If you’re not eating blueberries every single day, my question for you is: Why Not? In fact, if you currently do not have some blueberries in the fridge or freezer, after reading this article about the benefits of blueberries, you should plan a quick trip to the store to stock up.
Blueberries certainly meet all the health changing benefits of being a Super Hero Fruit. Continuing research shows that some of the health changing benefits of blueberries include protecting against, and even reversing, some cognitive loss due to stroke, brain injury, degenerative disease, and just the normal aging process. In this day and age it would do us all well to pay attention to the potential health changing benefits of blueberries.
“When it comes to brain protection,
there is nothing quite like blueberries.”
Dr. James Joseph, Director – USDA Center for Aging
I wondered what caused Dr. Joseph to make such a statement? This is what Dr. Joseph found out about the health benefits of blueberries: After testing 24 varieties of fresh fruit, 23 vegetables, 16 herbs and spices, 10 different nuts, and 4 dried fruits, the US Department of Agriculture determined that blueberries scored highest overall in total antioxidant capacity per serving. As most people who have educated themselves in health and wellness know, antioxidants are vital in countering free radicals which are the harmful byproducts of cellular metabolism contributing to cancer and other age-related diseases.
The Benefits of Blueberries in Children
A study from Ohio State University finds that blueberries may shrink blood vessel tumors in babies and double the survival rates. The research team fed blueberry extract to mice that had tumors. The mice receiving the extract lived twice as long as those mice that didn’t. Also, the tumors in the blueberry mice were 60 percent smaller than those in the control group.
Reasons for significance. The most common tumors among young children, affecting up to 10 percent of all babies, are blood vessel tumors. In about one out of 10 cases, these growths obstruct vital organs. Current treatments include high dose steroids, and if that isn’t effective, the next go-to is interferon. Both of these treatments can prove to be disastrous for babies with concerning side effects such as destroying the immune system, compromise of neurological development, and the beginning of other side effects such as ulcers, fractures, developmental delays, and severe infections. Surgical removal of the tumors can cause serious or even fatal bleeding, and if located in the head and neck areas, tends to cause deformity whether removed or left intact.
Given the risk factors and the side effects of these current treatments, the discovery that blueberries may do the trick represents a huge bonus. Another huge health benefit of blueberries is they have absolutely no side effects, are inexpensive and are super delicious. And most important, they are bio-friendly and a living food.
Research from this study indicates other benefits of blueberries include the possibility of diminishing or of lessening melanoma, as well as some cancers of the breast, ovaries, and head and neck. More research is needed and underway, while tremendous amount of previous studies show blueberries fight other forms of cancer. The benefits revealed by this particular study may apply to both children and adults.
More Research Shows the Health-Changing Benefits of Blueberries
A 2005 study provided by the University of Illinois found that wild blueberries inhibited the initiation and proliferation of bladder and liver cancer cells, mostly due to the extremely powerful antioxidant anthocyanin. Anthocyanins are water-soluble vacuolar pigments that may appear red, purple, or blue depending on the pH. Anthocyanin isolates and anthocyanin-rich mixtures of bioflavonoids may provide protection from DNA cleavage, estrogenic activity (altering development of hormone-dependent disease symptoms), enzyme inhibition, boosting production of cytokines (thus regulating immune responses), anti-inflammatory activity, lipid peroxidation, decreasing capillary permeability and fragility, and membrane strengthening. It’s also important to understand a concomitant study at Cornell found the greatest anti-cancer effect came from consuming foods, like berries, in their natural state or dried or powdered rather than in taking highly concentrated extracts. This is because the whole food allows the array of phytochemicals in the foods to work synergistically.
Researches stated in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry in 2004, they had isolated three compounds in blueberries and other dark-pigmented berries known to lower cholesterol levels. In a follow-up study, one of the three phytochemicals—pterostilbene—showed a particularly potent effect in stimulating a receptor protein in cells that plays an important role in lowering cholesterol and other blood fats. Lead author Agnes Rimando told members of the American Chemical Society: “We are excited to learn that blueberries, which are already known to be rich in healthy compounds, may also be a potent weapon in the battle against obesity and heart disease.”
