Blueberries Health Benefits
Blueberries are an excellent source of flavonoids, which can provide us with a wide range of positive benefits including improving your mood. In one recent study, two groups of young people were tested on their mood using the Positive and Negative Affect Schedule. One group was then given a flavonoid-rich blueberry beverage, while the other group had a matched placebo. Two hours later their mood was reassessed. Those who were given the blueberry drink had an increased positive affect, compared to those who had the placebo.
Sweet, juicy blueberries are rich in natural pro-anthocyanin pigment antioxidants. These tiny, round blue-purple berries have long been attributed to the longevity and wellness of indigenous people living around subarctic regions in the Northern hemisphere.
Health benefits of blueberries
Blueberries are extremely rich in phytochemicals, naturally occurring plant compounds, such as ellagic acid and anthocyanidins which are responsible for the blue, indigo and red colouring. Phytochemicals have been extensively researched for their antioxidant action that helps protect the body against a long list of diseases. Research has shown that anthocyanidins are highly active phytonutrients transported in the bloodstream where they act on blood vessels and collagen to reinforce and preserve it. They support blood vessel integrity around the body, not only the collagen in skin. This action has linked anthocyanidins to a reduction in cardiovascular disease (by protecting the vessels around the heart).
Another popular use of blueberries is related to vision and protecting against age-related macular degeneration. Legend suggests that during World War Two, British Air Force aviators ate bilberry jam daily to improve their night vision…
Additionally, they compose of other flavonoid antioxidants such as carotene-ß, lutein, and zeaxanthin.
Altogether, the phytochemical compounds in the blueberry help rid off harmful oxygen-derived free radicals from the human body, and thereby, protect it against cancers, aging, degenerative diseases, and infections.
Further, research studies suggest that chlorogenic acid in these berries help lower blood sugar levels and control blood-glucose levels in type-II diabetes mellitus condition.
Fresh berries carry small amount of vitamin-C, vitamin-A, and vitamin-E. Altogether, these vitamins work as potent antioxidants which help limit free radical mediated injury to the body.
The berries also carry a small amount of B-complex group of vitamins such as niacin, pyridoxine, folates, and pantothenic acid. These vitamins are acting as co-factors that help in the metabolism of carbohydrates, protein, and fats.
Furthermore, they contain a good amount of minerals like potassium, manganese, copper, iron and zinc. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that helps controlling heart rate and blood pressure. Manganese used by the body as a co-factor for the antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase. Copper required for the production of red blood cells. Iron required for red blood cell formation.
What about Alaska Wild Berries?
According US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, The Alaska wild berries collected and tested in the first experiment ranged from 3 to 5 times higher in ORAC value than cultivated berries from the lower 48 states. For instance, cultivated blueberries have an ORAC scale of 30. Alaska wild dwarf blueberries measure 85. This is also higher than lower 48 wild blueberries, which had a score of 61. All of the Alaskan berries tested have a level of antioxidant considered nutritionally valuable, ranging from 19 for watermelon berries to 206 for lingonberries on the ORAC scale. With the processed products made from 4 Alaska wild berries, one of the unexpected outcomes of the research was that the berries continued to have levels of antioxidants considered high, despite the effects of commonly used heat-processing techniques. When berries were dehydrated, per gram ORAC values increased.
Alaska wild berries have extraordinarily high antioxidant levels. Though cooking lowered the antioxidant level, and adding ingredients such as sugar diluted the antioxidant concentration, products made from berries are high sources of antioxidants.
Did you know?
Drinking concentrated blueberry juice improves brain function in older people, according to research by the University of Exeter.
In the study, healthy people aged 65-77 who drank concentrated blueberry juice every day showed improvements in cognitive function, blood flow to the brain and activation of the brain while carrying out cognitive tests. There was also evidence suggesting improvement in working memory.
Blueberries are rich in flavonoids, which possess antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
Dr Joanna Bowtell, head of Sport and Health Sciences at the University of Exeter, said: “Our cognitive function tends to decline as we get older, but previous research has shown that cognitive function is better preserved in healthy older adults with a diet rich in plant-based foods.
“In this study we have shown that with just 12 weeks of consuming 30ml of concentrated blueberry juice every day, brain blood flow, brain activation and some aspects of working memory were improved in this group of healthy older adults.”
Kerry Torrens, Jo Lewin (2018) The health benefits of blueberries, BBCgoodfood.
Univercity of Exeter (2017) Blueberry concentrate improves brain function in older people, Exeter.ac.uk
Roxie Rodgers, Dinstel, Julie Cascio, and Sonja Koukel (2013) The antioxidant level of Alaska’s wild berries: high, higher and highest, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3751288/
Kyani Science, science.kyani.com
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