Although the term “superfood” is so overused these days that it has almost lost its value, one of the original superfoods continues to remind us how it gained its legendary status and why it is so superior over much of the competition. Recent research has provided us with some new insight into the health potential of blueberries when it comes to four important aspects of health. Here’s a look at what we now know.
One of the most talked-about benefits of blueberries is their effect on brain health. Now, research shows that these delicious fruits can lower Alzheimer’s disease risk factors like the accumulation of plaques in the brain, which contributes to the illness. A recent study in mice showed that giving a supplement of blueberries, omega 3s and phosphatidylserine lowered the amount of plaque formation in just seven months while also reducing indicators of oxidative stress. In addition, there was a rise in the neurotransmitters that help send impulses between neurons; a deficiency of these is linked to Alzheimer’s disease.
It’s no secret that vision tends to get poorer as you age, and one of the top causes of blindness among elderly people is age-related macular degeneration. This is often caused by light-induced damage. Blueberries can reduce lipid peroxidation, protecting the retinafrom daily light exposure and lowering the chance of blindness.
In a study published in the International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition, blueberry supplementation in mice with high cholesterol reduced their risk factors for atherosclerosis. Those who took the extract noted a 29 percent reduction in total cholesterol, with bad cholesterol dropping by 34 percent and good cholesterol rising by up to 40 percent, despite consuming a high-fat diet. In addition, triglycerides – a fat that turns normal cells into fat cells – and homocysteine – which causes inflammation in arterial walls – were both reduced by half.
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Balance and mobility
As you get older, your mobility also takes a hit, and if you’ve got chronic illnesses or are overweight, it can be particularly severe and cause further complications like incontinence.
A study that was published in Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism demonstrated the power of blueberries in this regard. When elderly participants with poor mobility consumed two cups of blueberries per day over the course of six weeks, they noted significant improvements in their movement and steadiness of gait, which could reduce their risk of falling. In addition, their movements were faster, they had fewer errors when stepping, and their overall foot placement and balance improved.
Getting the benefits of blueberries
Rich in antioxidants like anthocyanidins, this is one fruit you shouldn’t skip if you care about your health. Of course, reaching for a slice of blueberry pie or plowing through a stack of blueberry pancakes isn’t going to do your health any favors! Although blueberries are delicious on their own, they’re often included in processed foods and sugary desserts, which are only going to cause more harm than good.
If you want to harness the benefits of blueberries, eat fresh, whole, organic berries or look for a high-quality powder if you’re not a fan of the fresh fruit or you’re not able to eat enough of it to make a difference. It’s essential that you choose organic berries and powders to avoid the dangers of pesticides, which can easily contaminate this fruit thanks to its very soft skin.
Blueberries are great on their own, or you can mix them with plain yogurt and some honey, add them to oatmeal, or use them to sweeten up a green salad.
Although blueberries already boast an impressive list of benefits, scientists are still discovering even more of this fruit’s superpowers. If you’re not already consuming blueberries regularly, it’s time to incorporate them into your meals!
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Author: Isabelle Z.