Eating a handful of blueberries every day could be the difference between having hypertension or normal blood pressure. Blueberries have been used for medicinal purposes since their discovery. Native Americans called them star berries because of their star-shaped flower blossoms. Blueberries are famous for their antioxidant superfood reputation as they are low in calories and high in nutrition. They have several medicinal uses that are only increasing as we make more discoveries about their “magical” properties, like having the power to significantly improve heart health.
Decreased Risk of Cancer
Blueberries have recently been found to reduce cancer cells, specifically cervical cancer. Researchers tested the effect of blueberry extract on cervical cancer cells and the cells were reduced by 25%. But then, when combined with cancer radiation therapy, the cancerous cells were reduced by 70%. This is extremely promising as blueberries are extremely inexpensive and easily accessible. More research must be done, but blueberries could be a fantastic natural cancer treatment.
Decreased Aging Effects
Blueberries have the potential to slow aging effects on brain cells and can protect memory-related portions of the brain. There are studies that also state that blueberries can increase your lifespan. Mammals showed an increase in longevity and slowed the aging process when supplemented with blueberry extract.
Increased Brain Function
Blueberries, also known as the brain berry, have been proven repeatedly to improve memory and concentration, reduce risks of Alzheimer’s disease, and provide dopamine! Drinking even just one ounce of blueberry juice a day can drastically change brain activity and blood flow.
Blueberries are mostly carbohydrates and fiber, which enables them to help with Type 2 diabetes. Fiber is known for slowing down digestion and the slower the body processes sugar the better for people with Type 2 diabetes. The antioxidants that make plants and berries colorful, known more specifically as anthocyanins, can help boost immunity but also increase insulin sensitivity. This can improve the body’s intake of glucose and when you have Type 2 Diabetes, this is extremely important, making blueberries a fantastic aid.
Muscle Damage Post Exercise
If you suffer from extra sore muscles after you work out, blueberries might be your answer! New research has shown that the antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties in blueberries can help muscles recover faster post-workout. Blueberries contain chemical compounds such as pterostilbene, anthocyanins, proanthocyanidins, resveratrol, flavanols, and tannins that inhibit inflammation in the body. This means that the micro-tears that happen to make muscles sore will minimize and thus decrease the sore feeling.
Prevents Heart Disease and Lowers Blood Pressure
One of the newest known benefits to eating blueberries has been illustrated in a recently released study. It has been found that eating just a single serving of blueberries every day for a month can lead to an improvement in blood vessel function and a decrease in systolic blood pressure.
The study monitored participants’ blood pressure as well as chemicals in their blood and urine. Researchers also kept track of the brachial artery’s flow-mediated dilation (FMD). This dilation measures the size that the artery widens to when blood flow increases. The level to which an artery widens is considered a biomarker of cardiovascular disease risk, so the smaller the artery, the bigger the risk.
Results of the 30-day study revealed the long-lasting drastic effects that consuming blueberries can have on arteries. Data was recorded based on participants drinking a specific blueberry drink. This drink contained purified anthocyanins, which are the colorful antioxidants that make blueberries blue and purple. The antioxidants in the drink led to major improvements in inner blood vessel inflammation, immunity, and blood flow. The cells that line blood vessels are a barrier between blood and the rest of your body tissue. These cells help prevent blood clots, and they regulate blood pressure, so the healthier these cells are the better.
Members who drank this drink observed benefits just two hours after consumption and those gains were noted to last for 30 days. Concluding the study, researchers were able to determine that after one month of consuming the blueberry drink, participants’ blood pressure was reduced by 5mmHg. This measurement is equivalent to the blood pressure reduction measurement made by certain blood pressure medications. This will enable those who have blood pressure problems but can’t afford or don’t have access to medication to consume blueberries instead of medication.
Why does this happen?
The potential health benefits of blueberries may be due to the possible vascular effects of the colorful antioxidants that make blueberries blue. These antioxidants are called Anthocyanins, a type of flavonoid, which are a class of chemical compounds with antioxidant effects. The study analyzed which role blueberry anthocyanins play in mediating improvements in vascular function.
If the changes seen in blood vessel function after eating blueberries daily could be sustained for a person’s whole life, it could reduce their risk of developing cardiovascular disease by up to 20%.