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Blueberries - A classic sweet, savoury and delicious addition to many popular recipes. Be it cheesecake, any other cakes, pastries, muffins, pie bars, cream-filled crepes, cheese pie, cookies, sandwiches, tacos, ice pops or even smoothies, blueberry is known to add to the richness of all these dishes in the most exotic way.
Loved by kids and by many grownups likewise, these dishes make for a wonderful dessert! Additionally, blueberries are used to prepare jellies and jams and added to breakfast cereals for flavour. In short, a delicious part of our diet!
What Are Blueberries?
They are tiny-sized blue or purple-coloured berries and are a part of the Vaccinium plant family that includes other fruits such as cranberry, bilberry or whortleberry, huckleberry, etc. Majorly found in Asia, Europe and North America, blueberries taste sweet when they mature, along with a varying acidity. They come with amazing health benefits in the form of anti-inflammatory, nutritious and calorie-free features.
Benefits Of Blueberries
Rich in various antioxidants, along with vitamins such as vitamin C, B2, B6, E and K, and fibre, blueberries are also loaded with copper, manganese, lutein, gallic acide, etc. Some of the major benefits are listed below:
• Boosts brain function: The presence of anthocyanins compounds in blueberries is helpful in enhancing your brain functioning, memory and motor skill function.
• Weight loss: The low calorie feature of blueberries makes them a good snack if you are eager to lose weight. The fibre in them could enhance a feeling of satiety in you, making you feel fuller and eat lesser, while giving you the energy to perform physical activities to lose weight easily!
• Prevention of ailments: They can be actively used to prevent cataracts, glaucoma, cancer, ulcers, diabetes, arthritis, etc.
• For skin: If you wish to maintain healthy skin, then have blueberries regularly. Also, they are good in controlling skin ageing. You could even topically apply it on the skin for extra benefits.
• As a cure for inflammation: If you consume tea prepared with dried blueberry leaves, it could help soothe sore throat and inflamed mouth. The antioxidant properties of blueberries are extremely beneficial in reduction of inflammation in the body.
• Enhances digestion: High fibre content in blueberries makes them a brilliant choice to aid in healthy and regular digestion.
What Happens If You Consume Blueberries In Excess?
Although blueberries promise a wide range of benefits owing to the various nutrients and antioxidants in them, consuming them in excess could cause certain side effects. Read on to know what those side effects may be:
Digestive issues: Since blueberries are rich in fibre, if you have them in excess and in addition to your fibre intake through other sources, it could lead to gas, bloating, diarrhea, stomach pain or any other digestive issues.
Risk of bleeding: Blueberries are extremely rich in vitamin K, which is responsible for regulating blood-clotting, along with maintaining bone-density. Excess of blueberry intake means excess of vitamin K. Especially for patients on medication for thinning of blood, if blueberries are eaten in more quantity that could directly affect the effects of medicines and thereby lead to the risk of bleeding. High vitamin K in the body could lead to shortness of breath, irregular breathing, skin rashes, fainting, etc.
Could stimulate an allergic reaction: The presence of salicylates in blueberries could induce allergic reactions in the body such as rashes, stomach ache, asthma or wheezing, if taken in excessive quantity.
Hypoglycemia: In case you are a diabetes patient or diagnosed with diabetes, taking blueberry leaves in the form of supplements could lead to a risky decrease of sugar level in the blood. It increases the sensitivity to insulin. However, moderately consuming blueberry fruits could help diabetic patients release sugar into the bloodstream slowly without any risk of sudden increase of sugar levels. It would still be advisable for you to consult your doctor, before including blueberries in your regular diet.
Can be risky for pregnant women or breast-feeding mothers: Moderate amounts of blueberry could be safe for pregnant women as well as breastfeeding mothers. However, excessive quantities could lead to problems since blueberries are rich in various antioxidants, nutrients, etc. but their excessive intake could be unsafe.
Not to be consumed by anyone scheduled to undergo surgery: Since blueberries have blood-thinning properties due to the presence of salicylates and vitamin K, if you are required to undergo any sort of surgery in the near future, you must totally avoid having blueberries at least 2-2.5 weeks before the surgery. The blueberries could delay the healing of surgical wounds. Also, they could adversely affect the blood sugar levels before, during and after the surgery, which is totally undesirable.
Do Blueberries Interact With Medications?
The answer is yes! Blueberries do interact with certain medications such as those used by diabetics, that include glimepiride (Amaryl), glyburide (DiaBeta, Glynase PresTab, Micronase), insulin, pioglitazone (Actos), rosiglitazone (Avandia), chlorpropamide (Diabinese), glipizide (Glucotrol), tolbutamide (Orinase), etc.
Since blueberries reduce blood sugar and diabetes medications are also used for the same purpose, having blueberries along with these medicines could double the effect and make the blood sugar levels to decrease drastically!
How Much Is Too Much?
The quantity of blueberry to be consumed by you on a daily or weekly basis would depend on various factors such as your overall health, age, habits, quality of diet on regular basis (how balanced it is), and so on. It is scientifically not concluded yet how much dosage of blueberries would be appropriate.
However, since many natural fruits or vegetables may offer benefits if taken in moderation, but side effects if taken in excess, the same principle applies to blueberries as well. Do not overeat them, and keep a regular gap while consuming them in a week to help your body benefit to the maximum!