Blueberries are a superfood that can provide substantial health benefits. They’re packed with nutrients, such as fiber, vitamin C, and manganese. Blueberries also contain special antioxidants that may ward off disease.
The small fruit has been known to boost heart health, protect against cancer, improve memory, and offer many more health perks.
This article discusses the benefits of eating blueberries, nutritional information, and how to include more of them in your diet.
What’s a Superfood Anyway?
Although not a scientific, regulated term, “superfood” generally describes a nutrient-dense food that offers health benefits, such as disease prevention.
Benefits Packed Inside Blueberries
Blueberries contain compounds that may improve your health and prevent some common diseases.
Blueberries and Flavonoids
Blueberries get their bright color from flavonoids, special plant compounds that provide many health benefits.
Boost Heart Health
Blueberries contain a type of flavonoid called anthocyanins, which may protect your heart. In one study, women who ate anthocyanin-rich foods, such as blueberries and strawberries, three or more times a week lowered their risk for a heart attack by 32%.
The fiber content in blueberries may also provide heart benefits. Studies have found high dietary fiber intake can lower incidence and death rates due to heart disease.
Blueberries have one of the highest concentrations of disease-fighting antioxidants, which may protect against cancer. Some research has shown blueberry extract can help sensitize cancer cells to the effects of radiation treatment. The antioxidants in blueberries may also reduce abnormal cell growth, which feeds cancer.
Eating blueberries may help improve your memory recall. Researchers believe the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects of the fruit are responsible for boosting brain health. One study found that adding at least one serving of blueberries a week to a person’s diet slowed cognitive decline in older women by 2.5 years.
Help Gut Health
The high fiber content in blueberries could improve your digestive health. Additionally, the berries are rich in compounds that act like prebiotics, which promote healthy bacteria in the gut.
Eating blueberries may support your eye health. Anthocyanins found in the fruit have protective properties that can protect your sight. They may also help slow vision loss in eye conditions like macular degeneration and retinitis pigmentosa.
The vitamin C in blueberries may support the formation of collagen in the skin and prevent skin damage caused by the sun. Just 1 cup of blueberries contains 24% of your daily allowance of vitamin C.
Aid in Muscle Recovery
Some research shows that blueberry supplements may lessen soreness after physical activity. In a study, athletes who drank blueberry smoothies before and after their workouts experienced accelerated muscle recovery.
Help Manage Diabetes
Blueberries are high in fiber and lower in sugar than other types of fruit. This combination helps prevent your blood sugar levels from spiking. Some studies suggest that adding blueberries to your diet may lower your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Blueberries are loaded with vitamins and minerals that aid in maintaining bone strength. These include calcium, magnesium, vitamin K, iron, phosphorus, zinc, and manganese.
How Many Blueberries Should You Eat in a Day?
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommends eating about 2 cups of a variety of fruit daily for most adults, which could include blueberries. Consuming too much of anything can make you feel sick, so it’s a good idea not to overdo it.
Single Blueberry Serving: Nutrition Facts
One cup of blueberries contains the following:
- Calories: 84.4
- Fiber: 3.55 grams (g)
- Carbohydrates: 21.5 g
- Sugar: 14.7 g
- Vitamin C: 14.4 milligrams (mg)
- Calcium: 8.88 mg
- Iron: 0.414 mg
- Magnesium: 8.88 mg
- Phosphorous: 17.8 mg
- Manganese: 0.497 mg
- Vitamin K: 28.6 micrograms (mcg)
How Do Blueberries Compare to Other Berries?
Berries, in general, have a good nutritional profile. While blueberries might contain more of a particular nutrient, other berries might provide different benefits.
Sugar in Blueberries
One cup of raw blueberries contains about 15 grams of sugar. While this is a moderate amount of sugar, it’s important to remember that blueberries contain natural sugars. They are better for you than refined sugars commonly found in processed foods. What’s more, research has shown that the fruit can provide positive health effects for people with diabetes.
Blueberries are also a low FODMAP (fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols) food, which means even though they contain sugar, they shouldn’t cause intestinal distress.
How to Shop for Blueberries
When buying fresh blueberries, look for plump, deep blue with a slightly gray dusting on their surface. Blueberries that have a red hue to them are underripe.
Should Anyone Not Eat Blueberries?
People who are allergic to blueberries should avoid the fruit. Also, because they contain a lot of fiber, eating too many can cause gut issues for some people.
Nutrient-Dense Blueberry Ideas
Blueberries are easy to incorporate into snacks and meals. You can add them to:
Adding them to a salad with multiple fruits or veggies is even better. You’ll enjoy the health benefits of blueberries and the nutrients these other foods provide.
Blueberries are a delicious fruit that offers various health benefits, including boosting heart health, improving memory, preventing cancer, improving gut health, and more. Incorporating them into your diet could provide disease protection. But blueberries alone won’t make you healthy. A balanced diet and regular exercise are the best ways to ensure overall wellness.