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Blueberries are a favourite in the summer season as they are succulent and nutritious and have a sweet flavour. They are a popular superfood, so here's everything you need to know about the health benefits of blueberries.
A plant compound called anthocyanin  gives the berries their blue colour. Anthocyanin also protects against heart disease, prevents cancer, lowers blood pressure etc.
Blueberries are one of the most antioxidant-rich fruits  and one of the most exotic berries.
There are two types of blueberries:
- Highbush blueberries: These are the most common variety cultivated in the US
- Lowbush or wild blueberries: They are smaller and rich in some antioxidants  .
Nutritional Value Of Blueberries
100 g of raw blueberries contain 84.21 g water, 57 kcal energy and they also contain:
- 0.74 g protein
- 0.33 g fat
- 14.49 g carbohydrate
- 2.4 g fibre
- 9.96 g sugar
- 6 mg calcium
- 0.28 mg iron
- 6 mg magnesium
- 12 mg phosphorus
- 77 mg potassium
- 1 mg sodium
- 0.16 mg zinc
- 9.7 mg vitamin C
- 0.037 mg thiamine
- 0.041 mg riboflavin
- 0.418 mg niacin
- 0.052 mg vitamin B6
- 6 mcg folate
- 54 IU vitamin A
- 0.57 mg vitamin E
- 19.3 mcg vitamin K
Health Benefits Of Blueberries
1. Support healthy bones
Blueberries contain phosphorous, iron, calcium, magnesium, zinc and vitamin K. All these nutrients contribute to building and maintaining bone structure and strength. Zinc and iron play an important role in preserving the strength and elasticity of the bones and joints. The intake of vitamin K improves better calcium absorption which may reduce the loss of calcium  .
2. Lower blood pressure
Blueberries are low in sodium and high in potassium, calcium, and magnesium which help reduce high blood pressure levels. High blood pressure level increases the risk of heart disease. According to a study, obese people who had a higher risk of heart disease consumed 50 g of blueberries per day and saw a 4 to 6 % reduction in their blood pressure levels  .
Another study published in the Journal of Gerontology Series A has found that consuming 200 g of blueberries daily for a month can improve blood vessel function and lower systolic blood pressure in healthy individuals  .
3. Prevent cancer
Vitamin C, vitamin A and the various phytonutrients present in blueberries function as powerful antioxidants which help protect cells against DNA damage which causes cancer. The antioxidants can neutralize some of the free radicals that damage your DNA and can inhibit tumour growth and prevent the cancers of stomach, prostate, breast and intestine  .
4. Protect against heart disease
Blueberries contain fibre, potassium, folate, vitamin C, vitamin B6 and phytonutrients. These nutrients support heart health. The fibre content helps lower bad cholesterol in the blood and decrease the risk of heart disease. Anthocyanins, the primary antioxidant in blueberries can also lower the risk of heart attacks by 32% in young and middle-aged women, according to a study  .
5. Promote weight loss
The dietary fibre in blueberries can help in weight management and weight loss because it increases satiety, reduces appetite and keeps your stomach full for a longer period of time. Animal studies have shown that eating blueberries or drinking its juice can prevent obesity  .
6. Manage diabetes
The bioactive compounds in blueberries diminish the negative impact of sugar in the body. The anthocyanins in blueberries have antidiabetic effects on insulin sensitivity and glucose metabolism. Improved insulin sensitivity lowers the risk of type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome  . Consume three servings of blueberries per week to reduce the risk of diabetes.
7. Boost brain health
One of the health benefits of blueberries is its ability to improve brain function. Blueberries are packed full of antioxidants, which protect the brain from free radical damage and enhance healthy brain ageing  . According to a study, drinking wild blueberry juice every day for 12 weeks will help improve brain function  .
8. Reduce inflammation
Chronic inflammation is the root cause of many harmful diseases and illnesses like cancer, autoimmune conditions, heart disease and even depression. The high amount of antioxidants in blueberries have been shown to have a significant anti-inflammatory effect in the body  .
In addition, blueberries can help reduce muscle inflammation after a strenuous exercise and also aid in faster muscle recovery  .
9. Treat urinary tract infections
Similar to cranberries, blueberries contain certain substances that help prevent E. coli bacteria from binding to the walls of the urinary bladder which causes urinary tract infection  .
10. Prevent constipation
Blueberries contain good amounts of fibre which promote regularity and healthy digestion. The fibre passes through the gastrointestinal tract undigested, adding bulk to your stool. This reduces the chances of constipation and diarrhoea.
ALSO READ: 13 Incredible Health Benefits Of Loganberry
11. Maintain eye health
Blueberries contain antioxidants that are good for your eyesight and lower the risk of cataracts, glaucoma and other eye conditions. Eating blueberries every day will prevent eye damage caused by pollution and dust.
12. Promote skin health
Blueberries are loaded with vitamin C, a water-soluble antioxidant that prevents skin damage caused by the sun, pollution and smoke. Vitamin C may also aid in improving the collagen's ability to delay wrinkles and boost overall skin texture.
13. Lower depression
Antioxidant-rich blueberries have antidepressant properties that decrease the risk of depression and enhance mood in children and young adults  . The antidepressant properties of blueberries are also known to improve autoimmunity and reduce gastrointestinal infection in patients with cerebral venous thrombosis disease  .
Side Effects Of Blueberries
Eating blueberries before a scheduled surgery could interfere with blood glucose levels during and after surgery. The berries should be avoided if you have an allergic reaction or if you are on blood-thinning medicines.
How To Select And Store Blueberries
It is recommended to choose blueberries that are firm, fresh and free from moisture. You can also opt for frozen blueberries, they lose texture faster than the fresh ones, but the flavour remains the same.
