The Health Benefits of Blueberries
By Dietitian Juliette Kellow BSc RD
Blueberries top the list in terms of their antioxidant activity when compared to 40 other fresh fruit and vegetables.
While blueberries contain well-known antioxidants such as vitamins C and E, their main health benefits are thought to come from anthocyanins – naturally occurring pigments that give them their blue colour and act as potent antioxidants.
Much research has focused on blueberries’ anti-ageing role, particularly in terms of mental functioning.
American neuroscientists have discovered that feeding blueberries to rats slows down age-related loss in their mental capacity – and so far, preliminary studies with humans show a similar effect.
Several pieces of research are looking at the role blueberries may have in preventing Alzheimer’s Disease – and so far the results look promising.
But blueberries don’t just have an anti-ageing effect.
Thanks to their high antioxidant content, research shows they may also help to keep the heart healthy.
Scientists at the University of California found that blueberries may help to reduce LDL or ‘bad’ cholesterol, high blood levels of which are risk factors for heart disease.
These findings have more recently been confirmed by research from the University of Mississippi, which found that blueberries may reduce harmful cholesterol levels as effectively as prescribed drugs, but without any of the nasty side effects.
Blueberries Nutritional Value
Blueberries, like most fruit and veg, are low in fat and calories and contain fibre, making them a great addition to a healthy, slimming diet.
An 80g serving – around 2 handfuls or 4 heaped tbsp – counts as one of your 5-a-day and contains just 46 calories and 0.3g fat.
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