benefits of blueberries

The 9 Amazing Health Benefits of Blueberries

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You can’t imagine how many benefits this tiny fruit has. For me, I’m a big fan of all types of berries but when it comes to blueberries I highly recommend them for many reasons. They have a great effect on, mostly, all of your body systems; we will discuss all its effects respectively on the body systems.

Nutrients Found in Blueberries

Nutrients Found in Blueberries

Blueberries as a Source of Antioxidants

To understand how important antioxidants are, we need to explain the whole process of oxidation and the antagonizing effect of antioxidant.

What are Oxidants? 

Oxidants are the free radicals which are either environmental like cigarette smoke, air pollution or naturally produced in our bodies after viral or bacterial infections. These oxidants lead to changes in the cell chemistry and changes in the DNA sequence by mutation or destruction, those changes are manifested in the form of cancer, cardiovascular diseases and aging also is considered as a result of a long-term effect of consistent exposure to oxidation process and free radicals formation [2]. So, I’m sure that you agree with me that antioxidant consumption is a must.

Then, What Are the Antioxidants Found in Blueberries?

Blueberries are rich in phyto derivatives, such as flavonoids and phenolic acid, these compounds play a huge role as antioxidants and anti-inflammatory, and it is proved that blueberries contain the highest level of antioxidants in comparison to strawberries, cranberries, plums or others.[3]

Blueberries and metabolism

Blueberries and metabolism

We are about to mention the effect of blueberries on 2 of the most common disease that blueberries can protect you from.

Effect of Blueberries on Obesity

Who doesn't want to stay fit and in shape on the cost of doing something simple and as entertaining as eating blueberries?
An interesting study was conducted in 2013, Researchers divided mice of four weeks old, fed with high-fat diet into two groups, one of them were fed with blueberry and mulberry juice, and the second not.

Results proved that mice fed with the high-fat diet without blueberry and mulberry juice showed an increase in their body weight, a resistance of insulin, high serum and hepatic lipids in comparison to mice of the first group which showed inhibition in body weight gain, decreased serum cholesterol, decreased insulin resistance and reduced secretion of leptin[4].

(leptin is a hormone which is responsible for energy consumption and feel of satisfaction).

Effect of Blueberries on Diabetes Mellitus

Flavonoids are compounds that are found in a large amount in blueberries.

A follow-up study was published in 2012, was aiming to determine whether dietary flavonoid intake contribute to lower the risk of type 2Diabetes Mellitus or not.

Researchers followed up 3,645,585 persons for years and results showed that there is a strong association between the percentage of flavonoids found in diet and type 2 diabetes mellitus, people who consumed more flavonoids especially anthocyanin were less likely to develop type 2 diabetes mellitus than those who don’t [5].

We need to understand glucose metabolism (burning sown by body cells) in order to understand this effect. When you eat something glucose enter your blood, this directly alert the sleeping monster in the pancreas that we are going to call beta cells to secrete insulin, insulin call the bus for the glucose to enter the cells, which is "GLUT 4".

Blueberries increase the gene expression of GLUT4, decreased insulin resistance and decreased gluconeogenesis.

Benefits of Blueberries for Skin

How can Blueberries help your Skin?

It seems to be a great challenge to have a pure, glowing and healthy skin because our skin is exposed to all sorts of damaging agents like UV rays, pollution and, sorry girls, has to say it, makeup. We can counteract these harmful agents by vitamins. Blueberries are rich in vitamin A and vitamin C. [6]

But how these Vitamins help your Skin?

Vitamin A

Vitamin A is an antioxidant, and it plays a big role in slowing skin senility, protecting your skin from inflammatory skin reactions caused by harmful sun rays.

Vitamin A is responsible for cellular growth so it will protect your skin from getting dry or cracked. The largest organ in the body is skin, so it is a must to protect this widely exposed organ against any microorganism, you can achieve that by consuming vitamin A too as it strengthens the immunity of your skin [7].

Vitamin C

Vitamin C reduces the damaging effect of ultraviolet rays on your skin, but ultraviolet rays decrease the amount of vitamin C in your skin, so you need to increase your dietary intake of vitamin C for sufficient protection.

In addition, some rodent studies claim that dietary intake of vitamin C contributes to lowering the risk of skin cancers caused by prolonged exposure to ultraviolet rays.

Vitamin C is also the main regulator of collagen production in the skin, which repairs the unhealthy skin and support the outermost layer of skin, called the epidermis, meaning that vitamin C protects your skin from wrinkling and aging [8].

Blueberries for a Soft and Shiny Hair 

Blueberries can be applied topically or you can just eat it and in both ways, it will help your hair. Blueberries make hair grow faster due to its rich antioxidants, vitamins and minerals content its antioxidant and vitamins contents; Blueberries also delay the hair follicles aging, therefore, delay the appearance of grey hair.

Blueberries enhance the blood circulation and blood flow to the scalp.

Blueberries for a Soft and Shiny Hair

Health Benefits of Blueberries for pregnant women

Mother's and baby's nutrition during pregnancy is one of the top priorities of any gynecologist during the pregnancy period.

Do you want to know why blueberries are important for you and your baby? Read the answer below.

Immunity Booster

Some infections that the mother catches may lead to serious malformation [9] in the babies like toxoplasmosis, cytomegalovirus, rubella virus, herpes virus and other infections. Those infections lead to a wide variety of malformations like cleft palate, hydrocephalus, skeletal malformations and mental retardation.

