The Goodness of BlueberriesPublished:October 26th, 2011
Blueberries belong to the heath family of shrubs. They range from blue to dark purple and are deep in color. It is coated with a grayish, waxy substance that forms a protective barrier. Blueberries provide 80 calories per cup and are naturally fat free, thus helping you stay on track with your weight loss goals. Choose blueberries that are firm and have an even shade. Avoid the ones that appear soggy or soft.
Antioxidant and Vitamins
Blueberries are rich in antioxidants, vitamin C, B-complex and E, zinc, manganese and selenium. These nutrients help improve the immune system and blood circulation. The antioxidant, anthocyanin, which is also responsible for the blue color in the blueberries, neutralizes the free radicals. Free radicals contribute to age related conditions, cardiovascular disease and certain types of cancer. Free radicals are also linked to Alzheimer’s disease. The antioxidants in the blueberries also help strengthen the blood vessels.
Blueberries help lower the cholesterol levels and increases insulin sensitivity providing better glucose control. The soluble fiber present in blueberries removes the LDL (bad cholesterol) from the body. Choosing more antioxidant rich fruits such as blueberries may lower the risk of developing metabolic syndrome which eventually leads to cardiovascular conditions.
The nutrients such as selenium and Vitamin B-Complex in blueberries can help prevent deterioration of the neurons (nerve cells). It also helps with retaining memory and keeps the brain cells sharp. Some components of blueberries slow down vision loss, thus keeping the vision intact for longer. A study published in the Archives of Ophthalmology indicates that eating 3 or more servings of fruit high in antioxidants per day may lower your risk of age-related macular degeneration, which is the number one cause of vision loss with aging.
The fiber in blueberries helps prevent constipation. The acid content and other nutrients present in blueberries aid in digestion and keeps the GI system running smoothly. Along with the GI system, this also helps the genitourinary system by reducing the occurrence of urinary tract infection. The acid content in blueberries is a destroying agent for the bacteria causing urinary tract infections.
Blueberries are the best snacks for patients with risk for developing cancer, especially colon and ovarian cancers. Anthocyanins, Vitamin C, Pterostilbene and Ellagic Acid in the blueberries help prevent the onset of these cancers. For those patients who are already suffering from cancer, can also benefit as it will slow down the cell-degradation process.
A serving of blueberries daily can go a long way in preserving health. This wonderful produce provides you with all the good nutrients in the large amounts for a body’s benefit. So, enjoy a handful or a cupful or blueberries after your meal daily for a better and healthy body. And remember, the deeper the color of the Blue Berries, the more they are rich in antioxidants and other nutritional values. Make blueberries a part of your 5-A-Day plan to eat all colors.