Eating less than a cup of blueberries a day helps prevent heart disease, cancer, brain aging, and more. Here are seven great reasons to eat more blueberries every day
Spring and summer are prime seasons for fresh blueberries. But there are good reasons to eat it all year round. Blueberries pack huge health benefits in a small package.
Research confirms that eating less than a cup of blueberries a day helps prevent heart disease, cancer, brain aging, and more. Here are seven great reasons to eat more blueberries every day.
1. Berries stop heart attacks
According to a study published in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association Eating at least three servings of blueberries and strawberries each week can save women from heart attacks. Researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health and the University of East Anglia reviewed the berry-eating habits of 93,600 women aged 25-42 over the age of 18. The women were part of the Nurses’ Health Study II. The researchers concluded that women who ate three or more servings of blueberries and strawberries per week reduced their risk of heart attack by a third.
It had to be berries. Women who eat a diet rich in other fruits and vegetables do not have the same risk of a heart attack.
2. Lowers blood pressure with blueberries
Blueberries can lower blood pressure. The researchers conducted a double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial on 48 postmenopausal women with hypertension or stage 1 hypertension. Each day, half of the women were given 22 grams of freeze-dried blueberry powder equivalent to one cup of fresh blueberries. The other half got a placebo.
After just 8 weeks, the women who took blueberry powder lowered their systolic (5.1%) and diastolic (6.3%) blood pressure. Those who took the placebo did not change.
Additionally, bilberry powder reduced arteriosclerosis on average by 6.5%. No change was observed in the placebo group. Atherosclerosis is a symptom of atherosclerosis and predicts the risk of developing cardiovascular disease. It indicates that the heart has to work harder to circulate blood to the peripheral blood vessels.
The researchers attributed the beneficial effects to a staggering 68.5% increase in blood levels of nitric oxide in the women who took blueberry powder. Nitric oxide is known to dilate blood vessels to increase blood flow and lower blood pressure. Those who took the placebo had no change in nitric oxide levels.
3. Cranberry promotes healthy blood vessels
A study from Florida State University found that eating blueberries daily could be key to fighting cardiovascular disease in women.
And in another study, researchers from England and Germany demonstrated that as little as a cup of wild blueberries can have an almost immediate and long-term effect on how well your circulatory system works. The more easily blood flows through your arteries and veins, the less work your heart has to do.
They conducted two randomized, controlled, double-blind studies in 21 healthy men between the ages of 18 and 40 years. In the first study, some men drank varying amounts of blueberry polyphenols, ranging from the equivalent of 240 grams (3/4 cup) to 560 grams (1.25 cups) of cranberries. Others were given a drink with the same micro and macro nutrients but without the berry polyphenols.
Then the researchers measured changes in the men’s “flow-mediated dilation.” FMD is the gold standard for measuring endothelial function. The endothelium is the lining of the blood vessels. FMD is considered a good predictor of cardiovascular disease risk.
They found that as blueberry polyphenols were broken down by enzymes into different metabolites, endothelial function improved in the men. The benefits lasted at least 6 hours.
A second study showed that FMD improved in a dose-dependent manner by the equivalent of about 240 grams of wild blueberries. Then the effects subsided. In other words, the men did not get any additional benefit in endothelial function by eating the equivalent of three-quarters of a cup of cranberries.
4. Prevent cancer with blueberries
Study in the magazine Nutrition Research It was found that daily blueberries increase natural killer (NK) cells. Natural killer cells are white blood cells that play an important role in the immune system’s defense against foreign invaders such as viruses and tumors. They check the body for abnormal cells and destroy them before they develop into actual cancers.
The researchers divided 25 sedentary men and postmenopausal women into two groups. Each day one group received a placebo while the other group was given 38 grams of blueberry powder. The powder was equivalent to 250 grams of fresh fruit.
After six weeks, the blueberry group experienced significant increases in natural killer cells. The results were consistent with previous research by the same team that found blueberries improve natural killer cell counts, oxidative stress, and inflammation in trained athletes.
Other research shows that blueberries are rich in antioxidants that help prevent cancer. Antioxidants work by neutralizing free radicals and atoms that have an odd number of electrons and are very unstable. Free radicals can cause the type of cellular damage that is a big factor in the development of cancer.
Blueberries are also rich in anthocyanins. These compounds give blueberries their beautiful color. They also help explain why blueberries help prevent free radical damage linked to cancer.
5. Berries protect the lungs
The anthocyanins in blueberries protect your lungs as you age. a Study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 839 participants from the Veterans Affairs Standard Aging Study followed. Over a 16-year period, it found that men who ate two or more servings of blueberries per week experienced a 37.9 percent reduction in lung function compared to those who didn’t eat blueberries or ate very little blueberries.
6. Berries improve insulin sensitivity
A double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled clinical study in Nutrition Journal found that bioactive compounds found in blueberries improve insulin sensitivity.
Twice a week, the researchers had 32 obese, non-diabetic, insulin-resistant patients who drank juice with or without 22.5 grams of blueberry prebiotics. After six weeks, the blueberry group had a fourfold improvement in their insulin sensitivity over the placebo group.
In another randomized controlled study from Oklahoma State University, 48 people took a drink of freeze-dried berries or a placebo once daily. The freeze-dried drink was equivalent to about 350 grams (3.5 cups) of fresh blueberries. After eight weeks, researchers found that blueberries improved measures of metabolic syndrome.
7. Blueberries keep your brain young
study in Annals of Neuroscience It was found that the anthocyanins in blueberries can slow down the aging of the brain for up to 2.5 years. Harvard researchers measured cognitive function in 16,010 participants 70 and older in the Nurses’ Health Study. Based on diet questionnaires, they concluded that eating more blueberries slowed cognitive decline for up to 2.5 years.
It works for young people too. In a cross-sectional study in the journal feed 14 children between the ages of 8 and 10 took a blueberry drink or a placebo. After two hours they completed a set of five cognitive tests. the Blueberry syrup significantly improves delayed retrieval from the word list.
Eat blueberries often
Making a small change to your diet by adding blueberries can have a big impact on cardiovascular health, cancer prevention, and brain power.
In addition to polyphenols, berries are an excellent source of vitamins K and C, manganese, and fiber.
Cranberries are especially strong. They’re smaller than the cultivated varieties often found in your supermarket, with about twice as many berries per pound. They also have less water and a higher skin-to-pulp ratio. This means that the wild types have a more intense flavor and double the antioxidant content.
During spring and summer enjoy fresh berries. You can easily find them frozen or dried out of season. Add it to salads, yogurt, oatmeal, or smoothies. Or just eat them from a handful.
But many berries are intensively treated with insecticides. Always choose organic blueberries to be safe.
This article was originally published on GreenMedInfo.com
McCanulty LS et al. “Six weeks of daily intake of whole blueberry powder increases the number of natural killer cells and reduces atherosclerosis in sedentary males and females.” Nutr Race. 2014 Jul; 34 (7): 577-84. doi: 10.1016/j.nutres.2014.07.002.