Small berries of rich dark blue color, called the beautiful name “blueberries” not only have excellent taste, but also have many benefits for human body. Many people often prefer the more famous berries, such as blueberries or blackberries, although blueberries are no less impressive berries. Blueberries are rich in antioxidants and nutrients that can improve the health of the most important systems in the human body, namely heart health and brain health. In addition to the fact that blueberries are very healthy, they are also very tasty – they have a sweet aftertaste and at the same time a low amount of calories.
Therefore, many nutritionists and nutritionists believe that this aromatic berry should definitely be in every diet. However, let’s consider the question in more detail. From the article you will learn – what is blueberries, its useful properties and contraindications, how much to eat.
Nutritional value and nutrients in blueberries
Blueberries are a very nutritious berry, which means that it has few calories, but many vitamins and minerals. The blueberry nutrient profile is particularly notable for its high levels of fiber, vitamin K, manganese, and vitamin C.
One cup of raw blueberries (150 grams) contains approximately:
Calories : 84 kcal
Carbohydrates : 21.4 grams.
Protein : 1.1 gr.
Fat : 0.5 gr.
Cellulose : 3.6 gr.
Vitamin K : 28.6 mcg (36%)
Manganese : 0.5 mg (25%)
Vitamin C : 14.4 mg (24%)
Vitamin B6 : 0.1 mg (4%)
Thiamine : 0.1 mg ( 4%)
Riboflavin : 0.1 mg (4%)
Vitamin E : 0.8 mg (4%)
Copper: 0.1 mg (4%)
In addition to the nutrients listed above, blueberries also contain some niacin, vitamin A, folic acid, pantothenic acid, zinc, iron, magnesium and phosphorus. Moreover, blueberries also contain other beneficial compounds, including resveratrol, anthocyanins, phytonutrients and pterostilbene. All these various beneficial compounds in blueberries provide its beneficial properties and in most cases the absence of contraindications.
Health benefits of blueberries
Scientists have proven many useful properties of blueberries, and the almost complete absence of contraindications for its use. Let us dwell on seven, in our opinion, the most significant advantages of blueberries, which have scientific evidence.
Among the beneficial properties of blueberries:
- High content of antioxidants
- Help in the fight against cancer
- Help with losing weight
- Improve brain health
- Anti-inflammatory properties
- Improved digestion
- Promoting heart health
1. High level of antioxidants
Antioxidants are compounds that fight harmful free radicals and provide many health benefits. In fact, antioxidants not only prevent cell damage, but also protect against several types of chronic diseases, including cancer, heart disease, and diabetes.
Blueberries are one of the best sources of antioxidants. One study in China compared the antioxidant capacity of blueberries, blackberries and strawberries and found that blueberries not only have the highest total antioxidant capacity, but also contain more than many specific antioxidants, including phenols, flavonoids and anthocyanins.
Wild blueberries contain especially many antioxidants. A study in the British Journal of Nutrition , for example, found that eating wild blueberry powder increased the level of antioxidants in the blood by 8.5% in an hour.
Other antioxidant-rich foods include dark chocolate, goji berries, pecans, cloves and cinnamon.
2. Helps fight cancer
Recent studies have revealed some impressive findings about the ability of blueberries to protect against certain types of cancer.
For example, in a study conducted in 2010, it was reported that blueberry extract was able to inhibit the growth and spread of breast cancer cells, which makes blueberry extract a potential anticancer drug. Another animal study from the Brown Cancer Center at the University of Louisville treated rats with breast cancer using blueberry powder, and the treatment was found to reduce tumor volume by 40%.
Similarly, a study in 2007 showed that drinking blueberry juice reduced the growth of several types of cancer, including cancer of the stomach, prostate, intestines, and breast cancer.
Although these results are promising, be sure to eat berries along with lots of other fruits and vegetables to really optimize the potential for cancer control thanks to your healthy diet.
3. Blueberries – a great product for weight loss.
Take a look at the profile of nutrients in blueberries, and you will quickly understand why this rich with beneficial compounds berry is great if you want to lose weight quickly. It contains a low amount of calories, but provides a whopping 3.6 grams of fiber per cup, providing up to 14% of your daily dietary fiber requirements in just one serving.
Fiber slowly moves through the digestive tract, increasing saturation and maintaining a feeling of satiety for a longer time to promote weight loss.
Several animal studies have confirmed the positive effect of blueberry on weight loss. For example, an animal study published in the journal PLoS One found that blueberry juice prevents obesity in mice fed foods high in fat. Another animal study conducted by the cardiovascular center and the Michigan Integrative Medicine program showed that blueberry consumption was associated with a decrease in the fat content of the abdomen in obese rats.
Be sure to combine blueberries with a healthy diet in general and physical exertion, so that your weight loss is really effective.
4. Improves brain health
One of the most impressive benefits of a blueberry is its ability to improve brain health. It was organized a lot of research, which said that the use of blueberries can improve memory and cognitive abilities.
In a recent study in 2016, published in the European Journal of Nutrition , involving more than 40 children, eating blueberry juice was found to improve the cognitive properties of the brain compared with placebo. Another study found that eating blueberry juice daily for 12 weeks improved memory of older people.
In addition, blueberries are filled with antioxidants, which can protect the brain from free radical damage and promote healthy aging of the brain.
In addition to blueberries, other brain-promoting foods that can help improve memory and focus include avocados, beets, leafy green vegetables and walnuts.