This is very serious, consuming blueberries boosters the mother’s immune system and helps in fighting the infections, as blueberries are rich in vitamin C.

Protect against Stress Oxidation 

The fluctuation of hormonal levels in the blood of pregnant women lead to stress oxidation and formation of free radicals, blueberries contain powerful antioxidants which antagonize this effect.

Decrease Pregnancy Constipation

As the uterus of the pregnant women grew bigger, it presses on the surrounding structures including the intestine, leading to interference with bowel movement and some constipation, blueberries contain a large amount of water and fibers giving it some laxative properties.

If you suffer from constipation during pregnancy, I definitely recommend it to you and don't worry it won't lead to weight gain, if consumed reasonably.

Benefits of Blueberries for your Baby 

  • Blueberries can help in keeping healthy bone of your baby due to its high calcium content.
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    Can lower the risk of premature labor.
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    It is magnificent that blueberries can limit gaining weight and mother, and – in the same time- protect your baby from the low birth weight.
Benefits of Blueberries for Eyes

Blueberries and vision

Rhodopsin Regeneration

In a study conducted in 2003, researchers discovered that blueberries can increase rhodopsin regeneration due to its high vitamin A content, as Vitamin A is the precursor of rhodopsin [10].
(Rhodopsin is a photoreceptor responsible for night vision).

Protect Retinal Cells

Another study is conducted in 2008 proved that blueberries help in protecting the retinal cells from toxicity or harmful inflammatory reactions by decreasing destruction by oxidative stress [11].

Protection against Vision Loss

Also vitamin C –found in blueberries- reduces the intraocular pressure so it can protect you from the second common cause of blindness "glaucoma".

Blueberries also contain zinc which can provide a protection from eye aging and night blindness [12].

Benefits of Blueberries for Gastrointestinal Tract

Processed food, food rich in fat and low-quality food cause irritation of the intestinal mucosa and disturbance of the bowel movement.

 Researchers discovered that blueberries intake decreases the bacterial overgrowth and the inflammatory reactions in the colon, which means that it can be useful for people suffering from colitis [13].

Effect of Blueberries on Brain Performance and Function

Effect of Blueberries on Brain Performance and Function

Enhance Cognitive Functions

Well, what are the cognitive functions in the first place?

It is the process of understanding the world, communicating with people, making memories and feeling all kinds of feeling.

 As we grow older our brains tend to become less capable of learning new information. By the age of 40, genes that are associated with learning and neuroplasticity tend to shut down. And by the time we reach the age of 65 or older, the chemicals in our brain begin to have dramatic changes, such as decreases in serotonin, dopamine, and glutamate, all which are important for healthy brain functioning. The grey matter in our brains also gets thinner.

As a result of these physical and chemical changes in our brains, many people experience age-related declines in cognitive ability. In addition, individuals 65 and older have a one in 8 chance of developing age-related dementia, such as Alzheimer’s disease, which severely inhibits our ability to think rationally, solve problems, learn new things, and form memories.

Researchers proved that one of the ways to protect our brains against aging processes is to add phytochemicals antioxidant-rich foods to our diets [14]. Blueberries are rich in various types of phytochemicals such as flavonoids.

Cardioprotective Effect of Blueberries

Protect Blood Vessels from Oxidation

In a human study conducted in 2013, researchers found that the consumption of wild blueberry drink for 6 weeks significantly decreases oxidative stress, inflammation, and endothelial dysfunction in humans with cardiovascular risk factors, which means that it can maintain healthy blood vessels and good circulation [15].

Lower Cholesterol

Also, blueberries can help in lowering the level of LDL, protecting the body from hypercholesterolemia and protecting the heart from the ischemic and clotting effects of cholesterol [16].

Anti-ischemic effect

Eating blueberry protects the heart against ischemic damage and lowers the risk of development of myocardial infarction and chronic heart failure.[17]

Blueberries for a Lower Blood Pressure

If you are a hypertensive patient, I guess it is a good idea to try adding blueberries to your diet.

The key to treat the patient from hypertension is to restrict sodium intake. Fortunately, blueberries contain a very low percentage of sodium.

Instead, blueberry has a big amount of potassium in addition to magnesium. These elements are vasodilators which improve the blood flow and lower your blood pressure.

Possible Side Effects of Blueberries

However, it is perfectly safe to consume blueberries in moderation, some side effects may happen, so, you might want to take the information discussed below in consideration before consuming blueberries.

  • Blueberries may lead to mild gastric disturbance when eaten in a large amount.
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    Salicylates hypersensitivity, this type of hypersensitivity represents itself by rash, itchy skin, nausea, and vomiting. Salicylate is found naturally in blueberries if you have a salicylate allergy; it’s not advisable to eat blueberries. Increase risk of bleeding due to the presence of vitamin K in their contents.
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    Hypoglycemia from blueberries leaves, this may interact with diabetes medication, and you may want to consult with your doctor about the allowed dose.

These events mostly happen with eating a large number of blueberries.

The Bottom Line

Blueberries are rich in antioxidants, they also contain several vitamins and minerals, these contents play a direct role in their benefits. The most benefits are protecting from oxidative stress, hypertension, and cardiovascular diseases, and delay the aging process, the deterioration of cognitive function and preserve normal functioning eyes.

 In addition to their role in metabolism, protection against obesity and diabetes. It is important to add them to your diet.

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Madison Taylor

Based in upstate New York, Madison is a devoted foodie and spends some of her time developing new re...

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