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Health Benefits of Blueberries (uses, recipes and more)


Blueberries are such a delicious treat. Sweet and full of flavor, true nature’s candy. They are also packed with nutrients and powerful antioxidants, providing incredible benefits. From improving heart health to boosting immunity, in this article, you will learn all there is to know about this magical fruit.

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Health Benefits of Blueberries PIN image

Blueberries are among the most antioxidant-rich fruits in the world and are an important part of any healthy diet, but they also provide several other health benefits that make them an excellent addition to your menu plans. 

Because they are so nutrient-dense and packed with potent antioxidants, they are referred to as superfoods.

In this article, we’ll take a look at ten amazing health benefits of blueberries that you may not know about yet but will want to start taking advantage of right away!

Blueberries: Nutritional Facts

One cup (148g) of fresh blueberries contains: (Source)

  • 84 calories
  • Total Fat 0.5g
  • Cholesterol 0mg
  • Sodium 1.5mg
  • Potassium 114mg
  • Total Carbohydrates 21g
    • Dietary Fiber 3.6g
    • Sugars 15g
  • Protein 1.1g

That same one-cup serving provides:

  • 24 percent of daily vitamin C
  • 5 percent of daily vitamin B6
  • 36 percent of daily vitamin K

Blueberries also provide:

  • 9 milligrams (mg) of calcium
  • 0.41 mg of iron
  • 9 mg of magnesium
  • 18 mg of phosphorus
  • 1 mg of sodium
  • 0.24 mg of zinc
  • 9 mg of folate
fresh blueberries

Vitamins and minerals

Blueberries are a rich source of essential vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C, vitamin K, and the mineral manganese. 

Manganese is essential for growth and development and supports a healthy metabolism. Also, it helps the body process cholesterol. Vitamin K is a key nutrient in blood clotting and healthy bones.

Antioxidants

Blueberries are packed with antioxidants, which are believed to help protect against cardiovascular disease. Research shows that eating blueberries can help prevent oxidative stress in arteries and veins caused by high cholesterol. 

Antioxidants also help promote the immune system and vision and fight premature aging. Studies have shown that blueberries may even boost memory function in older adults due to their antioxidants. 

Fiber

Did you know that blueberries are an excellent source of fiber? Eating fiber has been shown to lower one’s risk for obesity, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and other chronic conditions. 

For example, a cup of blueberries provides 5 grams of fiber. That’s nearly half your daily needs in just one small serving! In addition, healthy diets low in saturated fat and cholesterol and as low as possible in trans fats can help prevent heart disease.

Carbs

Blueberries are a good source of carbs. One cup has only 84 calories and 21 grams of carbs, which is enough to fill you up and help with physical endurance. Plus, if you eat them whole, they take longer to digest, keeping you feeling full longer. 

Most of the carbs come from simple sugars like glucose and fructose, but blueberries also contain a good amount of fiber which makes them excellent fruit if you are on a keto or low-carb diet. 

Also, blueberries have a glycemic index (GI) score of 53, which is relatively low, so blueberries should not cause major spikes in blood sugar and are considered safe for people with diabetes.

hand holding fresh blueberries

Health benefits of blueberries

Blueberries Fight Free Radicals

This small fruit packs a big antioxidant punch. A cup of blueberries contains about 13 different flavonoids and quercetin, powerful antioxidants that can help fight off free radicals in your body. 

These antioxidant-rich berries have also been found to protect against heart disease, cancer, and age-related memory loss. Furthermore, studies show that eating blueberries could reduce risk factors for cardiovascular disease. 

Additionally, blueberries contain other polyphenols such as resveratrol and anthocyanins that contribute to their health benefits.

Blueberries Improve Heart Health

The cardiovascular benefits of blueberries are obvious: A handful of berries in your diet each day is good for your heart. In addition, research suggests that certain antioxidants in blueberries may improve blood flow and lower cholesterol levels.

The USDA recommends eating various fruits and vegetables every day—not only for their antioxidant properties but also because they’re packed with nutrients and fiber that benefit both weight loss and overall health.

Eating a wide range of fruits and veggies can help you maintain or lose weight and reduce your risk for cardiovascular disease. As a bonus, recent studies suggest that people who eat more produce have better-looking skin than those who don’t! 

This might be due to phytochemicals in plants like berries; some evidence suggests these chemicals may reduce acne breakouts.

Blueberries Regulate Blood Sugar

High blood sugar levels can lead to chronic conditions like diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. While you don’t have to become a full-fledged berry fanatic—blueberries indeed contain more total carbohydrates than other varieties—blueberries offer some unique benefits compared to other fruits. 

Although they still should be consumed in moderation, blueberries are high in soluble fiber (the kind that helps balance blood sugar) and antioxidants (which may help prevent aging-related diseases). 

One study reported that participants who ate berries twice a week had lower blood pressure than those who didn’t consume berries at all.

