5 Health Benefits of Blueberries You’ll Wish You Knew Sooner
Canada is the place to be when these mighty little berries are in season. Find out how eating blueberries can benefit your health.
Use blueberries to fight off disease
Researchers at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Arkansas Children’s Nutrition Center looked at more than 100 common foods and found that, among fruits, wild and cultivated blueberries had the highest total antioxidant capacity. Antioxidants fight off disease-inducing free radicals in our body.
Reduce belly fat
A University of Michigan Cardiovascular Center study showed that rats fed powdered freeze-dried blueberries as part of either a low or a high-fat diet had less abdominal fat, and lower triglycerides (blood fats) and cholesterol than rats not fed blueberry powder. (The benefits were even greater when combined with the low-fat diet.) Researchers found blueberry intake affected genes linked to fat burning and storage.
A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that anthocyanins blue-red pigments found in blueberries offer protection against hypertension. Over a 14 year period, the study looked at about 134,000 women and 23,000 men. Those eating more than one ½ cup (125 mL) serving of blueberries a week reduced their risk of developing this condition by 10 per cent compared to those who didn’t eat any.
Maintain your brain
Anthocyanins have also been linked to an increase in neuronal signalling in brain centres. A small study done at the University of Cincinnati Academic Health Center looked at the effect of daily consumption of wild blueberry juice on older adults with memory changes. After 12 weeks, participants showed improved memory function.
Reduce your risk of colon cancer
The results of a study published in 2010 in Carcinogenesis showed that pterostilbene, a compound in blueberries, may help protect against colon cancer — which is the second leading cause of cancer death in Canadians (lung cancer is the first). The researchers, from Rutgers University in New Jersey, showed pterostilbene’s ability to suppress colon tumour growth, as well as key inflammatory markers.