Blueberries are touted as “superfoods” is there some truth to this or is this merely a marketing hype?
Eating vegetables and fruits have always been recommended by experts as part of a healthy balanced diet, mainly because they are whole foods.
Plant based foods such as legumes, nuts, vegetables and fruits are rich in vitamins and minerals including phytochemicals which have antioxidant properties.
Blueberries are one of the plant based foods which are thought to be very nutritious and have gained popularity in the recent years and of course they have been consumed for many years across different cultures and traditions.
Blueberries can be consumed fresh or frozen. They can also be dried and added to different recipes, i.e, baking food items, desserts etc. They can also be processed to produce beverages
Let’s find out in more details why this fruit is gaining so much popularity.
What to know about blueberries
Blueberry is a flowering plant, a type of fruits bluish or purple in colour due to flavonoids called anthocyanins present in them.
It can be sweet or tart in taste, tart because it was harvested too soon before it fully ripens. Blueberries are from a family of genus vaccinium along with cranberries, bilberries and the like and are found in their peak in summer because that’s when they are harvested.
Blueberries come in varieties of both wild ( low bush) and cultivated (high bush) blueberries and are native to North America. Although they are grown worldwide, USA is said to be the largest producer of blueberries followed by Canada and Chile taking the third place.
The leaves of blueberries can be processed to produce tea and can also be used for medicinal purpose like for instance dietary supplements and so forth.
Blueberries are versatile and very tasty and can be incorporated in different dishes, including your cereals, desserts, salads and confectionery food items.
They contain dietary fibre and essential nutrients which are beneficial to good health. The anthocyanins in blueberries are highly concentrated compared to other berries.
Anthocyanins is a naturally occurring plant compound present in most plant foods and are packed with antioxidants properties which boost immunity by eliminating free radicals in your body.
The dark pigment in plant foods is attributable to anthocyanins.
There are varieties of berries that are nutritious as well
Most plant based foods are very nutritious and are packed with minerals, dietary fibre and phytochemicals such as anthocyanins, phenolic acid and carotenoids which contain properties that are thought to be beneficial to health.
Blueberries may not be your favourite fruit, and there are different varieties of berries you can choose from, they include :
Strawberries and Raspberries are not really classified as berries as opposed to popular believe. “You’ll be amazed to learn that tomatoes, bananas, and cucumber are true berries in botanical terms” Unbelievable right !
The consumption of blueberries may boost your body with essential nutrients
Although blueberries are perceived as “superfoods” It helps to diversify your diet, this way your health will not be compromised.
Antioxidants in blueberries have some health benefits and aid immunity by preventing cell damage or oxidative stress.
Blueberries have low fat content and are low in calories as well. They form part of a healthy diet as a result and contribute to heart health according to researched studies.
Blueberries are packed with vitamin c, an immune booster due to the antioxidants present in the nutrient. They are also rich in dietary fibre which forms part of a healthy diet. Some of its benefits include :
- Fibre prevents bad cholesterol from building up in the arteries.
- controls blood sugar levels.
- Helps in weight management
- Aid the digestive process.
Blueberries contain other nutrients such as potassium, vitamin k etc. Berries are rich in sugars such as glucose and fructose.
The health benefits of consuming blueberries
According to researched studies blueberries have a number of health benefits particularly due to the high level of anthocyanins which is present in blueberries and the antioxidant effect it possesses.
Blueberries are thought to contain a highly concentrated anthocyanins compared with other plant foods. The health benefits of blueberries include :
- Prevention of inflammation disorder : the blueberries have the anti-inflammatory effect due to the bioactive compounds they contain.
- Reduced risk of blood pressure : Blueberries contain zero sodium content. Lower sodium intake promotes a healthy blood pressure but eating blueberries without incorporating other foods in your diet will not provide you with the overall health benefits you could get by consuming a variety of foods.
- Lower the risk of heart disease : the anthocyanins present in the blueberries are thought to be associated with the health of the heart due to its antioxidant effect.
- Reduced risk of cancer : blueberries are packed with antioxidants from vitamin c along with the plant compound flavonoids and are associated with the reduced risk of cancer.
- Reduced risk of cognitive decline in elderly: Aging and other factors can affect our cognitive function and studies have found that the daily consumption of blueberries can slow down the cognitive decline in the elderly owing to the abundance of the bioactive compound called anthocyanins available in the blueberries.
- Beneficial to eye health : due to high amount of anthocyanins blueberries possess, they benefit eye health thus contributing to cataract and macular degeneration.
- Reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes : Studies Indicate that consuming blueberries regularly , may help reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes. ” Clinical studies found improvements in insulin resistance and glucose tolerance after blueberry consumption in obese and insulin resistant rodents and humans”
It is recommended that consuming blueberries on a daily basis will create a conducive condition for a good health as they form part of a healthy balanced diet.
Blueberries are very tasty and most people love them. They can be used in different forms, such as to add them as part of your ingredients for smoothies, juicing, etc.
While blueberries are rich in anthocyanins and are associated with a wide range of health benefits, eating them in exclusion of other foods may lead to deficiencies of nutrients which may result in some serious health conditions.
It helps to diversify your diet with foods like vegetables and fruits, among others to have a balanced diet which may lead to good health and longevity.
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