What are Blueberries?
As a heather family (Vaccinium ssp.) member, blueberries are very much related to bilberries, huckleberries, and cranberries. These are small round berries with a diameter of 0.2 to 0.6 inches (5 to 16 mm), and their hue may range from purple to blue.
There are different types of blueberries, so that the appearance may differ slightly. The two popular types of blueberries are lowbush and highbush. Blueberries fruits are a nutritious superfood and have a sweet and pleasant flavor. They are often consumed fresh, but can also be pressed or frozen. You can use this superfood in a variety of cakes, jellies, jams, and spices.
History of Blueberries
Blueberry is a type of plant. Most people mainly consume blueberry fruit as food. Some individuals also use fruits and leave to create medicine.
You can use blackberry for memory, aging, and brain function (thinking skills) and many other disorders. However, there exists a limited scientific proof to support all of these health benefits.
Today, blueberries are widely consumed in the United States because of their health benefits; however, they do not have a long history as cultivated fruits.
As a plant, the history goes back to the early 90s, when a daughter to a New Jersey agriculturalist worked with a botanist to grow and produce blueberries. The first harvests were in 1916, kindling the blueberries boom and the love for these little fruits.
Blueberries are sweet, juicy, and plump, with a shade that varies from indigo to purple. Although the cultivated brand of the fruit is native to New Jersey, it is currently grown commercially in 38 states and other regions of the world (British Columbia, Canada, and South America).
Herbal Usage of Blueberries
Herbal medicine mainly uses Myrtilli Fructus (desiccated ripe berries), but to a smaller extent, also the Myrtilli folium (leaves).
Blueberry Typical Characteristics
The blueberry is a short deciduous shrub up to 80 cm tall with tiny, alternate, serrated foliage with dwarf stems. The flowers are independent or two by two on the axes of the leaves and are pale red to whitish or greenish.
Properties of Blueberries
The herb also yields small round bluish-black berries. Dry blueberries are sphere-shaped with a crumpled surface and a span of around 6mm. Sometimes, they hang down from the residues of stems. The blueberries contain numerous reddish-brown seeds, have a slightly sweet aroma, and its flavor is bittersweet and somewhat astringent.
Health Benefits of Blueberries
Blueberries are nutritious, sweet, and very popular. Often considered as a superfood, they contain low calories and are very good for your health. They are so convenient and tasty that many individuals deem them their favorite fruits. Discussed below are ten blueberries health benefits.
1. Provide Healthy Bones
Blueberries’ superfood contains phosphorus, iron, calcium, manganese, magnesium, vitamin K, and zinc. They are all part of the bone. Sufficient consumption of these vitamins and minerals contributes to maintaining and building bone strength and structure.
Zinc and iron play a critical role in maintaining the elasticity and strength of joints and bones.
Low vitamin K intake has been connected with an increased danger of bone fractures. However, sufficient consumption of vitamin K enhances calcium absorption and can decrease calcium loss.
2. Skin Health
The skin’s support system is collagen. It depends on Vitamin C like a vital nutrient and helps prevent skin impairment from pollution, smoke, and sun. Vitamin C can also enhance collagen’s capability to smooth wrinkles and improve overall skin texture. A mug of blueberries offers 24 percent of the RDI (recommended daily allowance) for vitamin C.
3. Lowers Blood Pressure
Maintaining a low sodium level is vital to keep blood pressure at a healthy level. Blueberries do not contain sodium. They have calcium, potassium, and magnesium. Various studies have revealed that a low mineral diet is linked to hypertension (higher blood pressure). Sufficient dietary consumption of these superfood minerals would help lower blood pressure.
However, some studies have contradicted these findings. For instance, a 2015 survey in individuals with metabolic syndrome discovered that daily consumption of blueberries for six weeks didn’t impact the blood pressure level.
4. Anthocyanins in Blueberries Might Have Anti-diabetic Impacts
Blueberries contain adequate amounts of sugar compared to other fruits. A single cup (148 g) contains 15 g of sugar, equivalent to one large orange or a small apple.
On the other hand, the bioactive composites in blueberries seem to outweigh the negative effects of sugar with relevance to controlling blood sugar.
Research indicates that blueberry anthocyanins have beneficial impacts on glucose metabolism and insulin sensitivity. These anti-diabetic effects take place with both blueberry extract and juice.
In a survey of 32 obese persons with insulin struggle, two blueberry shakes per day caused significant enhancements in insulin sensitivity.
Enhanced insulin sensitivity ought to reduce the danger of type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome, which are presently two of the Earth’s leading health complications.
5. Blueberries Safeguard Blood Cholesterol from Destruction
Oxidative damage is not restrained to your DNA and cells. It is also challenging when “bad” LDL (low-density lipoprotein) fat is oxidized. Oxidation of LDL cholesterol is a critical step in the process of heart disease.
The antioxidants found in blueberries are intensely linked to a reduced content of oxidized LDL. Hence, blueberries are very beneficial for your heart. A regular 50-gram (2-ounce) intake of blueberries reduced low-density lipoprotein oxidation by 27 percent in obese people for eight weeks.
Another research found that consuming 75 grams (2.5 ounces) of blueberries with a major meal significantly decreased oxidation of LDL cholesterol.
6. Protection against Heart Disease
The potassium, fiber, folic acid, vitamins B6 and C, and phytonutrients in blueberries maintain heart health. The lack of fats from blueberry is also useful for the heart. The fiber content assists in reducing the whole amount of cholesterol found in the blood and reduce the danger of heart disease.
