When you talk about super foods; nothing beats blueberries. These packets of flavor are in a league of their own. Blueberries are native to North America and date back to pre-colonial times. Berries such as cranberries and azalea are part of its family.
The Indians in pre-colonial times held the blueberry sacred due to its crown being shaped like a star. They believed that blueberries were a gift of God to feed their starving children. Blueberries were a staple in their savory and sweet dishes.
They used the fruit to make cough syrup and the leaves were also used to make special tea. The Indians even taught English settlers on how to cultivate and farm these native plants. The drying technique was used to dry the blueberries to use them during winters. The high bush variety was domesticated by the English settlers in the twentieth century. The Indians cultivated only the low bush kind.
Commercial cultivation began after the English settlers brought blueberries to Europe. The smaller low bush variety is the most flavourful kind in comparison to the cultivated kind. The US is now the largest cultivator of blueberries.
Blueberries are versatile in terms of canning, drying, freezing and making jams and preservatives. They are perennial flowering plants, with a deep purple-indigo color. They are shrubs that grow to various sizes, from 10 centimeters to 4 meters. The cultivated kind may be larger in size.
Blueberries are a treasure trove of flavonoids and antioxidants, low in calories and high in flavor. These berries are rich in vitamins and minerals and promote overall health. Here are 11 reasons why blueberries should be a part of your daily diet:
11 Amazing Health Benefits of Blueberries
1. Improved Cognitive Function
Blueberries are an excellent source of antioxidants that are very powerful in preventing disease and improving all bodily. The anthocyanin, vitamins A, C, E, selenium, copper, magnesium, and phosphorus in these powerful fruits can help prevent cognitive damage and heal neurotic disorders. This combination of nutrients prevents the death of neurons and protects the health of the central nervous system. Blueberries have been observed to reduce the effects of Alzheimer’s disease. Studies suggest that blueberries can heal brain cells that are damaged as well as repair neuron tissues that improve memory.
2. Urinary Tract Infection
It has compounds formed from polymer-like molecules that prevent the growth of bacteria that accumulates on the inner lining of the walls of the urinary tract. This bacterium is the main cause of infections such as E.Coli. Blueberries also have antibiotic properties that fight urinary tract infections and speed up the healing process.
3. Cancer Prevention
It is a powerhouse of antioxidants. They contain flavonoids and compounds such as pterostilbene that prevents liver and colon cancer. The gallic acid works with the pterostilbene to wreck havoc on cancer-causing free radicals. Copper and vitamin C also prevent cancer cells from spreading.
4. Low GI
Foods that are high on the glycemic index can be the cause of many diseases; blueberries belong on the low glycemic index, which makes it useful in regulating blood sugar levels. This makes the body less susceptible to diseases such as depression, kidney disease, metabolic syndrome and diabetes. Regular consumption of blueberries will help prevent cardiac complications and other chronic diseases. Flavonoid sub-compounds such as anthocyanins prevent the occurrence of Type-2 diabetes.
5. Anti Aging
The impact of antioxidants is anti-aging in nature and prevents oxidative damage to the cells in the skin and overall body. Aging becomes prominent when the body is exposed to free radicals and damage caused by UV rays from the sun. Diet plays a vital role in slowing down the aging process; eating antioxidant-rich foods can help prevent the signs of aging. Blueberries can help reduce the appearance of wrinkles, laugh lines, and sunspots.
6. Vitamins and Minerals
It’s an excellent source of vitamins and minerals. They contain manganese, vitamin K and vitamin C, which keep the body healthy from within.
- Manganese: this mineral is known for keeping your bones strong and has lipids, amino acids, protein, and it also improves metabolism
- Vitamin K: This vitamin helps the body heal faster by causing immediate clotting preventing blood loss and closing the wound quickly.
- Vitamin C: Ascorbic acid in the form of vitamin C helps build a strong immune system and also fights several diseases.
7. A Healthy Heart
It has a high polyphenol content, which can combat free radicals and cure metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome refers to diabetes, heart diseases, and obesity; these can lead to heart issues. Anthocyanins prevent obesity and high cholesterol. The anti-inflammatory properties of blueberries help prevent diabetes.
8. Healthy Immunity
Antioxidants such an the anthocyanin present in blueberries paired with the vitamin C do a fantastic job of building a strong immune system. Blueberries prevent multiple diseases such as cancer and diabetes. Due to its composition, your immune system will begin to become stronger, warding off seasonal illnesses such as cold and flu as well as other diseases and health conditions.
9. Glowing Skin
A Healthy and glowing skin can be achieved with a proper skin care routine and a healthy diet. Blueberries promote elasticity in the skin due to their vitamin C content and also reduce the scarring on the face due to acne or other problems. Blueberry enzyme masks can be used to ensure a healthy skin and many skin care products are often centred on blueberries and their anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
10. Healthy Eyes
It can prevent the effects of aging even on the eyes, and can prevent macular degeneration. Due to their antioxidant properties, they benefit the retina the most; the degeneration of the retina can lead to complete or gradual blindness. Eating blueberries can slow down the degenerative processes giving you the opportunity to enjoy healthy eyes for longer. Carotenoids present in blueberries have a direct impact on the eyes and prevent oxidative damage.
It has various phytonutrients such as quercetin, myricetin, and anthocyanins. They reduce the risk of high blood pressure, prevent cancer and lower the risk of chronic diseases. Anthocyanins are part of the flavonoid groups and the predominant compounds are malvidin and delphinidin. Anthocyanins give the blueberry its signature colour and are concentrated in the skin.
In a Nutshell
Blueberries are rated number one in antioxidant-rich foods and are used worldwide for its healing and health benefits. An adequate helping of blueberries over the top of warm oatmeal or pancakes can take your meal to another level while giving you all the health benefits. Eaten in moderation, blueberries do not have any adverse side effects.