Blueberries: Nature’s Powerhouse
Small but mighty. These little, blue, berries should be a regular addition to your diet.
Not all fruits are created equal [ref]Changes in Intake of Fruits and Vegetables and Weight Change in United States Men and Women Followed for Up to 24 Years: Analysis from Three Prospective Cohort Studies. PLoS Med 12(9).[/ref] when it comes to weight loss. Berries in general tend to be the leader for vitamin and fiber content [ref]USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Release 28: Blueberries, raw.[/ref]. Here, we will focus on the benefits of one specific berry found in so many recipes, the blueberry.
Lightly sweet, tart and juicy, these berries are one of the tastiest foods you can eat on your journey to better health. Blueberries top the charts when it comes to antioxidants and are full of vitamins, minerals and fiber. They provide the building blocks for stronger bones, healthy digestion and slow the signs of aging.
Blueberries keep you satisfied and help you lose weight
Blueberries are full of insoluble fiber which assists in digestion and helps to move food through the intestines. Not the most glamorous job – but oh so important. The fiber also helps you feel full longer which keeps you from eating unnecessary calories, like when you binge eat a bag of potato chips. One cup of blueberries has only 84 calories and is made up of 85% water.
Look younger, longer
Blueberries are packed with vitamins and antioxidants. They contain vitamin C, potassium, vitamin K and manganese. The antioxidants, namely Anthocyanin which is responsible for their deep blue color, helps to prevent the signs of aging. They also minimize age spots, wrinkles, osteoporosis, and cognitive diseases such as dementia and Alzheimer’s.
Oxidative stress, or the imbalance between the production of free radicals and the body’s ability to counteract their toxic effects through neutralization by antioxidants, will accelerate aging of the brain. The antioxidants in blueberries will help improve the signals of aging neurons in the brain. This will keep you sharp and can help delay age-related decline.
Blueberries help prevent osteoporosis
Bone health is important at any age. As we get older, our bones lose strength and become brittle, what we eat can combat this.
Polyphenols from blueberries help with improved bone health. A study by The Journal of Bone and Mineral Research 2010 fed rats food with a 10% freeze-dried blueberry powder. Results showed a 36% higher bone mass than rats that did not receive the blueberry powder. The takeaway – this superfruit can dramatically reduce or prevent osteoporosis and keep your bones strong [ref]Dietary-induced serum phenolic acids promote bone growth via p38 MAPK/β-catenin canonical Wnt signaling.[/ref].
Blueberries are low in sugar
Compared to other fruits, blueberries have a moderate amount of sugar. At 15 grams per cup, it may seem a bit high, but the anthocyanins in blueberries outweigh the negative impact sugar would normally have. Research suggests that anthocyanins have positive effects on insulin sensitivity and glucose metabolism. In fact, eating blueberries or even drinking blueberry juice has been shown to cause improvements in insulin sensitivity. This lowers the risk and effects of type 2 diabetes.
How you can best enjoy this fruit
Available fresh from May to August and frozen year round, you can eat this fruit anytime. It has the same nutritional benefits whether eaten fresh or frozen. Add a handful to oatmeal, pancakes, smoothies, a salad or just eat them plain. If you are an 8fit PRO member, you’ll notice blueberries in many of our breakfasts and post-workout meals. We love blueberries.
Their only drawback? You might get a blue stained tongue or hands from eating so many.