Blueberry Chia Smoothie in a glass with fresh blueberries on top
Blueberry Chia Smoothie

Blueberries Improve Brain Function

Studies have shown that blueberries can positively affect short-term memory and processing while reducing inflammation in the brain. They can even help reduce your risk for neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s. 

These benefits make a good reason to start snacking on these small fruits! Blueberries contain anthocyanins, strong antioxidants, and vitamin C and flavonoids that promote brain health. 

This fruit also contains resveratrol, an antioxidant compound found in red wine that has been shown to improve blood flow. 

If you want to take advantage of all these benefits, try adding blueberries into your diet by eating them fresh, blending them into smoothies or oatmeal, baking with them in recipes like muffins and pancakes, or freezing them for later use.

Blueberries Help Boost Immunity

As researchers at Duke University found, blueberries can help keep your immune system humming thanks to a flavonoid called anthocyanin. 

This antioxidant helps defend against damage from free radicals and may even protect against neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. 

If you’re already fighting off an illness, adding some wild blueberries to your diet could help kick it to the curb quickly. 

Blueberries May Help Preventing Cancer

Blueberries are a top cancer-fighting food because they’re packed with antioxidants. Antioxidants help prevent damage to cells in your body that can lead to cancer, heart disease, and more. 

Getting enough antioxidants is important for everyone, but research shows it’s especially important for pregnant women and their growing babies. 

Studies show that if pregnant women eat blueberries and other antioxidant-rich foods, their babies will have less risk of chronic diseases like cancer in adulthood.

Close up of Blueberry Chia Pudding topped with fresh blueberries and almonds
Blueberry Chia Pudding

Blueberries Improve Mental Health

Studies have found that blueberries help improve both short-term and long-term memory. While more research is necessary to confirm these findings, scientists suspect that compounds known as anthocyanins are responsible for blueberry’s positive effect on cognitive function. 

Anthocyanins give blueberries their signature purple color and are also thought to play a role in eye health and heart health. Beyond improving brain function, studies suggest that blueberries may help reduce anxiety levels by lowering cortisol levels (the stress hormone) levels.

Blueberries Help Reduce Inflammation In The Body

Most fruits and vegetables are filled with flavonoids, natural antioxidants that may help reduce inflammation in our bodies. 

The health benefits of blueberries have been studied for years, and researchers have recently pinpointed blueberry flavonoids as a source of powerful anti-inflammatory properties. 

In an animal study published in 2012, researchers found that a diet rich in blueberry flavonoids could fight off certain factors that cause inflammation, helping promote heart health. 

But make sure you’re not overdoing it—blueberries are healthy but still contain calories and sugar like any other sweet treat.

Blueberries Improve Memory, Sleep Quality, and Mood

Studies show that blueberries are rich in antioxidants and positively affect memory, sleep quality, and mood. These effects can be attributed to their anthocyanin content. Those who regularly consume blueberries have been shown to improve memory performance by over 100%. 

They’re also an excellent source of melatonin—the hormone that helps you sleep. The body metabolizes melatonin very quickly, so it’s a great choice for those struggling with insomnia.

Banana Pancakes with oats and fresh blueberries
Blueberry Banana Pancakes

How to use blueberries

Here are some suggestions on how to incorporate blueberries into your daily diet.

  • Make a fruit salad with fresh blueberries.
  • Top fresh blueberries over the breakfast granola.
  • Make healthy waffles and top them with blueberries and maple syrup.
  • You can bake some delicious blueberry muffins.
  • Switch from basic apple pie to a rich blueberry pie.
  • You can blend fresh smoothies and milkshakes using blueberries.
  • Have a handful of fresh blueberries as a snack.
  • Make delicious, refreshing Blueberry Feta Salad.
  • You can also make fresh blueberry juice.

Blueberry recipes

You may want to try these simple blueberry recipes:

Takeaway

The health benefits of blueberries are well-known and have been heavily researched. So what comes to mind when you think about those plump, dark berries? For most people, it’s how good they taste. 

They can be mixed in smoothies, added to pancakes, etc. Or they can be served fresh as a snack. And while we eat them for their flavor, one thing many people don’t know is just how healthy blueberries are!

FAQ

Let’s look at some of the most frequently asked questions about blueberries.

What Happens If I Eat Blueberries Every Day?

If you eat blueberries every day, you may be able to reap the rewards in the form of improved eyesight and stronger heart and brain health. Blueberries are full of antioxidants, which help prevent and repair damage caused by free radicals that can impact your health.

How Many Blueberries Should You Eat a Day?

According to the USDA, an adult needs about two cups of fruit or veggies per day for optimum health, which is about 7-10 servings. So one cup would equal one serving. If you eat the whole cup in a sitting, that’s all you need for the day.

About Natalie

Natalie Knezic is a writer, recipe developer, and creator of Natalie’s Health. She’s also a certified nutrition coach and weight loss specialist. She actively coaches, creates recipes and writes about a healthy lifestyle. Her recipes and articles have been featured in many popular media outlets, like Shape, Greatist, Pure Wow, Mashed, The Huffington Post, ELLE Magazine, and many more.

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