The Top Ways Blueberries Improve Your Health, According to an RD

These little purple fruits pack plenty of antioxidants, vitamin C, and more.  

Did you know that blueberries are not only delicious but a total health powerhouse? It doesn't take much convincing to consume more of this fruit, but as it turns out, the benefits of blueberries are extensive, ranging from amping up your memory to fighting cancer. We got the scoop on the top ways eating blueberries can improve your health from Naturipe Nutrition Expert, Jenn LaVardera, RD.

Heart Health

Blueberries have been shown to improve heart health. How much do you need to reap the benefits? A cup per day is the perfect amount to sprinkle over a bowl of cottage cheese or Greek yogurt (add some chopped nuts to complete a healthy breakfast). Here's what you can expect if you up your intake.

Blood Pressure Reduction

Incorporating a cup of blueberries per day can significantly help with high blood pressure. A study from Florida State University found that participants who consumed that amount for eight weeks saw a 5 to 6 percent drop in both systolic and diastolic blood pressure. "This was likely due to the vitamin C, potassium, fiber, and phytonutrients naturally found in blueberries," explains LaVardera.

Lowered Heart Attack Risk

In addition to the hypertension benefits, LaVardera says there's no doubt that eating blueberries is good for your heart. The Nurses Health Study was launched in 1976 and is one of the largest investigations into heart health and women. Results from 93,600 women showed a clear link between eating foods high in anthocyanins (such as blueberries) and a lower risk of a heart attack. "Other animal research has confirmed a link between eating anthocyanin-rich foods and lower risk of heart attack," states LaVardera.

Brain Health

Not only is that handful of blueberries in your morning oatmeal delicious, but it could be significantly contributing to the health of your brain. "Blueberries are packed with anthocyanins, a type of flavonoid antioxidant compound that gives these berries their blue color," says LaVardera. This antioxidant could help improve your memory and mental health.

Memory Loss Reversal

Research has shown that the anti-inflammatory anthocyanin in blueberries can help reverse age-related decline in brain function. In one study, nine older adults were given wild blueberry juice for 12 weeks and showed improvement in memory tests. In another study, a blueberry-enriched diet was shown to help improve memory among older rats.

Improved Mental Health

No, it's not just because eating blueberries in the sunshine makes you happy (although that doesn't hurt!). "Blueberries are thought to be a natural mood enhancer, and there's research to back it up," says LaVardera. She points to a 2017 study, which linked consuming blueberries to an improved positive mood in children and adults, possibly due to their flavonoid content. The positive effect occurred two hours after consuming blueberries, so eat up at breakfast and you may feel yourself perk up by lunch.

Overall Health

Blueberries are an easy fruit to eat regularly. They are available year-round, making it easy to incorporate them into your diet. When possible, though, try eating locally grown, in-season fruit for an extra dimension of tartness and an almost perfume-like aroma. Here's how these berries could impact your overall health.

Increased Fiber Intake

From a dietary standpoint, blueberries have always been a good choice because of their natural sweetness and fiber content, making them a much better treat to reach for than something with added sugar. Consuming an adequate amount of fiber can keep you fuller longer and also help regulate your blood sugar.

Cancer Prevention

This superfood could also help prevent disease. "Blueberries have been shown to fight cancer by blocking inflammation, preventing DNA damage, and killing cancerous cells," explains LaVardera. She cautions that more research is needed to confirm these effects, but the lab studies are promising for blueberries as cancer-fighting agents.

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