Superfood Series – Blueberries

Think of superfoods as the foods that help you optimize your body’s energy and well-being. These foods are packed with vitamins and nutrients and when combined with a well-balanced diet and exercise, expect your body to feel and function better than ever.

In this part of the Superfood series – we will discuss blueberries and the health benefits they offer.

Blueberries

A flavonoid called anthocyanin is what gives blueberries their color as well as their powerful antioxidant effects and other health benefits. Here are some of the top health benefits of blueberries.

1. High in Antioxidants

Blueberries are considered to have the highest antioxidant capacity of all commonly consumed fruits and vegetables (1, 2).  Antioxidants are known for preventing cell damage and they also protect against different types of chronic disease including diabetes, heart disease and cancer (3).  Having a high amount of antioxidants means they can help neutralize some of the free radicals that can damage our DNA. DNA damage is part of the reason we grow older and it plays a role in the development of diseases like Cancer. A study found that in a sample of 168 participants, those who consumed blueberries for 4 weeks had oxidative DNA damage due to free radicals reduced by 20% (4,5).

2. Healthy digestion and feeling full

Constipation can be caused by a number of factors, including an insufficient amount of dietary fiber in your daily diet. Without a good source of fiber, there is not enough bulk in your diet to produce stools and retain enough liquid during digestion. Blueberries are a good source of dietary fiber, with 1 cup of blueberries offering as much as 3.6 grams of dietary fiber (6). Dietary fiber is known as being an important factor in weight loss and weight management by acting as a “bulking agent” in the digestive system. Foods high in fiber increase the feeling of being full and reduce appetite.

3. Blueberries may lower blood pressure

Blueberries appear to offer benefits for people with high blood pressure, a major risk factor for some diseases. In one study, obese individuals at a high risk for heart disease saw a 4-6% reduction in blood pressure, after consuming 1.7 ounces of blueberries per day, for eight weeks (7). A similar study done on post-menopausal women had similar results (8).

4. Protection against heart disease

The fiber, vitamin C, vitamin B6, potassium, folate, and phytonutrient content in blueberries supports heart health. Fiber content helps to reduce the total amount of cholesterol in the blood and decrease the risk of heart disease.  Build up of homocysteine can damage blood vessels and lead to heart problems, but the folate and vitamin B6 in blueberries help prevent the build up of homocysteine.  A study on middle aged women found that high anthocyanin (one of the main characteristics of blueberries) can reduce risk of heart attack by 32% (9).

Read the rest of our Superfood Series on avocado, Kale, and Salmon.

Here at A&C Urgent Care, our goal is to provide information for the overall health and longevity of our patients and our community. Preventing disease is as important for us as being there for you when you need medical care. Please visit the rest of our website to familiarize yourself with our services; you never know when you might need urgent care.

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