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7 Benefits of Blueberries for Your Health

Do not let the size fool you. Blueberries are packed with nutrients along with powerful antioxidants that protect the body against damage. With so many health benefits, it's not "berry" hard to appreciate and value blueberries!

7 Benefits of Blueberries for Your Health


Do not let the size or name fool you... Those small berries will not have you feeling blue! Blueberries are jam-packed with nutrients along with powerful antioxidants that protect the body against damage. With so many health benefits, it's not "berry" hard to appreciate and value blueberries!

Nutrition of Blueberries

Before jumping right into the health benefits of blueberries, it may be worthwhile to better understand the nutritional profile of the small, but mighty berries. One cup of blueberries...

...offers 85 calories with 3.6 grams of fiber.
...provides the following daily values: 32% of vitamin K, 25% of manganese, 24% of vitamin C, and 9% of copper.
...is extremely low in fat, containing a small total of 0.5 grams.

Blueberries can certainly be enjoyed on their own. But since protein lacks in blueberries (about 1 gram per cup) complimenting with a protein-rich food can help increase fullness. Pair blueberries with cottage cheese, add to a peanut butter sandwich, top onto Greek yogurt, throw into smoothies (http://allrecipes.com/recipes/16130/drinks/smoothies/blueberry/), or prepare blueberry protein pancakes (http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/20-best-healthy-protein-pancake-recipes.html)!

7 Blueberry Benefits

1. Promotes Heart Health
Individuals generally believe reducing fat, cholesterol, and sodium contributes to good heart health. Though those reductions may be beneficial, blueberries and associated properties also offer heart health properties. Blueberries' powerful antioxidant content may further reduce heart disease risk. Additionally, the large amount of vitamin K has an imperative role in effective blood clotting.

2. Keeps You Regular
One cup of blueberries offers almost four grams of fiber, a plant-component known to improve digestive health and bowel regularity. Fiber recommendations vary among gender - 38 grams per day for males and 25 grams per day for females.

3. Weight Loss and Maintenance
Foods low in calorie but high in fiber can promote weight loss and maintenance. One cup of raw blueberries offers approximately 80 calories and as mentioned above, close to four grams of fiber. Since blueberries are naturally sweet, their intake can fulfil a hankering sweet tooth without packing on calories from sugar-laden desserts.

4. Good for the Brain
Specifically related to its gallic acid content, blueberries may boost focus and memory. Gallic acid is known as "neuro-protective" and can protect the brain against deterioration and neurotoxicity, a condition in which the brain is exposed to a neurotoxin and alters or damages nerve function.

5. Fights Against Cancer
Cancer can be a damaging and debilitating disease, with statistics suggesting approximately 40 percent of men and women will be diagnosed in their lifetime. Research has shown gallic acid induces apoptosis, or cell death, of harmful cancer cells without disrupting healthy, normal cells (specifically in cervical cancer).

6. Skin Care
Blueberries feature several antioxidant compounds that may be extremely effective in not only the appearance of skin, but the reduction of skin cancer. Specifically, its vitamin C content promotes collagen synthesis and gallic acid may counteract skin wrinkles and dryness.

7. Live Longer
Optimized health typically promotes longevity. With reduced risk of chronic diseases and taxing health conditions, individuals can not only live longer, but live with longer quality. Additionally, the antioxidants found in blueberries demonstrate anti-aging properties.

Reference:
Zhoa B, Hu M. Gallic acid reduces cell viability, proliferation, invasion and angiogenesis in human cervical cancer cells. Oncology Letters. 2013;6(6):1749-1755. doi:10.3892/ol.2013.1632.

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