Blueberries are a superfood that can provide significant health benefits. They are packed with nutrients, such as fiber, vitamin C and manganese. Blueberries also contain special antioxidants that can ward off disease.
The little fruit is known to promote heart health, protect against cancer, improve memory and provide many more health benefits.
This article discusses the benefits of eating blueberries, nutritional information, and how to incorporate more of them into your diet.
What actually is a superfood?
Although not a scientific, regulated term, “superfood” generally describes foods that are rich in nutrients and provide health benefits such as disease prevention.
Benefits wrapped in blueberries
Blueberries contain compounds that can improve your health and prevent some common diseases.
Blueberries and Flavonoids
Blueberries get their bright color from flavonoids, special plant compounds that provide many health benefits.
Improve heart health
Blueberries contain a type of flavonoid anthocyaninswhich can protect your heart. One study found that women who ate anthocyanin-rich foods such as blueberries and strawberries three or more times a week reduced their risk of heart attack by 32%.
The fiber content in blueberries may also provide heart benefits. Studies have shown that high dietary fiber intake can reduce the incidence and mortality rates from heart disease.
Blueberries have one of the highest concentrations of disease-fighting antioxidants, which may protect against cancer. Some studies have shown that blueberry extract may help sensitize cancer cells to the effects of radiation. The antioxidants in blueberries may also reduce abnormal cell growth that fuels cancer.
Eating blueberries can help improve your memory recovery. Researchers believe that the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects of the fruit are responsible for boosting brain health. One study found that adding at least one serving of blueberries per week to one’s diet slowed cognitive decline in older women by 2.5 years.
Help gut health
The high fiber content in blueberries can improve your digestion. Additionally, the berries are rich in compounds that act as prebiotics, which promote healthy bacteria in the intestines.
Eating blueberries can support your eye health. Anthocyanins in the fruit have protective properties that can protect your vision. They can also help slow vision loss in eye conditions such as macular degeneration and retinitis pigmentosa.
Improve the skin
The vitamin C in blueberries can support collagen formation in the skin and prevent skin damage from the sun. Just 1 cup of blueberries contains 24% of your daily intake of vitamin C.
Aids in muscle recovery
Some research shows that blueberry supplements may reduce pain after physical activity. One study found that athletes who drank blueberry smoothies before and after their workout experienced accelerated muscle recovery.
Help control diabetes
Blueberries contain a lot of fiber and less sugar than other fruits. This combination helps prevent your blood sugar levels from rising. Some research suggests that adding blueberries to your diet may lower your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Blueberries are packed with vitamins and minerals that help maintain bone strength. These include calcium, magnesium, vitamin K, iron, phosphorus, zinc and manganese.
How Many Blueberries Should You Eat Per Day?
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommends that most adults eat about 2 cups of fruit daily, including blueberries. Consuming too much of anything can make you feel sick, so it’s a good idea not to overdo it.
Single Blueberry Serving: Nutrition Facts
One cup of blueberries contains the following:
- Calories: 84.4
- Fiber: 3.55 grams (g)
- Carbohydrates: 21.5 gr
- Sugar: 14.7 grams
- Vitamin C: 14.4 milligrams (mg)
- Calcium: 8.88 mg
- Iron: 0.414 mg
- Magnesium: 8.88 mg
- Phosphorus: 17.8 mg
- Manganese: 0.497 mg
- Vitamin K: 28.6 micrograms (mcg)
How do blueberries compare to other berries?
Berries generally have a good nutritional profile. Although blueberries may contain more of a certain nutrient, other berries may provide other benefits.
Sugar in blueberries
One cup of raw blueberries contains about 15 grams of sugar. Although this is a modest amount of sugar, it is important to remember that blueberries contain natural sugars. They are better for you than refined sugars that are often found in processed foods. Additionally, research has shown that the fruit can have positive health effects for people with diabetes.
Blueberries are also low FODMAP (fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols) food, which means that even if they contain sugar, they should not cause intestinal complaints.
How to buy blueberries
When buying fresh blueberries, look for plump, deep blue with a light gray dust layer on the surface. Blueberries with a red tint are underripe.
Shouldn’t someone eat blueberries?
People who are allergic to blueberries should avoid the fruit. Because they are high in fiber, eating too much can also cause intestinal problems in some people.
Nutrient-rich Blueberry Ideas
Blueberries are easy to use in snacks and meals. You can add them to:
It’s even better to add them to a salad with several fruits or vegetables. You’ll enjoy the health benefits of blueberries and the nutrients these other foods provide.
Blueberries are a delicious fruit that offers several health benefits, including improving heart health, improving memory, preventing cancer, improving gut health and more. Including it in your diet can provide protection against disease. But blueberries alone don’t make you healthy. A balanced diet and regular exercise are the best ways to ensure overall well-being.