You’ve probably heard the term “superfood” and have seen it applied to all sorts of foods. According to Live Science, “Superfoods are foods — mostly plant-based but also some fish and dairy — thought to be nutritionally dense and thus good for one’s health. However, there are no set criteria for determining what is and what is not a superfood.” It is really more of a marketing term.
Regardless whether superfoods are a “thing” or not, blueberries definitely are super. They are chock full of phytochemicals and antioxidants which give blueberries a number of health benefits to go along with their delicious taste, including:
Arterial Health. A study published in the Royal Society of Chemistry in 2014 and reported by nutritionfacts.org found that “A single serving of blueberry [can help mediate the] arterial dysfunction induced by smoking a cigarette.” Smoke a single cigarette, and the ability of your arteries to relax naturally drops 25% within two hours. “But, eat two cups of blueberries a hundred minutes before, and that same cigarette causes less than half the damage, demonstrating that a single big serving of…frozen blueberry could counteract the artery dysfunction induced by smoking.”
The study authors noted that “blueberry consumption cannot be considered a means of preventing health consequences due to smoking; this can only be realized by stopping smoking, or even better, not smoking in the first place.”
Cholesterol Benefits. LDL is the “bad” cholesterol in our system and the oxidation of LDL is a player in the heart disease process. Studies have found that the antioxidants in blueberries are linked to reduced levels of oxidized LDL. One study found that a 50mg serving of blueberries reduced LDL oxidation by 27% in obese study participants.
Blood Pressure. Blueberries appear to have a slight positive effect on blood pressure. One study found a 4-6% reduction in blood pressure after eight weeks of consuming serving of blueberries daily.
The arterial, cholesterol and blood pressure benefits have also translated into evidence that blueberry consumption may help prevent heart attacks. A study of 93,600 nurses found that consumption of anthocyanins (one of the main antioxidants in blueberries) was related to a 32% lower risk of heart attacks.
Muscle Recovery. Consumption of blueberries has been found to help relieve delayed onset muscle soreness after a workout and help reduce the time it takes for muscles to recover.
Brain Health. The consumption of blueberries and strawberries is associated with delayed cognitive aging by as much as 2.5 years based on a study over six years of 16,010 elderly participants.
Killer Cells. Regular and consistent blueberry consumption has been found to boost your natural killer cells which are a type of white blood cells critical to our immune systems and fight viral infections and battle cancer cells.
Another IFOD about a superfood: Go Nuts!
Have a nice Memorial Day Weekend!