Folic acid and vitamin B6 prevent the accumulation of a substance recognized as homocysteine. Excessive accumulation of homocysteine in your body might harm blood vessels and cause heart disease.
As stated by research conducted by the University of East Anglia in the UK and Harvard School of Public Health, the regular intake of anthocyanins can minimize the danger of heart disease by 32 percent in middle-aged and young women.
The research found that females who ate a minimum of three servings of strawberries or blueberries in a week presented the best outcomes.
7. Prevents Cancer
Vitamins A and C and the various plant nutrients in blueberries act as powerful antioxidants that can help in the protection of cells from damage caused by disease-related free radicals.
The study suggests that antioxidants can prevent tumor growth, reduce inflammation in your body, and help prevent or delay cancers of the esophagus, mouth, lung, pharynx, pancreas, prostate, endometrium, and colon.
Besides, blueberries contain folic acid, which plays a part in DNA repair and synthesis. This may prevent the development of cancer cells caused by mutations in DNA.
8. Improvement of Mental Health
Population studies have revealed that blueberries consumption is associated with slower brain function in older females.
Researches have also shown that this berries not only reduce the risk of mental damage but can also improve motor coordination, short-term memory, and brain function.
9. Blueberries Decrease DNA Damage, Which Can Help Protect against Cancer and Aging
DNA damage refers to an inevitable part of daily life. Studies show that it occurs in every cell in your body tens of thousands of times a day. DNA damage is one of the reasons why people grow old. It also has a significant role in the growth of diseases such as cancer.
Since berries are rich in antioxidants, they can counterbalance some free radicals that lead to DNA damage.
In one survey, 168 people consumed 1 liter (34 ounces) of a mixture of apple and blueberries juice daily. In four weeks, the free radical oxidative DNA damage had gone down by 20 percent.
These findings are consistent with smaller researches that utilize powdered or fresh blueberries.
10. Healthy Digestion, Satiety, and Weight Loss
Blueberries assist in preventing constipation and maintaining regularity for a healthy digestive tract due to its fiber content.Nutritional fiber is also widely recognized as an essential factor in weight control and weight loss by acting as a “bulking agent” in the gastrointestinal system. Foods rich in fiber increase the feeling of fullness or satiety and decrease appetite. A longer feeling of satiety can minimize a person’s total caloric intake.
Side Effects of Blueberries
High in potassium, fiber, and vitamins C, A, and K, blueberries have great health benefits. Unfortunately, in various instances, they may have side effects, such as gastrointestinal problems, hypoglycemia, and great danger of bleeding if you are taking specific prescriptions.
If you are healthy, consuming blueberries like a portion of a balanced diet is unlikely to result in any side effects. But if you have a health problem, consult your doctor before including it to your daily diet.
1. Salicylate Sensitivity
Blueberries have high quantities of salicylates, the active constituent in aspirin that occurs naturally in most plants, which might bring about side effects in sensitive people. For those who cannot stand salicylates, blueberries can result in a rash, headache, or a host of digestive system symptoms, such as nausea, reflux, vomiting, bloating, diarrhea, gas, and constipation.
Blueberry juice is particularly rich in salicylates. However, consuming blueberries in little amounts may reduce the discomfort and pain associated with salicylate intake.
2. Risk of Bleeding
For every cup, blueberries have 29 mg of vitamin K, making them an “average” food with vitamin K. Vitamin K carries out several essential functions in your body, including maintenance of bone density and blood clotting regulation.
In general, people using blood thinners medication are encouraged to maintain vitamin K levels in the bloodstream, in the same way, every day. Suddenly decreasing or increasing your consumption of foods with high levels of vitamin K without consulting with your doctor to change the doses of your blood thinners can increase the bleeding risk.
3. Hypoglycemia from Blueberries Leaves
If you have been detected with diabetes, consuming blueberry leaves like a supplement can result in a dangerous drop in blood sugar. Always consult with your GP before using supplements, cranberry leaves included, and carefully monitor your sugar levels. Consuming blueberry fruit is safe for individuals with diabetes; one-cup serving has 21 g of sugars.
4. Stains on Teeth
Blueberries are among the most prevalent causes that tend to discolor teeth due to their concentrated coloring. Whether you consume them fresh, juices, frozen, or in jams or marmalades, the deep blue shade can stain tooth white fillings or enamel.
It is possible to counteract the discoloration effect by taking water after consuming blueberries. Then drink some milk to counterbalance the acid and maintain your teeth’s strength. A portion of cheese after consuming berries can also help keep that gleaming white smile.
Summary and Review
If you consume blueberries moderately, they can play a very critical role in a healthy diet. Blueberries are nutritious and healthy fruits, but you must also eat them in control. Adults should consume up to two cups daily to maintain the healthiest balance.
Consider putting blueberries fruits into cold or hot cereals or mixing them into a milkshake for a portion of fast food on the move. You can also toss blueberries in pancakes or salads, bake them in puddings, or add them to side dishes and soups.
Overall, the health benefits of blueberry fruits outweigh the side effects, although you must be careful of the more common negative impacts, such as the risk of bleeding. However, these healthy fruits are what you require to prevent heart disease and improve brain function.
Berries are the healthiest fruit since they are a good source of vitamins C and K1, manganese, and some other valuable plant compounds, such as anthocyanins. Consuming blueberries comes with a multitude of benefits such as preventing cancer, reducing DNA damage, and many other health benefits.
Also, remember to consult with your doctor if you are under another prescription, and you are planning to use this superfood regardless of its health benefits.