Today, blueberries have a rockstar reputation among fruits. Blueberries are a rich source of vitamins and minerals that keep your body and mind healthy for decades. Blueberries are also the richest food source of pterostilbene, a close relative of longevity promoting resveratrol. Pterostilbene has been shown to slow down brain aging and support memory and lucidity.
Along with fiber, blueberries contain powerful phytochemicals called anthocyanins, super cell protective antioxidants, which give these berries their deep blue color. Blueberries are also rich in cancer fighting plant catechins, flavonoids such quercitin and ellagic acid (also found in raspberries and pomegranates). Blueberries make the perfect snack and can be used for sauces, salads, in shakes and herbal teas. Try adding some flax seeds and blueberries to yogurt or to whole grain muffins. While this is a good way to incorporate blueberries into your diet, you are probably wondering why you need to do this, right? Well, some of the many health benefits of blueberries are listed below.
- Catechins found in blueberries activate fat-burning genes in abdominal fat cells to assist with weight loss, and belly fat loss in particular. According to research at Tufts University, regularly ingesting catechins increases abdominal fat loss by 77 percent and double total weight loss.
- They contain a group of natural phytonutrients (plant nutrient) called proanthocyanidins which have a unique ability to protect both the watery and fatty parts of the brain against damage from some environmental toxins.
- In animal studies, those given an extract of blueberries had less motor skill decline and performed better on memory tests than animals not given the blueberries. Researchers conclude that compounds in blueberries may reverse some age-related memory loss and motor skill decline.
- They are a rich source of the phytonutrients ellagic acid. Ellagic acid has proven anticancer and genetic-material-protection capabilities. It also encourages a healthy rate of apoptosis—how the body seeks out and destroys harmful or damaged cells, like cancer cells.
- Blueberries are excellent anti-inflammatory agents. They increase the amounts of compounds called heat-shock proteins that decrease as people age. When heat shock proteins decrease the result is inflammation and damage, particularly in the brain. Research shows that by eating blueberries regularly, inflammation lessens.
- They increase the production of feel-good dopamine. Dopamine is a natural neurotransmitter (brain messenger) that tends to be low in Parkinson’s.
- Blueberries contain salicylic acid—the natural version of aspirin. Salicylic acid is known to thin the blood and reduce pain.
- Because they contain plentiful amounts of the phytonutrient quercetin, they may reduce the likelihood and severity of allergies.