Blueberries are sweet, nutritious and wildly popular. Often labeled a superfood, they are low in calories and incredibly good for you. They’re so tasty and convenient that many people consider them their favorite fruit. Here are a few proven health benefits of blueberries.
Blueberries Are Low in Calories But High in Nutrients
The blueberry bush (Vaccinium sect. Cyanococcus) is a flowering shrub that produces berries with a bluish, purple hue — also known as blueberries. It is closely related to similar shrubs, such as those that produce cranberries and huckleberries. Blueberries are small — around 0.2–0.6 inches (5–16 millimeters) in diameter — and feature a flared crown at the end. They are green in color when they first appear, then deepen to purple and blue as they ripen.
The two most common types are:
- Highbush blueberries: The most common cultivated variety in the US.
- Lowbush or “wild” blueberries: Typically smaller and richer in some antioxidants.
Blueberries are among the most nutrient-dense berries. A 1-cup (148-gram) serving of blueberries contains:
- Fiber: 4 grams
- Vitamin C: 24% of the RDI
- Vitamin K: 36% of the RDI
- Manganese: 25% of the RDI
- Small amounts of various other nutrients
They are also about 85% water, and an entire cup contains only 84 calories, with 15 grams of carbohydrates. Calorie for calorie, this makes them an excellent source of several important nutrients.
Blueberries are the King of Antioxidant Foods
Antioxidants protect your body from free radicals, which are unstable molecules that can damage your cells and contribute to aging and diseases, such as cancer. Blueberries are believed to have one of the highest antioxidant levels of all common fruits and vegetables. The main antioxidant compounds in blueberries belong to a family of polyphenols antioxidants called flavonoids.
Blueberries Reduce DNA Damage, Which May Help Protect Against Aging and Cancer
Oxidative DNA damage is an unavoidable part of everyday life. It is said to occur tens of thousands of times per day in every cell in your body. DNA damage is part of the reason we grow older. It also plays an important role in the development of diseases like cancer Because blueberries are high in antioxidants, they can neutralize some of the free radicals that damage your DNA.
Blueberries Protect Cholesterol in Your Blood From Becoming Damaged
Oxidative damage is not limited to your cells and DNA. It is also problematic when your “bad” LDL cholesterol is oxidized. In fact, oxidation of “bad” LDL cholesterol is a crucial step in the heart disease process. The antioxidants in blueberries are strongly linked to reduced levels of oxidized LDL. This makes blueberries very good for your heart.
Blueberries May Lower Blood Pressure
Blueberries appear to have significant benefits for people with high blood pressure, which is a major risk factor for heart disease. Regular blueberry intake is tied to lower blood pressure in numerous studies.
These are some amazing health benefits of blueberries, which makes them an excellent food option.