Blueberries Health Benefits
Blueberries grow on a shrub like plant and are in the same family as cranberries and huckleberries. It is a perennial plant that has bell shaped flowers that turn into dark blue berries at maturity. They grow wild in many locations in North America, but they are also cultivated for commercial use. The most common cultivated variety is the Northern highbush blueberry. Michigan is known for being the largest producer of this variety of blueberry, accounting for over 30% of total production. Maine is also a large producer of blueberries, however, their crop consist of the lowbush blueberries. Maine is the largest producer of lowbush blueberries in the world. Blueberries health benefits are known the world over.
Blueberries are not only a tasty little fruit but are full of vitamin C, vitamin E, dietary fiber, and manganese. Blueberries health benefits are becoming so well known, that even many doctors are recommending their patients to eat them to help various diseases.
Blueberries are packed full of antioxidants, a substance that helps neutralize free radical damage to the collagen of cells and tissues. This radical damage can cause cancer, heart disease, ulcers, hemorrhoids, varicose veins, cataracts and glaucoma. These antioxidants have also been shown to enhance vitamin C which improves capillaries and helps stabilize the collagen. This prevents the free radicals from taking over the cells and compromising the collagen matrix.
Macular degeneration, a medical problem that causes partial loss of vision, can happen as we age and become a severe problem. It has been found that eating blueberries can help to curb this problem. It has been studied and recommended that if you eat three servings of blueberries a day it will prevent or slow down the onset of macular degeneration. Individuals who eat fruit high in vitamin C and E and that has high antioxidant qualities have been found to be at a lower risk for macular degeneration than those who do not consume much fruit. As stated earlier, blueberries have a very large content of all three of these nutritional substances.
Blueberries have also been shown to help alleviate cancer risks. In studies of colon cancer and ovarian cancer, blueberries have been shown to have ingredients that curb the risk of these cancers. These compounds are pterostilbene and ellagic acid, both of which have been known to benefit cancer patients. With both ovarian and colon cancer it was shown that people who ate blueberries on a regular basis had a smaller risk of developing these diseases than those who never had blueberries in their diet.
Blueberries health benefits can also include helping the brain's ability to function properly as we get older. There are those in the health field who have even started calling them brainberries. Studies have shown that individuals who have blueberries in their diet may find a reduction of the symptoms of Alzheimer and dementia. These same studies also concluded a steady diet of blueberries helps learning capacity and motor skill capacity, even in older individuals.
New research at the University of Michigan Cardiovascular Center has shown that a diet high in blueberries can even help you loose some of your abdominal fat and help control insulin levels. During this study men who were at high risk for heart disease were given blueberry juice to drink everyday for three weeks. At the end of this time they seemed to experience improvement in insulin control. It was concluded this may have possibly happened because the antioxidants in blueberries effected how the body stored and processed sugar.
There are so many other blueberries health benefits I could include in this article if time permitted. If you are interested in the benefits of fruit in the diet, be sure and bookmark us. We will be adding more information weekly about different fruits. We will also be including some fantastic recipes at a later date.