You can store fresh blueberries in the refrigerator and freeze them as well.
Ways To Add Blueberries In Your Diet
- Whip up a smoothie using frozen blueberries, low-fat milk, and yogurt.
- Mix fresh blueberries into a spinach salad with walnuts and feta cheese.
- Add blueberries in oatmeal, waffles, pancakes, yogurt, or cereal for an extra burst of flavour and nutrition for your breakfast.
- You can add blueberries in baking dishes like blueberry muffin or blueberry cake.
Chicken & avocado salad with blueberry balsamic dressing 
- 85 g blueberries
- 2 tsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 tbsp extra virgin rapeseed oil
- 125 g fresh baby broad beans
- 1 avocado sliced
- 1 large cooked beetroot, finely chopped
- 175 g cooked chicken
- 85 g mixed baby leaf salad
- Chop the garlic. In a large bowl, mash half the blueberries with the oil, black pepper and vinegar.
- Boil the baby beans for 5 minutes until tender.
- Add the garlic, beans, beetroot, avocado, salad leaves, chicken and the remaining blueberries into the dressing.
- Toss it and serve.
Instant frozen berry yogurt 
- 250 g frozen mixed berries
- 1 tbsp honey
- 250 g Greek yogurt
- Blend berries, Greek yogurt and honey in a food blender until smooth.
- Serve and enjoy!
-  Rodriguez-Mateos, A., Cifuentes-Gomez, T., Tabatabaee, S., Lecras, C., & Spencer, J. P. (2012). Procyanidin, anthocyanin, and chlorogenic acid contents of highbush and lowbush blueberries.Journal of agricultural and food chemistry,60(23), 5772-5778.
-  Mazza, G., Kay, C. D., Cottrell, T., & Holub, B. J. (2002). Absorption of anthocyanins from blueberries and serum antioxidant status in human subjects.Journal of agricultural and food chemistry,50(26), 7731-7737.
-  Kay, C. D., & Holub, B. J. (2002). The effect of wild blueberry (Vaccinium angustifolium) consumption on postprandial serum antioxidant status in human subjects.British Journal of Nutrition,88(4), 389-397.
-  Davicco, M. J., Wittrant, Y., & Coxam, V. (2016). Berries, their micronutrients and bone health.Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition & Metabolic Care,19(6), 453-457.
-  Basu, A., Du, M., Leyva, M. J., Sanchez, K., Betts, N. M., Wu, M., ... & Lyons, T. J. (2010). Blueberries decrease cardiovascular risk factors in obese men and women with metabolic syndrome.The Journal of nutrition,140(9), 1582-1587.
-  King's College London. (2019, February 20). The 'blue' in blueberries can help lower blood pressure.ScienceDaily.
-  Boivin, D., Blanchette, M., Barrette, S., Moghrabi, A., & Beliveau, R. (2007). Inhibition of cancer cell proliferation and suppression of TNF-induced activation of NFκB by edible berry juice.Anticancer research,27(2), 937-948.
-  Cassidy, A., Mukamal, K. J., Liu, L., Franz, M., Eliassen, A. H., & Rimm, E. B. (2013). High anthocyanin intake is associated with a reduced risk of myocardial infarction in young and middle-aged women.Circulation,127(2), 188-196.
-  Wu, T., Tang, Q., Gao, Z., Yu, Z., Song, H., Zheng, X., & Chen, W. (2013). Blueberry and mulberry juice prevent obesity development in C57BL/6 mice.PloS one,8(10), e77585.
-  Vuong, T., Martineau, L. C., Ramassamy, C., Matar, C., & Haddad, P. S. (2007). Fermented Canadian lowbush blueberry juice stimulates glucose uptake and AMP-activated protein kinase in insulin-sensitive cultured muscle cells and adipocytes.Canadian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology,85(9), 956-965.
-  Willis, L. M., Shukitt-Hale, B., & Joseph, J. A. (2009). Recent advances in berry supplementation and age-related cognitive decline.Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition & Metabolic Care,12(1), 91-94.
-  Krikorian, R., Shidler, M. D., Nash, T. A., Kalt, W., Vinqvist-Tymchuk, M. R., Shukitt-Hale, B., & Joseph, J. A. (2010). Blueberry supplementation improves memory in older adults.Journal of agricultural and food chemistry,58(7), 3996–4000.
-  Cheng, A., Yan, H., Han, C., Wang, W., Tian, Y., & Chen, X. (2014). Polyphenols from blueberries modulate inflammation cytokines in LPS-induced RAW264. 7 macrophages.International journal of biological macromolecules,69, 382-387.
-  McLeay, Y., Barnes, M. J., Mundel, T., Hurst, S. M., Hurst, R. D., & Stannard, S. R. (2012). Effect of New Zealand blueberry consumption on recovery from eccentric exercise-induced muscle damage.Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition,9(1), 19.
-  Jepson, R. G., & Craig, J. C. (2007). A systematic review of the evidence for cranberries and blueberries in UTI prevention.Molecular nutrition & food research,51(6), 738-745.
-  Khalid, S., Barfoot, K. L., May, G., Lamport, D. J., Reynolds, S. A., & Williams, C. M. (2017). Effects of Acute Blueberry Flavonoids on Mood in Children and Young Adults.Nutrients,9(2), 158.
-  Xu, N., Meng, H., Liu, T., Feng, Y., Qi, Y., Zhang, D., & Wang, H. (2017). Blueberry phenolics reduce gastrointestinal infection of patients with cerebral venous thrombosis by improving depressant-induced autoimmune disorder via miR-155-mediated brain-derived neurotrophic factor.Frontiers in pharmacology,8, 853.
-  https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/chicken-avocado-salad-blueberry-balsamic-dressing
-  https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/2407638/instant-frozen-berry-yogurt