Blueberries – A Super Food That Can Change Your Life
How can a little blueberry pack a huge punch of health from such a tiny package? Not to get too technical, but it’s important to note that a type of flavonoid called anthocyanin gives blueberries many of their health benefits. Flavonoids are plant compounds that often have a powerful antioxidant effect. Anthocyanin is responsible for the blueberry’s characteristic blue color. It also contributes to the numerous advantages of blueberries.
Blueberries contain iron, phosphorous, calcium, magnesium, manganese, zinc, and vitamin K. Each of these is a component of bone. Adequate intake of these minerals and vitamins contributes to building and maintaining bone structure and strength. Iron and zinc fulfill crucial roles in maintaining the strength and elasticity of bones and joints.Low intakes of vitamin K have been linked to a higher risk of bone fracture. However, adequate vitamin K intake improves calcium absorption and may reduce calcium loss.
Collagen is the support system of the skin. It relies on vitamin C as an essential nutrient, and works to help prevent skin damage caused by the sun, pollution, and smoke. Vitamin C may also improve collagen’s ability to smooth wrinkles and enhance overall skin texture. One cup of blueberries provides 24 percent of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin C.
Consuming a variety of fruits and vegetables has long been associated with a reduced risk of many lifestyle-related health conditions. Many studies have suggested that increasing consumption of plant foods such as blueberries decreases the risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and overall mortality. Plant foods may also promote hair and skin health, increased energy, and overall lower weight. Maintaining low sodium levels is essential to keeping blood pressure at a healthful level. Blueberries are free of sodium.
They contain potassium, calcium, and magnesium. Some studies have shown that diets low in these minerals are associated with higher blood pressure. Adequate dietary intake of these minerals is thought to help reduce blood pressure.
Wild blueberries are particularly potent. They are smaller than the cultivated versions most often found in your supermarket, with about twice the number of berries per pound. They also have less water and a higher skin-to-pulp ratio. That means the wild versions have more intense flavor and double the antioxidant content.
During the spring and summer months, enjoy blueberries fresh. Out of season, you can easily find them frozen or dried. Add them to salads, non-dairy yogurt, oatmeal, or smoothies. Or just eat them by the handful. Making one simple change to your diet by adding blueberries could have a significant impact on creating healthier eating habits.
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