Eating fresh fruits is always advisable to remain healthy and fit. Blueberries, one of the most popular superfoods that have been added to our regular diet is highly rich in anti-oxidants. All types of vitamins and minerals which are essentially needed for maintaining a healthy life ahead are present in blueberries. A handful of blueberries kept at the bowl of your dining table not only look beautiful because of its bright color but also become a nutritious snack for your kids in the evening. Blueberries has certain important effects on our health and thus its growing importance has led many to grow these berries on their own to avoid buying this expensive fruit from the market.
What are the nutrients present in blueberries ?
Blueberries contains high amounts of fiber, vitamins like A, C, E , and beta-carotene, It is especially rich in minerals such as iron, magnesium, phosphorous, and potassium.
Blueberries have high levels of several antioxidants like anthocyanins ,chlorogenic acid , pterostilbene , resveratrol and ellagic acid that retards the production of free radicals. These chemicals possess anti-cancer, anti-aging, anti-inflammatory , anti-viral, and life-prolonging properties .
It is especially rich in Catechins (phytochemical compound) that resists formation of plaque in the arteries and combat production of cancerous tumors.
What are the health benefits of blueberries ?
Minimizes the risk of cancer – The anti-oxidants present in blueberries known as Anthocyanin helps to prevent cancer. Again the plant compounds called pterostilbenes inside blueberries have certain abilities that could stop the cancer cells from becoming larger. At a study conducted by the University of Vermont, it has been shown that when the cancerous cells of a pancreas has been tested against these prerostilbenes, the growth of cancer has been reduced and further died. Again on an animal research project by the Ohio State University, in its January 2009 issue of Antioxidants & Redox, it has been revealed that eating blueberries regularly could shrink the size of tumors.
Enhances the immune capacity – Essential nutrients like manganese, Vitamin-A, Vitamin B-Complex, copper, selenium, zinc and iron present in blueberries keeps your immune system at the highest level. So eating blueberries prevents one from being attacked by regular could & cold and any other virus diseases.
Reduces the risk of heart ailments – Consuming blueberries everyday could reduce your belly fat and prevent certain heart problems. Controlling tyglycerides and cholesterol which are important from causing heart attack are reduced by the essential nutrients of blueberries. Low fat and low sugar content of the nutrients in blueberries thus prevents heart diseases. A study experimented on rats and published in the June 2009 issue of PLos has shown that including blueberries in the regular diet could control the risk of heart attack, minimizes inflammation within heart and also prevents heart failure.
Improves skin disorders – The major damage that happens to skin is because of the ultra violet rays of the Sun. Once the skin gets damaged premature aging and wrinkles are obvious and thus the collagen in the skin gets destroyed. But the anthocyanin present in blueberries could protect your skin from getting damaged. A nutrition institute in Korea has found that when the extract of edible blueberries is rubbed to the skin, the collagen of the skin stops from being damaged. They are also good relievers to cure eczema and acne.
Improves the function of brain – Plant pigments of blueberries called anthocyanins help to improve diseases like memory loss, inability to control emotions etc which mainly happen due to aging. A study performed by the University of Cincinnati Academic Health Center in Cincinnati has shown that consuming blueberry juice continuously for 12 weeks could enhance your memory.
The list of health benefits by consuming blueberries is endless. Starting from cardiovascular health, improvement in urinary tract infections, enhancing the vision of eye and many more, blueberries must be included in your diet to improve and reducing the several health problems.
What are the side-effects of blueberries ?
Studies have shown that blueberries have high concentration of oxalates. If consumed in raw state, oxalates crystallize and can cause serious gallbladder or kidney problems.
Oxalates in blueberries also reduces the absorption of calcium into the blood system. One must eat blueberries and calcium-rich foods separately. There must be a gap of atleast 2-3 hours.
What are the different ways to eat blueberries ?
Blueberries are sweet, juicy and full of nutritional goodness. Fresh blueberries are available during late summer and the frozen varieties can be consumed throughout the year . Here are some of the ways to enjoy ripe blueberries :
As plain refreshing snack during the summer afternoons.
As a light dessert with whipped cream or thick yogurt.
As freshly-made jelly or marmalade accompanied with bread or tortillas.
As a pie fillings
Can blueberries cure cancer?
A new study conducted at the University of Illinois has shown that the sterol compounds present in wild blueberries has the power to slow down cancer in the initiation stage and anthocyanin pigments stop cancerous growth in the promotion and critical proliferation stages. However, eating expensive berry pills proved to be highly ineffective in cancer and urinary tract infection prevention.