If You Don’t Eat Blueberries Every Day, This Might Convince You to Start
This popular fruit may be tiny, but it packs a powerful nutritional punch, making it valuable for your long-term health
If you’re a fan of sprinkling blueberries on your morning oatmeal or yogurt, then you’re in luck. Despite their small size, blueberries provide a plethora of nutrients that can positively influence your long-term health. We researched how the benefits of eating blueberries and mixing them into your meals will easily boost your nutritional intake, from decreasing your risk of disease to boosting your body with micronutrients.
The antioxidants in blueberries reduce your risk of disease
Here’s an interesting food fact: Most fruits and vegetables (which should be stored properly so they last longer) are powerful sources of polyphenols—antioxidants that help to decrease inflammation and fight off free radicals present in the body. If the body is chronically inflamed (which occurs when it’s dealing with oxidative stress in the immune system), it’s more prone to developing diseases. Research has concluded that polyphenols can decrease oxidative stress and inflammation, which in turn decreases the risk of disease.
Specifically, blueberries are packed with antioxidants called anthocyanins, which are known to reduce free radicals in the body that lead to diseases such as cardiovascular, type 2 diabetes and even neurological decline. Anthocyanins also have pigments that cause blueberries to have that familiar rich, blue color.
Blueberries help lower “bad” cholesterol
One of the specific ways blueberries can reduce disease risk is by lowering levels of LDL, the “bad” cholesterol in the blood. LDL cholesterol is the type of cholesterol that builds up in the arteries if there is too much in the bloodstream, and not enough HDL, or “good” cholesterol, to transfer LDL back to the liver. Research published in The Journal of Nutrition found that participants who consumed blueberries reported 27% lower LDL cholesterol levels in just eight weeks, decreasing their risk of metabolic syndrome and other cardiovascular disease risks.
Blueberries are a great source of fiber
In general, many berry varieties are a powerful source of fiber. According to JAMA Network, consuming enough fiber in the diet has been linked to lower disease risk and increased longevity because of the way fiber stabilizes blood sugar and reduces LDL cholesterol. One study even found that for every 8-gram increase of fiber in the diet, participants were able to reduce their risk of death (as well as cases of heart disease, diabetes and colorectal cancer) between 5% and 27%.
Fiber is also satiating, meaning it helps you feel fuller for longer. The American Heart Association recommends getting at least 25 to 30 grams of fiber a day for optimal health. One cup of blueberries contains around 4 grams of fiber.
Blueberries provide a boost of vitamin C
Lastly, blueberries provide a major boost of vitamin C; one cup contains around 15% of your recommended daily allowance. Vitamin C works as a powerful antioxidant that fights off free radicals while also benefiting the body’s nervous, immune, bone, cartilage and blood systems.
Next, read up on how one study says you could boost your health by eating a banana each day.
- Hindawi: “Oxidative Stress and Inflammation: What Polyphenols Can Do for Us?”
- Food & Nutrition Research: “Anthocyanidins and anthocyanins: colored pigments as food, pharmaceutical ingredients, and the potential health benefits”
- Advances in Nutrition: “Recent Research on the Health Benefits of Blueberries and Their Anthocyanins”
- The Journal of Nutrition: “Blueberries Decrease Cardiovascular Risk Factors in Obese Men and Women with Metabolic Syndrome”
- JAMA Network: “Dietary Fiber and Risk of Coronary Heart Disease: A Pooled Analysis of Cohort Studies”
- Harvard Health Publishing: “Fiber linked to lower risk for chronic disease and early death”
- The American Heart Association: “Fiber, Lipids, and Coronary Heart Disease”
- U.S. Department of Agriculture: “Blueberries, raw”
- Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health: “The Nutrition Source: Vitamin C”