Ingredient of the Month: Blueberries
Next to strawberries, blueberries are top of the heap as one of America’s favorite berries. They’re sweet, juicy, loaded with nutrients and are delicious picked fresh or as the central ingredient in an array of healthful recipes, such as smoothies or pancakes. Native to North America, these tiny purple berries are rich in antioxidants that have been proven to fight cancer, aid in weight loss, and keep our ticker ticking!.
Don’t let their itty-bitty size fool you, blueberries are one of the most nutrient dense food available! Containing high levels of antioxidants, blueberries are one of the highest antioxidant filled foods in the world. Eating just one cup of blueberries will provide you with a robust dose of vitamins C, K, manganese, and fiber, as well as an abundance of phytonutrients that act both as antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds in the body.
Blueberries are responsible for many well-documented health benefits when we eat them regularly as part of a healthy diet. The following list of blueberry health benefits barely scratches the surface of how this mighty little berry can help to keep us healthy!
Consuming blueberries is beneficial for cancer due to containing such as wide range of antioxidants, especially gallic acid. Clinical studies have shown that gallic acid rich foods, like blueberries, can kill cancer without harming healthy cells, unlike radiation and chemotherapy. Recent research has indicated that the anti-cancer effects of gallic acid actually slows and even destroys breast cancer.
The Heart of Health
A recent study shows that eating blueberries and strawberries together act as a powerful superfood duo that can lower your risk of heart attack by up to 33%. Eating blueberries has also been shown to lower LDL cholesterol, raise HDL cholesterol and lower blood pressure.
Banishing Belly Fat
There are three good reasons why blueberries should be included in any weight loss plan are that they are low in calories, low on the glycemic index, and are high in fiber. When you eat low-glycemic food like blueberries, the body absorbs it more slowly, staying in the digestive tract for longer. This helps to control appetite and delay hunger cues, which can help with wight loss. One study found that a blueberry plentiful diet was shown to help reduce abdominal fat, lower triglyceride levels and improve insulin sensitivity.
A Youthful Glow
Antioxidants are known to help reverse damage done by toxins and free radicals, and help the body defend itself against dangerous pathogens. Being rich in antioxidants, blueberries have been observed to have additional anti-aging properties in numerous studies, such as reducing damage from sun exposure, heal macular degeneration and improve vision. In addition, the vitamins and minerals found in blueberries helps to restore hormonal balance, healing acne.
The high levels of phenols present in blueberries, particularly gallic acid, act as neuro-protective agents. This means that they can literally protect our brains from degeneration, neurotoxicity and oxidative stress. One study found that consuming blueberries was able to slow cognitive decline and improved memory and motor function. It was believed that the antioxidants found in blueberries protect the body from oxidative stress and reducing inflammation.
Blueberries are a natural source of soluble and insoluble fiber, so by eating a couple of handfuls of blueberries a day, can help to regulate the gastrointestinal tract. University of Maine researchers discovered that blueberries have prebiotic potential, promoting the growth of good bacteria in the colon, which is very important for good digestion and all over health.