Blueberries hold a superstar status among various types of berries. They are favorite berry fruit among North Americans as most species are cultivated in this part of the continent, and in fact they are native to North America. The natives ate this fruit since centuries, but they have been in limelight recently because of the discovery of several health promoting properties they posses.
Nutritional Value Of Blueberries
Most of the research encircles around the phytonutrients present in blueberries. Anthocyanins need a special mention. This phytonutrient is responsible for giving astounding color to blueberries. Anthocyanins are antioxidants that protect the body from harmful free radicals which are main culprits for causing several diseases. The fruit berry is 5 to 16 millimeter in diameter; in the beginning it is green but gradually the color changes to reddish purple and finally blue when they are ripe.
Many berries are sour to eat in their raw form; they have to be cooked with sugar to make them palatable, but blueberries are naturally sweet and can be eaten raw. Thus it has maximum amount of vitamin C preserved in it. Blueberries are sold as fresh fruits or processed as puree and juices. Blueberries impart many health benefits. The phytochemicals present in blueberries has great role to play in reducing the risk of diseases. It is because of their antioxidant and anti inflammatory properties.
Health Benefits Of Eating Blueberries
- Gastrointestinal problems: Traditionally, dried blueberries were used to cure diarrhea and food poisoning. The scientific research has proved that it contains anthocyanins which act like antibacterial agent against some form of E. coli, the leading cause of many gastrointestinal problems including diarrhea.
- It reduces the risk of urinary tract infections. The berries inhibit the growth of bacteria such as E. coli, which have the tendency to spread to whole urinary system from the bladder. They are valuable against recurrent urinary tract infection such as cystitis (bladder infection). Similar to cranberries, blueberries possesses a substance which prevents bacteria to cling to mucus membrane of bladder and urethra.
- It eases bowel movement. A cup of blueberries contain four to five grams of fibers. The soluble fibers present in berries can absorb more water than its own weight. Thus it draws the fluid from intestine and facilitates easy bowel movement. Eating blueberries helps to avoid constipation.
- Heart health: One of the important advantages of eating blueberries is to protect heart, especially from heart attacks. Anthocyanins present in blueberries help to prevent plaque formation in the coronary arteries which is the main reason for heart attacks.
Anti Aging Benefits Of Blueberries
- Eye health: The anthocyanosides present in blueberries has remarkable effect in reducing age related macular degeneration. It is considered to be a main cause for vision loss in old age. The presence of vitamins and carotenoids can help to delay the development of cataract and many other eye problems. Research also suggests that anthocyanosides in the berries could improve symptoms of tired eyes.
- Anti aging: Antioxidants present in blueberries helps to reduce the damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals are considered responsible for accelerating the aging process. Thus by consuming antioxidants present in blueberries, it is possible to delay the aging process. Vitamin C present in blueberries also helps to maintain healthy collagen content which is vital for maintaining skin elasticity and prevent wrinkles.
- Preventing brain deterioration: Research suggests that anthocyanosides found in blueberries can protect against the effects of age related deterioration of brain, including short term memory and Alzheimer’s disease. It keeps activated certain parts of brain which control memory and learning skills.