Fresh off the bush or gathered at the market, blueberries rank right up there with swimming pools and fireworks this time of year. That’s because July is peak season to pick them, and some would agree, the best time to eat them. Still, there’s much more to this popular tiny fruit than you might imagine.
Slows aging and fights disease
A blueberry’s blue hue comes from the plant compound anthocyanin, a flavonoid that provides amazing health benefits through a powerful antioxidant effect. Antioxidants protect the body from free radicals that can damage your cells and contribute to aging and diseases. One study* showed that regular consumption of anthocyanins can reduce the risk of heart attack by an impressive 32 percent in young and middle-aged women.
Promotes a healthy heart
Blueberries give a powerful punch to heart disease. The little blue wonders are free of cholesterol as well as high in fiber, which helps reduce bad cholesterol in the blood. And their high levels of Vitamin C, potassium, folate and vitamin B6 further support a healthy heart. Recent research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition show that eating 5.25 ounces of blueberries daily reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease by up to 15%.
Maintains healthy bones
Just like your bones, blueberries contain iron, phosphorous, calcium, magnesium, zinc and vitamin K. Keeping a basketful of berries in your fridge for quick snacks or favorite recipes could help you build and maintain a stronger bone structure.
Lowers blood pressure
Having low-sodium levels are important to help maintain healthy blood pressure. Blueberries are sodium-free – another great perk. Plus, they contain potassium, calcium, and magnesium, which studies have found to help reduce blood pressure with adequate amounts of consumption.
A blueberry’s healthy concentration of vitamin C, vitamin A and active antioxidants help to prevent cancer. This includes inhibiting tumor growth and weakening many types of cancer, including those of the lung, mouth, pancreas, prostate and colon.
Hungry for more?
Try this heart-healthy blueberry recipe from the American Heart Association.
Avocado Blueberry – Avo-Berry Muffins
Per serving: 166 calories, 4g protein, 2g fiber
Cooking spray (optional)
1 medium avocado (halved, pitted, mashed with a fork)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup fat-free milk
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/16 teaspoon salt
2 cups blueberries
• Preheat the oven to 375°F. Lightly spray a standard 12-cup muffin pan with cooking spray or line it with paper bake cups.
• In a large bowl, stir together the avocado, sugar, milk, eggs and vanilla.
• In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, ginger and salt.
• In two to three batches, stir the flour mixture into the avocado mixture until just combined but no flour is visible; don’t overmix. Gently fold in the blueberries. Spoon the batter into the muffin cups.
• Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and the muffins are golden brown, turning the pan once after 15 minutes of baking time.
• Transfer the pan to a cooling rack. Let stand for 5 minutes.
*Harvard School of Public Health and the University of East Anglia in the United Kingdom
Ware, M. (2018) How can antioxidants benefit our health? Retrieved from medicalnewstoday.com.
Ware, M. (2017) Everything you need to know about blueberries. Retrieved from medicalnewstoday.com.
DiSalvo, D. (2019) Eating Blueberries Daily May Reduce Risk of Heart Disease, Even if Risk Is Already High, Study Finds., Retrieved from Forbes.com.