolism and protecting against obesity and diabetes. It is important to add them to your breakfast.