Eight Wonders of Blueberries

cascading blueberries outback blueberry farm

 

 

 

 

 

 

The benefits of blueberries keep growing as we become more aware through studies and research of their many healthy contributions to our well-being. In addition to their tastiness, they are also very versatile. You can pick your own blueberries seasonally at Outback Farm in Pryor, OK; even out of season, they are frozen. Did you know that frozen blueberries conserve a lot of their nutritional goodness? Read on to get of glimpse of the health value of blueberries, and keep in mind this list grows daily.

 

1.  BLOOD SUGAR STABILIZATION – For those of you who might think blueberries, being a fruit and all, are questionable for those with diabetes…rest assured the opposite is true. Blueberries can help people with diabetes control their blood sugar levels. A component of blueberries seems to stimulate the production of insulin, which then make blood glucose easier to handle.


2. NERVE PROTECTION – The process of oxidation causes damage to all kinds of cells, and nerve cells are no exception. Given the sensitivity of nerve cells, this sort of damage can cause a host of problems when it affects the cells of the nervous system, including reduced mobility and cognition. Fortunately, the neuroprotective effects of blueberries don’t just shield the brain. They can also protect the nerve cells, increasing their lifespan.


3. PROTECTION FROM HEAVY METALS – You probably don’t think about the accumulation of heavy metals in your body’s tissue. Unfortunately, some of our industrial applications, such as the burning of fossil fuels, create pollution in the form of metals that are fine enough for us to inhale. Cadmium is one of these metals, which can be toxic in high enough doses. However, believe it or not, blueberries seem to have some effect against this buildup.  A study revealed that the anthocyanin found in blueberries could bond with cadmium, making it less dangerous to surrounding tissue.


4. BETTER DIGESTION – Because of the antioxidant properties of blueberries, cells in other areas of the body can perhaps receive a little more protection from carcinogenic sources. This means that blueberries can help combat inflammation and cancer in the digestive tract, breaking down food and related organs. Additionally, like several other fruits, blueberries provide a little bit of fiber to the body, which can help improve the digestive process by bulking up the stool.


5. REDUCED DEMENTIA/ALZHEIMER’S RISK – As mentioned earlier, blueberries can contribute to mental health. This is good news for those at risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, given that these conditions have no cure. However, there are ways to delay and mitigate such illnesses, and it’s called anthocyanin. This flavonoid has antioxidant properties which means it protects the cells from damage. Specifically, the anthocyanin content of blueberries helps preserve brain cells, ultimately resulting in the brain staying stronger for longer.


6. HEART HEALTH – Blueberries may also play a role in heart health, given that they are suspected to improve blood pressure. This is in part due to their modest potassium content, which contributes to more elastic blood vessels. In general, blueberries are thought to reduce blood pressure by restoring elasticity to blood vessels, so the heart has an easier time moving blood through the circulatory system. Based on one study of pregnant women with high blood pressure, there is a theory that additional nitric oxide production plays a role in the reduction of blood pressure.


7. VISION PROTECTION – Blueberries are also beneficial in the sense that they contribute to eye health. While they do not have large amounts of vitamin A as you’d expect from a vision-boosting food, they have other nutritional offerings with similar effects. Specifically, the compound pterostilbene protects the eyes’ corneal cells from the damage brought on by inflammation. Inflammation, when left unchecked, can interfere with cells and increase the likelihood of serious ailments such as cancer. However, pterostilbene prevents oxidative damage and keeps the eyes healthier for longer.


8. IMPROVED MEMORY AND MOTOR FUNCTION – Blueberries have been found to positively affect both memory and motor function, particularly for older adults. Specifically, a study was conducted over twelve weeks on seniors over the age of 75. They consumed blueberries daily and were compared to a control group that did not consume blueberries. At the end of the experiment, those who consumed blueberries regularly were able to outperform those who had not in both cognitive and motor function tests. This suggests that those at higher risk for dementia should consider making blueberries a regular part of their diet.

So, if you are concerned about your health and you’ve become aware that blueberries are something of a superfood, rich in antioxidants and a topic of rigorous study by scientists interested in determining all of the benefits they hold, you probably want to consider adding them to your daily diet. If you are unfamiliar with blueberries or not a fan, you may want to rethink that notion because they provide several positive benefits protecting the body against disease and helping to mitigate existing illnesses. Blueberries, fresh or frozen, are at the top of any healthy food list.

Blueberry Council
by Jermane Cooper 12/9/2020