In a 2006 study found that pterostilbene, phytochemical related to resveratrol and found in blueberries, cut the development of liver cancer lesions in half.
And in a 2007 study, pterostilbene reduced pre-cancerous lesions of the colon by 57 percent. At the same time, several other studies found that blueberries can help fight prostate cancer.
Some studies indicate that blueberries can effectively reverse short-term memory loss in rats suffering from dementia. The blueberry-eating rats showed an 83 percent improvement in memory-related tasks, and these positive effects lasted for nine weeks after the rats stopped eating the blueberries. And more recent studies show that the cognitive benefits really do extend to people—both seniors and children.
18 Health-Changing Benefits of Blueberries
- promotes urinary tract health
- lowers cholesterol
- promotes healthy intestinal health
- fights inflammation related to gout and arthritis
- reduces nasal congestion
- protects against degenerative eye diseases such as macular degeneration, glaucoma, and cataracts
- improves memory
- can be frozen without doing damage to the delicate anthocyanin antioxidants
- supports healthy blood sugar levels
- wild-grown blueberries contain higher concentrations of phenol antioxidants &
anthocyanin antioxidants than conventionally grown
- lowers oxidative stress in nerve cells
- provides every body system with improved antioxidant defense
- supports healthy blood pressure
- high in phytonutrients
- promotes healthy aging
- promotes healthy mood
- supports healthy weight loss
- anti-inflammatory properties
Mmmm Good Berry Smoothie Recipe
½ C Raspberries
½ C Strawberries
½ C Blueberries
1 C 2% hemp or almond milk
2 C Ice
1 Small Carrot
Brain Booster Smoothie Recipe
1 frozen banana
¼ C frozen Blueberries
Handful of Hemp Nuts
½ C Organic Apple Juice
½ – 1 tsp Rhodiola powder
For each smoothie above, place ingredients in blender & blend until personal preference.
Smoothie recipes from: nativejuicer.com
So when it comes to antioxidant value, wild blueberries surpass their domesticated counterparts big-time! Organic frozen wild blueberries are easy to find in your supermarket or health food store. What are you waiting for…Get your keys and go stock-up on blueberries!
Resources and References
Underwood A. So berry good for you; rediscovering the health benefits of berries. Newsweek. June 17, 2002.
Wu X, Beecher GR, Holden JM et al. Lipophilic and hydrophilic antioxidant capacities of common foods in the United States. J Agric Food Chem. 2004 Jun 16;52(12):4026-37.
Rimando AM, Nagmani R, Feller DR, Yokoyama W. Pterostilbene, a new agonist for the peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor alpha-isoform, lowers plasma lipoproteins and cholesterol in hypercholesterolemic hamsters. J Agric Food Chem. 2005 May 4;53(9):3403-7.
Faria A, Oliveira J, Neves P, et al. Antioxidant properties of prepared blueberry (Vaccinium myrtillus) extracts. J Agric Food Chem. 2005 Aug 24;53(17):6896-902.
Wedge DE, Meepagala KM, Magee JB, et al. Anticarcinogenic Activity of Strawberry, Blueberry, and Raspberry Extracts to Breast and Cervical Cancer Cells. J Med Food. 2001;4(1):49-51.
Yi W, Fischer J, Krewer G, Akoh CC. Phenolic compounds from blueberries can inhibit colon cancer cell proliferation and induce apoptosis. J Agric Food Chem. 2005 Sep 7;53(18):7320-9.
Cao G, Shukitt-Hale B, Bickford PC, et al. Hyperoxia-induced changes in antioxidant capacity and the effect of dietary antioxidants. J Appl Physiol. 1999 Jun;86(6):1817-22.
