This vibrant fruit may be tiny, but each serving packs a serious punch when it comes to nutrition. Often overlooked and overshadowed by more exotic types of berries, blueberries remain one of the most nutritious, antioxidant-rich types of fruit in the world and have been shown to do everything from enhance brain health to keep your heart strong. Plus, in addition to the long list of health benefits of blueberries, these fruits are also super sweet, low-calorie and delicious.
Need any more convincing on why you should add this flavorful berry into your diet? Keep reading to learn about the health benefits of blueberries, and find some creative ways to squeeze few servings of this top superfood into your day.
Top 7 Health Benefits of BlueberriesWondering about the health benefits of blueberries and how they’re beneficial? Here are the top seven health benefits of blueberries:
- High in Antioxidants
- Help Fight Cancer
- Amp Up Weight Loss
- Boost Brain Health
- Alleviate Inflammation
- Support Digestion
- Promote Heart Health
1. High in AntioxidantsAntioxidants are compounds that fight harmful free radicals and provide a myriad of health benefits. In fact, antioxidants not only prevent cell damage, but also protect against several types of chronic disease, including cancer, heart disease and diabetes. (1)
Blueberries are one of the best sources of antioxidants. One study in China compared the antioxidant capacity of blueberries, blackberries and strawberries and found that blueberries not only contained the highest total antioxidant capacity, but also contained more of many specific types of antioxidants, including phenols, flavonoids and anthocyanins. (2)
Wild blueberries are especially high in antioxidants. (3) A study in the British Journal of Nutrition, for example, found that supplementing participants with wild blueberry powder increased serum antioxidant status by 8.5 percent after just one hour. (4)
Other top antioxidant foods include dark chocolate, goji berries, pecans, clove and cinnamon.
2. Help Fight CancerRecent research has unearthed some impressive findings on the ability of blueberries to protect against certain types of cancer.
For example, a 2010 test-tube study reported that blueberry extract was able to inhibit the growth and spread of breast cancer cells, making blueberry extracts potential cancer-fighting agents. (5) Another animal study from the Brown Cancer Center at the University of Louisville treated rats with breast cancer using blueberry powder and found that it reduced tumor volume by 40 percent. (6)
Similarly, a 2007 test-tube study showed that low-bush blueberry juice reduced the growth of several types of cancer, including stomach, prostate, intestine and breast cancer cells. (7)
Although these results are promising, be sure to consume a variety of berries along with plenty of other fruits and vegetables to really optimize the cancer-fighting potential of your diet.
3. Amp Up Weight LossTake a look at the blueberry nutrition profile, and you’ll quickly see why this nutrient-packed berry is great if you’re looking to lose weight fast. It’s low in calories but provides a whopping 3.6 grams of fiber per cup, fulfilling up to 14 percent of your daily fiber needs with just one serving.
Fiber moves slowly through your digestive tract, promoting satiety and keeping you feeling fuller for longer to aid in weight loss.
Several animal studies have confirmed the beneficial effects of blueberries on weight loss. An animal study published in the journal PLoS One, for instance, found that blueberry juice prevented obesity in mice fed a high-fat diet. (8) Another animal study conducted by the Cardiovascular Center and the Michigan Integrative Medicine Program showed that blueberry intake was associated with a reduction in belly fat for obese rats. (9)
Be sure to combine blueberries with a nutritious, well-rounded diet and plenty of physical activity to promote weight loss even more.
4. Boost Brain HealthOne of the most impressive health benefits of blueberries is its ability to enhance brain health. There have been many studies suggesting that eating blueberries could improve memory and cognition.
In a recent 2016 study published in the European Journal of Nutrition, consuming a blueberry drink was found to improve cognitive performance compared to a placebo in 21 children. (10) Another study showed that drinking wild blueberry juice daily for 12 weeks was able to improve the memory of older adults. (11)
Additionally, blueberries are loaded with antioxidants, which can protect the brain from free radical damage and promote healthy brain aging. (11)
In addition to blueberries, other brain foods that can help enhance memory and focus include avocados, beets, leafy green vegetables and walnuts.
5. Alleviate InflammationAlthough inflammation is a normal immune response that helps protect your body from illness and injury, chronic inflammation is at the root of most diseases. In fact, inflammation is thought to contribute to a wide range of conditions, including cancer, autoimmune conditions, heart disease and even depression. (12)
Thanks to its high antioxidant content, blueberries have been shown to have a significant anti-inflammatory effect in the body. A 2014 test-tube study even found that the polyphenols found in blueberries helped reduce the activity of several markers of inflammation. (13) Similarly, an animal study published in the Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology also found that blueberry extract was effective in reducing swelling in rat paws. (14)
Celery, broccoli, pineapple, salmon and chia seeds are just a few other anti-inflammatory foods that should be included in a disease-fighting diet.
6. Support DigestionWith 3.6 grams of fiber in each cup, including a serving or two of blueberries can help you meet your fiber needs while also promoting regularity and healthy digestion.
When you eat fiber, it travels through the gastrointestinal tract undigested, adding bulk to the stool to keep you regular. In fact, an analysis in the World Journal of Gastroenterology looked at the results of five studies and found that increasing your intake of dietary fiber could help increase stool frequency in those with constipation. (15)
Pair your blueberries with plenty of water, physical activity and other high-fiber foods like fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts and seeds to keep your digestive system working efficiently.
7. Promote Heart HealthThere’s no doubt that a healthy heart is a key component of overall health. Your heart is responsible for pumping blood through the body to provide your tissues with the oxygen and nutrients needed to thrive and survive.
Unfortunately, coronary heart disease is one of the leading causes of death, accounting for an estimated 31.5 percent of all deaths in the United States. (16) High triglycerides, elevated cholesterol and increased blood pressure are just a few of the main risk factors for heart disease that can put a strain on your heart and force it to work harder.
Studies show that eating blueberries could help reduce some of the risk factors for heart disease. A 2015 study, for example, found that eating blueberries daily for eight weeks resulted in lower blood pressure and arterial stiffness in 48 women. (17) Another study in published in the Journal of Nutrition reported that blueberry supplementation led to greater decreases in blood pressure and oxidized LDL cholesterol, two major risk factors for heart disease, compared to a control group. (18)
Of course, the health benefits of blueberries on heart disease are limited unless combined with a balanced diet, a healthy lifestyle and regular exercise.
- 2 cups almond flour
- 3 eggs
- ⅓ cup honey
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- Pinch of sea salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 5 tablespoon coconut oil or ghee, melted
- 1 cup fresh blueberries
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
- In a bowl, combine almond flour, baking soda and sea salt.
- In a separate bowl, combine eggs, honey, vanilla and coconut oil/ghee.
- Combine both mixtures together. Once well incorporated, add blueberries and mix.
- Fill a muffin pan with liners. Fill each liner with batter.
- Bake in oven for 15-20 minutes