Hello my dear readers,
Some time ago we have discovered the blueberries and we have seen how they are cultivated, stored, how are used in the kitchen, their nutritional values and properties.
The blueberry is a small shrub with a height between 20 and 60 cm. The leaves are oval and light green in color and have a very slow growth. The flowers are white and have a typical inverted jar shape like all Ericaceae. Flowering occurs in May, while fruiting takes place in July – August. The fruits are small bluish berries.
This small berry is a real miracle for the health of our body, the benefits, in fact, are many, from burning excess fat to improving our memory, to preventing and fighting the cystitis.
Moreover, they are also very versatile, they can be used for infusions, juices, extracts, they can be eaten fresh, mixed in sweet and savory dishes.
The botanical name is Vaccinium myrtillus.
These fruits, in addition to being edible, are also rich in anthocyanins which give them the typical pigmentation.
In addition, the dried leaves and fruits harvested in summer are used for medicinal purposes.
Blueberries are wildly popular around the world, are very tasty but low in calories and are often considered as a superfood.
Let’s see 5 proven health benefits of blueberries:
1. Blueberries are the antioxidant fruit par excellence
It is now known that the antioxidant properties of blueberry are unique and very important for our health.
Most of the research studying the benefits of blueberries on our health looks at their phytonutrient content. Anthocyanins (the antioxidant that give them the wonderful shades of blue, purple, and red) are usually the first phytonutrients to be mentioned in blueberry descriptions and their amazing health properties. There is actually a variety of phytonutrients contained in this little fruit that are just as useful.
Virtually all of the phytonutrients have both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory functions and are primarily responsible for the many health benefits obtained from regular blueberry intake.
Blueberry is therefore an excellent antioxidant, it has the highest antioxidant properties of all fresh fruits and vegetables.
Antioxidants are essential for maintaining good health by helping to fight free radicals that can damage cell structures such as DNA.
It is preferable to consume fresh blueberries rather than blueberries contained in sweets or desserts because, like all fruits, fresh blueberries have a more natural flavor and contain greater nutritional properties.
New studies clearly indicate that it is possible to freeze blueberries without harming their delicate anthocyanin antioxidants. After freezing at a temperature of at least -17°C for a period of 3-6 months, the researchers found no significant reduction in the antioxidant properties of the blueberry or in the anthocyanin concentrations.
It is therefore possible to consume blueberries throughout the year, freezing them directly or finding them in the freezer section of the supermarket.
Another recent study compared the global antioxidant properties of organic blueberries against that of non-organically grown blueberries and it clearly emerged that the former have significantly higher concentrations of antioxidants than those grown in a traditional way.
2. Blueberries are low in calories but high in nutritional values
Blueberries have 47 Kcal per 100g (both fresh and frozen) and are a good source of vitamins and minerals and their recommended portion is 150g of fresh product.
Thanks to their aqueous component, which exceeds 85% of their weight and the amount of dietary fiber contained, they are considered an average satiating food compared to their limited caloric intake.
3. Blueberries are allies of the microcirculation and venous system and an ally of the eyesight
Blueberries are useful for all venous problems characterized by heaviness in the legs, tingling, itching, cramps, swelling and varicose veins that can accentuate in August in conjunction with the intensification of the heat.
Among the other most beneficial properties for health and for the shape, blueberries allow to increase the so-called “good cholesterol” in the blood and therefore to carry out a protective action on the heart and circulation.
Blueberries contain various elements such as sugars, mineral salts and vitamins A, C and B. In particular they contain mirtillin, an excellent ally for the circulatory system, in fact it reduces the permeability of capillaries, strengthening blood vessels and improving their elasticity.
They are, therefore, ideal to eat if you want to improve the microcirculation and, consequently, also the sight.
Blueberries improves night vision and visual fatigue. It also promotes the regeneration of retinal tissues and is also useful in case of vascular disorders of the eye. In fact, anthocyanins, in addition to the properties already described, bring benefits to the retina thanks to rhodopsin, a protein that improves the ability to see in low light conditions and improves its adaptation to darkness.
