Did you know that there is one food that can help you lose weight, fight disease, and even extend your life? It's true! Blueberries are not only delicious but are packed with nutrients that can have a powerful impact on your health.
In this article, we'll take a closer look at the amazing health benefits of blueberries. We'll also share some tips on how to incorporate more blueberries into your diet. So whether you're looking to shed a few pounds or just improve your overall health, be sure to read on!
Blueberries Are a Superfood
Packed with antioxidants and phytoflavinoids, these berries are also high in potassium and vitamin C, making them the top choice of doctors and nutritionists. Not only can they lower your risk of heart disease and cancer, but they are also anti-inflammatory.
One of the most impressive things about blueberries is their nutrient density. Just one cup of blueberries contains 24% of the Recommended Daily Intake (RDI) for Vitamin C.
"Inflammation is a key driver of all chronic diseases, so blueberries have a host of benefits," says Ann Kulze, MD, of Charleston, S.C., author of Dr. Ann's 10 Step Diet: A Simple Plan for Permanent Weight Loss and Lifelong Vitality. When selecting berries, note that the darker they are, the more antioxidants they have. "I tell everyone to have a serving (about 1/2 cup) every day," Kulze says. "Frozen are just as good as fresh." Be sure to include lots of other fruits and vegetables in your diet as well. Remember too that, in general, the more color they have, the more antioxidants.
Blueberries Are Great For Heart Health
Researchers gathered up 40 people and told them to either consume 200 grams of blueberries per day (in smoothie form) or control drinks without blueberries for one month.
The subjects consuming blueberries reduced their blood pressure by 5mmHg, which is about what a prescription hypertension drug can do. Blood vessel function improved and cardiovascular disease risk factors decreased.
"The polyphenols in blueberries seem to work as an ace card up the sleeve," said Dr. Ana Rodriguez-Mateos, one of the researchers. "They reduce blood pressure and improve endothelial function."
Blueberries Have Shown To Prevent Fat Cell Formation
Scientists have begun to study how blueberries play a role in adipocyte differentiation. Adipocyte differentiation is the process in which an unspecialized cell acquires specialized features of an adipocyte, a cell specialized for the synthesis and storage of body fat.
During a study, Researcher Shiwani Moghe, MS, tested three groups of mice who were given different amounts of blueberry polyphenols and a fourth group was used as a control. The mice that chowed down on polyphenols exhibited suppression of adipocyte differentiation. The highest dose of blueberry polyphenols yielded a 73% decrease in lipids. The control group saw no changes.
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In another study, researchers at the University of Maine concluded that eating wild blueberries reduced "chronic inflammation and improved the abnormal lipid profile and gene expression associated with metabolic syndrome." While this study was done on fat rats, the researchers said that two cups a day of wild blueberries could have the same benefits for humans.
So how do you make sure to get these benefits?
Add a few handfuls of fresh or frozen blueberries to your diet every day. You can eat them as is, add them to your morning oatmeal or yogurt, or blend them into a smoothie. Just be sure to choose wild or "neotropical" blueberries over their domesticated counterparts; they have more antioxidants and health benefits.
Berry & Almond Protein Smoothie
1 scoop (30g) vanilla protein powder
1 cup (240ml) almond milk, unsweetened
½ cup (70g) blueberries
½ cup (60g) raspberries
2 tbsp. almonds
4 tbsp. Greek yogurt
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