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 You Need to know about blueberries
Blueberry is a flowering plant, a type of fruits blue or purple in colour. It gets its pigmentation from flavonoids, the 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 and cultivated 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.
According to research 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 good for health. Blueberries are thought to be rich in anthocyanins compared to other berries.
Anthocyanins are believed to have antioxidant effects, which fight off free radicals. They are found in most plant based foods, like berries, among other plant foods.
The dark pigment in berries is attributable to anthocyanins.
There are varieties of berries that are nutritious as well
Most plant food sources are thought to be very nutritious and packed with minerals, fibre and pant chemicals such as anthocyanins, phenolic acid and carotenoids. These compounds are believed to be good for health, according to research.
Blueberries may not be your favourite fruit or may be out if season , well there are different varieties of berries you can choose from, such as :
“Strawberries and Raspberries are not really classified as berries” as opposed to popular believe. You’ll be suprised to learn that “tomatoes, bananas, are true berries in botanical sense” Unbelievable right !
It Has Been Found That Eating blueberries may boost your body with essential nutrients
Although blueberries are perceived as “superfoods” It helps to diversify your diet, this way your your body can get all the butrients needed.
Antioxidants in blueberries are believed to boost immunity and prevent oxidative stress.
Blueberries have low fat content and are low in calories as well. They are thought to be as essential for a healthy diet and contribute to heart health according to researched studies.
Blueberries are packed with vitamin C and other micronutrients like fiber. Fiber is good for health as it keeps us regular. It is also involved in the following roles :
- Fibre prevents plaque from building up in the arteries and lowers the cholesterol levels (LDL)
- controls blood sugar levels.
- Helps in weight management
- Aid the digestive process.
Blueberries contain other nutrients such as potassium, vitamin k and the like. Berries are rich in glucose and fructose.
The health benefits of consuming blueberries
According to research blueberries have a number of health benefits due to anthocyanin content in them and the antioxidant blueberries exhibit.
Compared with other berries, blueberries are thought to have high content of anthocyanins. Blueberries are believed to have the health benefits listed below:
- Prevention of inflammation disorder : the blueberries have the anti-inflammatory effect due to the bioactive compounds they contain.
- Reduced risk of blood pressure : According to Sciencedaily, A study discovered that “eating 200g of blueberries every day for a month can lead to the improvement in the blood vessels function and decrease in systolic blood pressure in healthy people”.
- Lower the risk of heart disease: the anthocyanins present in the blueberries are thought to be associated with potential heart benefit due to their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects
- Reduced risk of cancer: blueberries with their antioxidants and inflammatory properties are thought to be anti-cancer and are associated with the reduced reduced risk of cancer.
- Reduced risk of cognitive decline in the 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 older people owing to the abundance of anthocyanins available in the blueberries.
- Beneficial to eye health: due to the high amount of anthocyanins blueberries possess, they benefit eye health thus contributing to cataract and macular degeneration. Eating blueberries daily is recommended as it’s thought “to support eye health and improve vision and strengthens the blood vessels in the back of the eye”.
- Reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes: The study indicates 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 daily will create a conducive condition for 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 a deficiency 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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