Blueberries don’t just taste good; they’re good for you. They’re sweet and packed with nutrients that can help reduce the risk of heart disease, lower your blood pressure, help prevent cancer, and promote a healthy digestive system. Blueberries are tiny, antioxidant superheroes.
We’ve all heard that free radicals in our bodies can lead to cell damage. Blueberries are packed with antioxidants to help fight cell damage and prevent chronic disease. According to research in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, a cup of blueberries a day can reduce the risk of heart disease by 12% to 15%. Other studies indicate that a healthy dose of blueberries can help lower your blood pressure, too—a key concern for people at risk of heart disease. And the antioxidants in blueberries help reduce the buildup of “bad” LDL cholesterol in our arteries—another risk factor for cardiovascular disease.
Blueberries may be good for your brain, too. As we age, we still want to keep our mental edge. It appears that blueberries can give our brains a little boost. Studies indicate that people experience an improvement in their cognitive function after making blueberries a regular part of their diet. One study from Harvard University researchers says blueberries could help slow some of the natural process of aging, including memory loss.
Blueberries have high levels of phytochemicals. These compounds can help lower the risk of several cancers—including colorectal cancer—by protecting your cells from chronic inflammation. The American Institute for Cancer Research says these phytochemicals help fight cancer by stimulating the body’s immune system and reducing the type of inflammation that can make cancer more likely. In some cases, phytochemicals can slow the growth rate of cancer cells and force damaged cells to self-destruct before they can reproduce and wreak more havoc on the body.
Looking to lose a few pounds? Blueberries are a terrific tasty tool to help with weight loss. They’re packed with fiber, so you feel satisfied after snacking. Add blueberries to your breakfast—top cereal or oatmeal with a handful of blueberries for some added color, flavor, and fiber. Need a low-calorie snack or dessert? Stir some fresh blueberries into yogurt for a splash of color and a healthy dash of fiber.
It’s important to keep your digestive system healthy, and that means having a healthy gut microbiome—those trillions of good bacterial cells that live in your gastrointestinal tract. Blueberries have the kind of dietary fiber that supports the beneficial bacteria in your gut, giving your gut microbiome a boost. And when your gut bacteria are happy, that’s good for you.
Another digestive benefit of blueberries: With plenty of soluble fiber to absorb water and add bulk to your intestinal tract, they help keep things properly moving through your digestive system. Men need at least 30 grams of fiber a day; women need at least 20. A cup of blueberries has almost 4 grams of fiber, so that’s a good place to start to make sure you’re getting all the daily fiber you need.
Blueberries are packed with many of the nutrients our bodies need. They’re high in Vitamin C, which is important for protecting your immune system as well as making collagen for skin and bones. Blueberries are also a good source of Vitamin K, important for healthy bones and blood clotting. And they also supply manganese, a mineral that contributes to metabolic health.
Blueberries are a delicious way to get many of the vitamins and minerals that your body needs each day.
Get that Healthy Glow
Because blueberries are packed with vitamins and antioxidants, they’re great for your skin. Want a nourishing face mask you can make at home? Mix 1/2 cup of crushed blueberries with a cup of plain yogurt. Apply generously to your face and neck. After 20 minutes, rinse with lukewarm water.
The antioxidants in blueberries fight free radicals that can result from sun exposure, which can cause skin damage.
Could your hair use a little boost? The chemicals in blueberries stimulate hair follicles, increasing hair growth. Try a blueberry hair mask by blending 1/4 cup of blueberries, a tablespoon of olive oil, and a tablespoon of honey. Slather your hair with this fragrant and luscious mask, and rinse after 20 minutes. Your hair will thank you.
Blueberries are also an excellent source of vitamin B12, which can help prevent your hair from going gray too early.
Did you know that blueberries are such a super food? Please tell us about healthy ways you use blueberries.