5. Blueberry has anti-inflammatory properties.
Despite the fact that inflammation is a normal immune response that helps protect the body from diseases and injuries, chronic untreated inflammation underlies most diseases. In fact, inflammation is believed to contribute to a wide range of conditions, including cancer, autoimmune conditions, heart disease, and even depression.
Due to the high content of antioxidants, blueberries have been proven to have a significant anti-inflammatory effect in the body. The 2014 in vitro study showed that the polyphenols found in blueberries helped reduce the activity of several inflammatory markers. Similarly, an animal study published in the Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology also showed that blueberry extract is effective in reducing the swelling of paws in rats.
Celery , broccoli, pineapple, salmon and chia seeds are some other products that also have a strong anti-inflammatory effect. They should also be included in the diet to combat diseases caused by inflammation in the body.
6. Useful for digestion.
With 3.6 grams of fiber in each cup, blueberries are able to satisfy the intestinal requirements for dietary fiber, as well as promote regular bowel emptying and healthy digestion.
When you eat fiber, it moves around the gastrointestinal tract undigested, adding mass to the stool so that the intestines function well. An analysis of five studies published in the World Journal of Gastroenterology showed that increasing fiber intake may help increase stool frequency in patients with constipation.
Eat blueberries along with enough clean water, regular exercise, and include other fiber-rich foods (fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, and seeds) in your diet to keep your digestive system efficient.
7. Promotes heart health
There is no doubt that a healthy heart is a key component of overall health. Your heart is responsible for pumping blood through the body to provide the tissues with the oxygen and nutrients necessary for prosperity and survival.
Unfortunately, ischemic heart disease is one of the leading causes of death, which accounts for an estimated 32% of all deaths in Europe and the USA. High triglycerides, elevated cholesterol and high blood pressure are just some of the major risk factors for heart disease that can cause tension in the heart and make it work harder.
One of the main beneficial properties of blueberries – help in heart health. Studies show that eating blueberries can help reduce certain risk factors for heart disease. For example, a study conducted in 2015 proved that daily consumption of blueberries for eight weeks resulted in a decrease in blood pressure and arterial stiffness in 48 women. In another study published in the Journal of Nutrition, it was reported that adding blueberries resulted in lowering blood pressure and oxidizing LDL cholesterol, the two main risk factors for heart disease, compared with the control group.
Of course, the benefits of blueberry for heart health will be greater if it is combined with a balanced diet, a healthy lifestyle and regular exercise.
Blueberry, blackberry or raspberry – which is better?
There is a huge variety of berries, and almost all of them have beneficial health properties. But still, try to compare the three of them.
Blueberries, blackberries and raspberries – three fairly common berries. They are all small and filled with antioxidants and essential nutrients.
Raspberries and blackberries have the greatest similarity in appearance, since they belong to the same plant family. Both have many single cells that protrude and are located close to each other, which creates a “bumpy” look. But blackberries usually have larger cells and they bulge more than raspberries. Raspberries can also vary in color from dark red to dark purple, similar to blackberry.
However, there are many differences that distinguish these three types of berries. Raspberries and blackberries usually have a tart taste, and blueberries are much sweeter. The lowest calorie berry is a blackberry, it also contains the highest amount of vitamin K. Raspberries contain the most vitamin C and almost 2.5 times more fiber than blueberries. Meanwhile, blueberries, as has been proven, have a higher antioxidant capacity than blackberries.
Because of these small differences in nutrition, the health benefits of blackberries may differ from the benefits of raspberries or blueberries. However, all the berries can be a great addition to your healthy diet. Include raspberries, blackberries and blueberries in your diet and take advantage of the unique health benefits provided by each one.
Find out more about the benefits of raspberries.
Contraindications for eating blueberries
Blueberries are generally considered safe for most people and can be consumed with minimal risk of side effects.
However, some people may be allergic to blueberries. Therefore, if you have any symptoms of allergy to this berry, such as itching, swelling or difficulty breathing after taking blueberries, consult a doctor immediately.
It is not recommended to use a large amount of blueberry for people taking shelter dilution drugs (warfarin, heparin). This is due to the fact that blueberries contain large amounts of vitamin K, which also affects the circulatory system and can interact with these medicines. The use of blueberry in this case is not a contraindication, since its beneficial properties can also improve health. However, it is worth to use blueberries in limited quantities.
It is very important to choose a natural blueberry, better than the one that grew in the wild to avoid infection with pesticides. It is also better to use fresh or frozen blueberries, as dried berries contain much more sugar and less useful vitamins and minerals.
If blueberries are not included in your course of treatment of any disease, then the optimal dose of blueberries is 100-200 grams per day. If you use this berry for medicinal purposes (for example, drink blueberry juice), then follow the instructions of the juice manufacturer, or the instructions of your doctor.
Final Thoughts on the Benefits of Blueberries
So, we learned – what is blueberry, its beneficial properties and contraindications. Summarize:
Blueberries – low-calorie berries, rich in antioxidants, fiber, vitamin K, manganese and vitamin C, as well as many other important trace elements.
Blueberries have many health benefits, including improved heart and brain health, aid in digestion, reducing inflammation, protecting against certain types of cancer, and increasing weight loss.
Choose organic, fresh blueberry and enjoy it to get the greatest reward for the body in terms of nutrition. Blueberries can be added to smoothies, fruit salads, cereals, as stuffing in pastries, to add a touch of sweetness.
In combination with a healthy diet and lifestyle, a daily serving or two blueberries can significantly improve your health.