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.
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 also 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.
- 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
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 (15Trusted Source). A daily 2-ounce (50-gram) serving of blueberries lowered LDL oxidation by 27% over eight weeks in obese people who were obese (16Trusted Source). Another study determined that eating 2.5 ounces (75 grams) of blueberries with a main meal significantly reduced the oxidation of “bad” LDL cholesterol (17Trusted Source).
Lowers Blood Pressure
Blueberries appear to have significant benefits for people with high blood pressure, which is a major risk factor for heart disease. In an eight-week study, obese people who had had a high risk of heart disease noted a 4–6% reduction in blood pressure after consuming 2 ounces (50 grams) of blueberries per day (18Trusted Source). Other studies have observed similar effects — especially for postmenopausal women (19Trusted Source, 20Trusted Source).
Helps Maintain Brain Function and Improve Memory
Oxidative stress can accelerate your brain’s aging process, negatively affecting brain function. According to animal studies, the antioxidants in blueberries may affect areas of your brain that are essential for intelligence (23Trusted Source, 24Trusted Source). They also appear to benefit aging neurons, leading to improvements in cell signaling.
Human studies have also yielded promising results. In one of these studies, nine older adults with mild cognitive impairment consumed blueberry juice every day. After 12 weeks, they experienced improvements in several markers of brain function (25Trusted Source). A six-year study in over 16,000 older individuals found that blueberries and also strawberries were linked to delays in mental aging by up to 2.5 years (26).
May Help Fight Urinary Tract Infections
Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are a common problem for women. It is widely known that cranberry juice can help prevent these types of infections. Because blueberries are closely related to cranberries, they also boast many of the same active substances as cranberry juice (31Trusted Source). These substances are called anti-adhesives and help prevent bacteria like E. coli from binding to the wall of your bladder. Blueberries have rarely been studied for their impact on UTIs, but they likely have similar effects as cranberries (32Trusted Source).
They are incredibly healthy and nutritious. They boost your heart health, brain function and numerous other aspects of your body. What’s more, they’re sweet, colorful and easily enjoyed either fresh or frozen.
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