Superfood Series: Part 6

 

Blueberries can thank their high flavonoid/anthocyanin content which have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects for helping them earn their superfood status.  Blueberries are also low in calories and high in nutrients and water content which make them a good snack choice. Here are 7 more reasons to love blueberries.     

*RDA= Recommended Daily Allowance

1 serving blueberries= 1 cup fresh blueberries

Digestion and Weight LossFiber aids in digestion and one serving of blueberries has 4g of fiber. That’s 14% of the DRA for fiber.  Fiber is not fully digested by the body, so it cleans out the digestive tract as it passes through.  Fiber also helps increase satiety (the feeling of being satisfied), which can aid in weight loss and healthy weight maintenance plans.

Lower Blood Pressure.  Blueberries contain anthocyanins and flavonoids which may contribute to the prevention of high blood pressure.  Anthocyanins have a beneficial effect on blood flow and blood vessels.  One study found that compared to those who did not eat blueberries, those eating at least one serving per week reduced their risk of high blood pressure by 10%.

Metabolism Efficiency.  Back to the anthocyanins.  Some research studies have shown they can prevent growth of fat cells while at the same time, encouraging the release of a hormone that helps reduce inflammation and blood sugar, which can help reverse insulin resistance.  Fresh or frozen blueberries will provide you with the highest amount of anthocyanins per serving.

Lower LDL cholesterol.  Blueberries can help reduce the buildup of LDL (low-density, “bad”) cholesterol which consequently reduces risk for heart disease, stroke, and atherosclerosis.  Normally, dietary cholesterol is reabsorbed by the body as it is digested.  Blueberries impact the digestive process by reducing reabsorption of cholesterol into the body, therefore, aiding in removal of cholesterol via the digestive tract.

Reduced Breast Cancer.  The anthocyanins in blueberries have been shown to prevent or stop cancerous cell growth. The results of one study indicated that mice which were fed blueberry extract had tumors that were 70% smaller and less likely to migrate to other areas of the body than mice that were not given the extract.

Graceful Aging. Due to their flavonoid production, blueberries appear to reduce rates of cognitive decline in older adults.  One study found that participants who drank wild blueberry juice daily for 12 weeks experienced such benefits as improved learning, memory recall, reduced depressive symptoms, and lower glucose levels. This preliminary research supports the idea that blueberries can improve memory in older adults.

Versatility.  Blueberries are eaten fresh or frozen. Raw or baked into your favorite dessert. The frozen ones are great raw or thrown into a smoothie.  They can easily be kept at room temp, which makes them a great option for an on the go snack. Bonus: they are naturally very sweet, so they are a great healthier snack for people trying to reduce their sugar intake (in moderation, of course).

Sources:

http://reedir.arsnet.usda.gov/codesearchwebapp/(2m31cz45hr1lqdv2vl0xv055)/measures.aspx?id=63203010

http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/93/2/338.long

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/10/981005074625.htm

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2862148/?tool=pubmed

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20047325/  

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22535616

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