Health Properties Of Blueberries

Blueberries are one of nature’s rare super-foods with so many established health benefits and more being discovered every other week it seems. Blueberries are a good source of vitamin’s C and niacin, the mineral manganese, and a number of potent antioxidants. On top of promoting all good round health, there are specific health benefits of blueberries that make them a very beneficial part of your diet.

Blueberries for Improving Memory

Supplementing your diet with blueberries can improve your memory and learning functions. A study carried out by the University of Reading [1] shows blueberries have a reversing effect on age-related brain degeneration; specifically neuronal and working spatial memory functions.
The experiment, published in the journal Free Radical Biology and Medicine, demonstrates that phytochemical-rich foods (blueberries) increase the ability for enhancing nerve cell function and encourages nerve-cell regeneration. The experiment was carried out on adult rats and lasted for 12 weeks.
Within 3 weeks of being feed blueberry extract, the rats showed improvements in memory function, as well as a decrease in decision-making time. The study gives a scientifically based explanation of the notion that diets high in fruits and vegetables (particularly phytochemicals called flavonoids) improve memory functioning. The findings may also be used in ongoing research into conditions involving cognitive decline, such as Alzheimer’s disease.

Benefits of Blueberries in Treating Endothelial Tumors

Blueberries may also inhibit tumor formation in babies, according to a research article published in Antioxidants & Redox Signaling journal [2]. There was some research carried out to investigate the benefits of blueberries as a treatment for endothelial cell neoplasms – a soft-tissue tumor that affects 3-10% of infants. The research indicates that blueberries can inhibit molecular mechanisms responsible for forming tumors.
While further research is required, the findings suggest that blueberries could be a welcome dietary alternative to steroid treatment, surgery, or children having to put up with lesions – which all have their own serious risks and side effects.

Antioxidant Effect of Blueberries

Blueberries are one of the best and most accessible antioxidant-rich foods. Many nutrition experts recommend a half cup per day to get all the health benefits of blueberries. One of the primary function of blueberries’ antioxidant effect is to neutralize free radicals. Free radicals cause cell damage, and in turn damage to lipids, proteins, and DNA, which can lead to a number of diseases and premature aging effects.
A study published in the British Journal of Nutrition [3] compared the antioxidant content in a range of antioxidant-rich foods. It found that blueberries contained the 7th highest level with 8.2mmol per 100g. Above it were cloves (465.3mmol), cinnamon (98.4), oregano (45), walnuts (skin on – 23.073), 70%-cocoa chocolate (13.4), and pecans (skin on – 8.33). Taking standard serving size into account, blueberries are one of the best ways to ensure you have an antioxidant-rich diet. Supplementing your diet with half a cup of blueberries each day is a really good way to take a proactive approach to avoiding disease and promoting all-round good health.
Article References
[1] Williams, M, C., Abd El Mohsen, M., Vauzour, D., Rendeiro, C., Butler, L, T., Allis, J, A., Whiteman, M., Spencer, J, P, E. (2008). Blueberry-induced changes in spatial working memory correlate with changes in hippocampal CREB phosphorylation and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) levels. Free Radical Biology & Medicine. 45, 295-305.
[2] Gordillo, G., Fang, H., Khanna, S., Harper, J., Phillips, G., & Sen, C, K. (2009). Oral administration of blueberry inhibits angiogenic tumor growth and enhances survival of mice with endothelial cell neoplasm. Antioxidants & Redox Signalling. 11(1), 47-58.
[3] Blomhoff, R., Carlsen, M, H., Frost Anderson, L., & Jacobs, D, R Jr. (2006). Health benefits of nuts: potential role of antioxidants. British Journal of Nutrition. 96(2), S52-S60.