4. Blueberries improve memory
A diet rich in fruit and vegetables, which also includes blueberries, together with physical activity and continuous training of the mind allows us to protect the functionality of our brain, but it is important to start from an early age.
We often talk about the prevention of tumors and cardiovascular diseases while we focus less on the prevention of brain diseases, instead it is just as important before reaching a stage of full-blown pathology where we clearly cannot do anything without drugs.
Anthocyanins, powerful antioxidants, give the blueberry its characteristic color, but are also allies of memory, because they increase the memory activity. Daily consumption of blueberries leads to a significant improvement in memory after only 12 weeks.
Blueberries can improve memory even reduce the loss that is normally associated with advancing age. The data is confirmed by scientists.
This discovery has implications not only for those who simply want to improve memory, but also for those suffering from degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer.
Researchers have discovered that flavonoids, in which blueberries are very rich, interact with neurons, increasing their communication and stimulating brain cells to regenerate.
According to a study published by Free Radical Biology and Medicine, the positive effects of blueberries reflect on both short-term and long-term memory.
Not only that, but research shows that those who consume fresh blueberries or fresh blueberries juice for breakfast suffer less from the typical “postprandial somnolence” which reduces the efficiency of many people in the afternoon.
Regular consumption of this superfood increases concentration and memory with effects lasting up to 5 hours.
The antioxidants contained in blueberries would in fact increase blood flow to the brain, helping to keep the mind “fresh”.
5. Blueberries are excellent fat burners, drainers and diuretics
We often forget how nature offers good and healthy foods, able to improve health and bring invaluable benefits to our body. Between fruit and vegetables, we can enjoy a wide choice of foods every day that, in addition to nourishing us with taste, can contribute to our well-being, even helping us in the fight against extra kilos.
Blueberries are an inexhaustible source of nutrients and few calories. Just eat between 10 and 20 blueberries a day to get a high level of vitamin C, potassium and antioxidants.
The antioxidant elements present in the blueberries also have an effect on the metabolism of the cells, coming to alter the abdominal fat, it seems, in fact, that both the catechins and the polyphenols present in the blueberries, activate the fat-burning genes in the abdominal fat cells, triggering a real and own fight against weight.
Therefore, these small dark berries are not only allies of venous blood circulation, memory and eye health, but they can also help you keep your weight under control, if not even lose it, if you combine a low-content caloric diet (always on the advice of the attending physician) and targeted physical activity.
Blueberries are delicious when eaten raw. The hunger breaker combination is with low-fat natural yogurt and muesli, perfect for breakfast but also as a snack throughout the day.
Blueberries are also perfect for flavoring water (they help you drink more during the day!): just pour a layer of fresh blueberries at the bottom of a glass bottle; also add a couple of lemon slices and a few mint leaves, if you prefer. Then fill the bottle with fresh water and let it rest for a couple of hours in the refrigerator.
These fruits are also excellent for their anti-inflammatory, diuretic and disinfectant properties of the urinary tract. Thanks to the water and mineral content, blueberries promote diuresis and counteract water retention. They also prevent urinary infections such as cystitis and urethritis, both by stimulating diuresis and by preventing the adhesion of bacteria to the urinary tract wall.
With all these benefits, let’s see how to best enjoy blueberries
The whole fruit:
The best way to take advantage of all the properties of the blueberry is certainly to consume fresh blueberries in their natural state (after having been well washed), even better if you enjoyed a walk in the forest for picking them yourself.
Blueberries can also be frozen without losing their properties.
The small size of the blueberries makes this fruit easily usable in the kitchen in a variety of summer dishes, especially in fruit salads together with other summer fruits (for example, melon, peach, apricot) or in addition to a jar of low-fat yogurt.
As a juice:
Alternatively you can enjoy blueberry juice (preferably freshly centrifuged), in a dose of one or two glasses a day on an empty stomach.
Do you like blueberries?
To be honest I always have them in my fridge 😉 I love them for breakfast but also as a snack during the day 😉
Thank you all for reading!