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Blueberries

This article is part of a larger article titled "100+ Healthiest Foods On Planet Earth."  Read it here.

Blueberries Nutritional Information (per 100g)

Water: 84.2 g
Calories: 57 kcal
Protein: 0.7 g
Carbohydrate: 14.5 g
Dietary fiber: 2.4 g
Sugars: 10 g
Fat: 0.3 g
Polyunsaturated fat: 0.1 g
Vitamin C: 9.7 mg
Vitamin B3: 0.4 mg
Vitamin B6: 0.1 mg
Vitamin B9: 6 μg
Vitamin A: 3 μg
Vitamin E: 0.6 mg
Vitamin K: 19.3 μg
Calcium: 6 mg
Iron: 0.3 mg
Magnesium: 6 mg
Phosphorus: 12 mg
Potassium: 77 mg
Sodium: 1 mg
Zinc: 0.2 mg

Blueberries have long been touted as the superfood that everyone should include in their diet and there is growing scientific evidence for some of the claims relating to the health benefits of blueberries, including lowering blood pressure, preventing heart disease and fighting cancer.

Lower blood pressure. A recent study looked at how consuming freeze-dried blueberries on a daily basis can help to lower blood pressure in postmenopausal women.

The researchers followed 48 women over 8 weeks; their blood pressure was measured at the beginning, at 4 weeks and at the end of the trial. A control group received a placebo and the study was conducted on a double blind basis.

The results showed that there was no improvement for the women who received the placebo powder, but those who received the blueberry powder did experience lower blood pressure. This lead to the conclusion that regular consumption of blueberries can help to lower blood pressure in hypertensive patients.

Lower risk of developing diabetes. This study looked at a huge amount of data relating to which foods carried a higher risk of causing type 2 diabetes.

The researchers waded through information on nearly 190,000 people and came to the conclusion that consuming 3 portions of blueberries, grapes and apples each week was linked to a far lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes than many other foods, with blueberries having the lowest risk.

Help prevent heart disease. Blueberries are packed full of an antioxidant called anthocyanin, which has long been thought beneficial in maintaining heart health.

A study collated data from a long-term study of more than 93,000 women, aged between 25 and 42 years old, over an 18 year period. Their lifestyles and diets were examined and then cross-referenced with incidents of heart attacks.

The results suggested that consumption of anthocyanin-rich blueberries and strawberries, at least 3 times a week, helped to lower the risk of experiencing a heart attack.

Help fight against cancer. Natural killer cells are an important part of the immune system and play a pivotal role in the fight against cancer. In 2014, a study was published that looked at the effect blueberry consumption might have on these cells.

25 men and women participated in the trial; half of the group were given blueberry powder to consume daily that was equivalent to 250g of berries, the other half were given a placebo.

Tests were performed before the trial began and then again after 6 weeks. The group that consumed the blueberry powder experienced an increase in the number of natural killer cells, whereas the placebo group did not.

The researchers concluded that regular consumption of blueberries could help increase the number of natural killer cells, which in turn can help in the fight against cancer.

Improve age-related cognitive decline. A study looked at how anthocyanin-rich foods affected cognitive function on a long-term basis. Beginning in 1980, a questionnaire was given to more than 16,000 participants every 4 years, with the aim of recording their dietary habits.

Between 1995 and 2001, the researchers began examining the cognitive functions of participants who were 70 years of age or older and continued with follow-up assessments every 2 years.

The results found that the participants who consumed the highest levels of blueberries and strawberries experienced cognitive decline at a far slower rate than those who did not. This concluded that regular consumption of berries is key to maintaining cognitive health, particularly in old age.