Blueberries Health Benefits & Nutrition

Posted on 24. Feb, 2011 by in Blog

Some people prefer them in their brownies, while others crave for its cheesecake variant. In one way or another, it has found its way into our daily lives, albeit not in its purest form. Blueberries, really, are more than what they seem. Unassumingly sweet and small fruits as they are, these purple treats are strongly becoming one of the best in fighting off health problems.

Better Memory, Better Brain-Body Coordination

With old age comes poorer memory and brain-body coordination. A recently concluded study about to be published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry entitled “Blueberry Supplementation Improves Memory in Older Adults” shows that, indeed, regularly drinking wild blueberry juice will not only enhance memory but also reduce blood sugar levels and even cut down the symptoms of depression.

A similar study conducted among 19-month old rats sows that regular supplementation of blueberries significantly improves the memory. This was published in the Journal of Neuroscience in 1999. The same goes for the coordination and balance of rats. After regularly supplementing them with blueberries, the motor skills generally decline at first, right before there’s an upshot of coordination at about the 19th month.

Cholesterol-Lowering Agent

Statin and ciprofibrate are popular medications in lowering cholesterol. However, they are also known to have undesirable effects. For the longest time, there had been no other choice but to take them anyway. Fortunately, recent studies have given people more ways to regulate their bad cholesterol level without negative side effects. One of them is by taking blueberries.

Two studies support this claim: one in which blueberries were regularly supplemented to pigs (Effect of blueberry feeding on plasma lipids in pigs), and the other wherein blueberries were fed to rats (Wild Blueberry consumption affects the composition and structure of Glycosaminoglycans in Sprague Dalwer rat aorta). The two studies show that cholesterol levels were lowered by as much as 37% and 20% respectively. The researchers attribute the cholesterol-lowering power of blueberries to pterostilbene.

Prevention of the Spread of Hepatitis C

According to the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, blueberries are also effective in preventing the replication of Hepatitis C virus. With more than 200 million people affected by this infection, blueberries provide a fresh new way of approaching this increasingly alarming problem.

As a dietary supplement, blueberry can be taken regularly in order to help prevent the spread of Hepatitis C. As to how exactly this happens has yet to be revealed by the researchers who are conducting the link between blueberries and the said infection.

Prevention Against Urinary Tract Infections

In a study conducted by researchers from the Rutgers University, it was shown that blueberries can help in preventing bacteria that attaches to the bladder wall and ultimately causes urinary tract infections. Commonly characterized by frequent urination, a burning sensation when urinating, a dark or red-blood substance mixed in urine, abdominal pains and a strong odor of the urine, urinary tract infections are usually ignored yet highly common. If left unattended, it will only get worse and can be a doorway to worse bladder infections.

In combating urinary tract infection, blueberry contains a compound called proanthocyandin. Taken regularly but not in excess, blueberries may be exactly what you need to get your bladder in perfect working shape.

Prevention of Cancer

With all the environmental pollutants and carcinogens around you, don’t just sit out and wait for you to actually have cancer! You can actually do something to proactively protect yourself from this killer disease by taking blueberries. Blueberries contain pterostilbene, anthocynanins, resveratrol, tannins—all of which help in the prevention of the development of the infamous cancer cell in your body. The significant concentration of these compounds in blueberries should be enough to convince you to regularly include it in your meals, in one way or another.

What Blueberries Contain

All these benefits blueberries claim to have must make you wonder: what do blueberries contain for these miraculous effects to happen? A research done by Dr. Rimando of the USDA, Dr. Nagmani and Dr. Feller of the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy has largely helped in shedding light on this matter. Aside from being a highly effective antioxidant, blueberries also contain phytosterol and pterostilbene, among many other nutrients.

It doesn’t stop there. Blueberries also contain carbohydrates, dietary fiber, protein, vitamin A, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B5, vitamin B6, vitamin B9, vitamin c, vitamin E, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, manganese and vitamin K.

Where to Get Blueberries

Although you can easily go to your favorite coffee shop and buy yourself an order of blueberry muffin or cheesecake, that’s probably the least of the many ways you should consider. Not only do these foods contain very little blueberries. Also, the abundant nutrients found in fresh blueberries will have been reduced or totally depleted by the time you get your freshly toasted or reheated blueberry muffin.

Instead, try one of the many ways of making blueberries an exciting part of your diet. Do your best to go for the natural and organic blueberries instead of those processed, artificial and full of sugar jellies, jams, juices or even pies.

As a matter of fact, there are refreshing ways of making blueberries a part of every meal, be it breakfast, lunch, dinner or dessert. You can prepare blueberry break pudding or apple blueberry crisp for your family during weekends. Or serve blueberry rice and bean salad, grilled fish with blueberry chutney on family dinners. You can even make blueberry brownies or blueberry cheesecake of your own! For these delectable recipes, you can buy freshly picked blueberries, freeze-dried blueberries, or natural blueberry extracts.

There are limitless ways to include blueberries in your diet. Whatever your choice is, you have to remember three things: first, make sure that the blueberries you’re getting are not laden with preservatives; next, learn how to experiment on making blueberry dishes so you won’t ever get fed up of eating the same blueberry recipe over and over again; finally, keep in mind that what sets blueberries apart from other supplements that are just as rich in nutrients is its sweet, adorable taste!

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