Kay CD, Holub BJ. The effect of wild blueberry (Vaccinium angustifolium) consumption on postprandial serum antioxidant status in human subjects. Br J Nutr. 2002 Oct;88(4):389-98.
Joseph JA, Shukitt-Hale B, Denisova NA, et al. Reversals of age-related declines in neuronal signal transduction, cognitive, and motor behavioral deficits with blueberry, spinach, or strawberry dietary supplementation. J Neurosci. 1999 Sep 15;19(18):8114-21.
Brasher P. Blueberries may aid balance, memory. Associated Press. September 17, 1999.
Galli RL, Bielinski DF, Szprengiel A, Shukitt-Hale B, Joseph JA. Blueberry supplemented diet reverses age-related decline in hippocampal HSP70 neuroprotection. Neurobiol Aging. 2005 Apr 30.
Andres-Lacueva C, Shukitt-Hale B, Galli RL, et al. Anthocyanins in aged blueberry-fed rats are found centrally and may enhance memory. Nutr Neurosci. 2005 Apr;8(2):111-20.
Wang Y, Chang CF, Chou J, et al. Dietary supplementation with blueberries, spinach, or spirulina reduces ischemic brain damage. Exp Neurol. 2005 May;193(1):75-84.
de RC, Shukitt-Hale B, Joseph JA, Mendelson JR. The effects of antioxidants in the senescent auditory cortex. Neurobiol Aging. 2005 Jun 9.
Rimando AM, Kalt W, Magee JB, Dewey J, Ballington JR. Resveratrol, pterostilbene, and piceatannol in vaccinium berries. J Agric Food Chem. 2004 Jul 28;52(15):4713-9.
Casadesus G, Shukitt-Hale B, Stellwagen HM, et al. Modulation of hippocampal plasticity and cognitive behavior by short-term blueberry supplementation in aged rats. Nutr Neurosci. 2004 Oct-Dec;7(5-6):309-16.
Parry J, Su L, Luther M, Zhou K, et al. Fatty acid composition and antioxidant properties of cold-pressed marionberry, boysenberry, red raspberry, and blueberry seed oils. J Agric Food Chem. 2005 Feb 9;53(3):566-73.
Norton C, Kalea AZ, Harris PD, Klimis-Zacas DJ. Wild blueberry-rich diets affect the contractile machinery of the vascular smooth muscle in the Sprague-Dawley rat. J Med Food. 2005;8(1):8-13.
Kalea AZ, Lamari FN, Theocharis AD, et al. Wild blueberry (Vaccinium angustifolium) consumption affects the composition and structure of glycosaminoglycans in Sprague-Dawley rat aorta. J Nutr Biochem. 2005 Aug 17.
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Matchett MD, Mackinnon SL, Sweeney MI, Gottschall-Pass KT, Hurta RA. Blueberry flavonoids inhibit matrix metalloproteinase activity in DU145 human prostate cancer cells. Biochem Cell Biol. 2005 Oct;83(5):637-43.
Tsuda T, Shiga K, Ohshima K, Kawakishi S, Osawa T. Inhibition of lipid peroxidation and the active oxygen radical scavenging effect of anthocyanin pigments isolated from Phaseolus vulgaris L. Biochem Pharmacol. 1996;52(7):1033–1039. [PubMed]
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Tsuda T, Horio F, Uchida K, Aoki H, Osawa T. Dietary cyanidin 3-O-beta-D-glucoside-rich purple corn color prevents obesity and ameliorates hyperglycemia in mice. J Nutr. 2003;133(7):2125–2130. [PubMed]
†Results may vary. Information and statements made are for education purposes and are not intended to replace the advice of your doctor. Oasis Advanced Wellness/OAWHealth does not dispense medical advice, prescribe, or diagnose illness. The views and nutritional advice expressed by Oasis Advanced Wellness/OAWHealth are not intended to be a substitute for conventional medical service. If you have a severe medical condition or health concern, see your physician of choice.