Blueberries, a Superfood?
Blueberries are commonly known to be good sources of antioxidants and are regularly called a superfood. Consumed fresh or as jams, juices, preserves, and desserts, blueberries can be a good source of nutrition when not consumed with copious amounts of sugar. A blueberry smoothie or a handful of berries with oatmeal is a nutritious and healthy meal.
What nutrients do blueberries contain?
Blueberries contain many micronutrients that are good for the body, including dietary minerals such as manganese, vitamin C, vitamin K, and some dietary fibre . Blueberries tend to be low calorie snacks, which makes them healthy for consumption.
Blueberries also contain antioxidants, mostly anthocyanins, which may help promote good health in ways that are yet to be proven.
Some Blueberry Health Claims and Medical Evidence
1) Blueberries can help prevent high blood pressure.
While some studies have found that blueberries can relax the walls of blood vessels, there is no conclusive evidence to prove that blueberries can reduce blood pressure.
In two small studies conducted on post-menopausal women in 2015 and on men in 2013, blueberry consumption was clinically linked to a drop in blood pressure. However, as these studies were small, no conclusive evidence remains .
2) Blueberries can help treat diabetes
Blueberry leaves have been shown to alleviate some symptom in both type 1 and type 2 diabetes, but no conclusive evidence is available . Blueberries themselves have not been linked to either diabetes prevention or possible cure.
3) Blueberries can help prevent cancer
There is no conclusive evidence to prove that blueberries can help cure cancer, but a study published in Antioxidants & Redox Signalling in 2009 suggests that oral transmission of blueberry extract could possibly limit tumour formation . The researchers study the endothelial cell neoplasms, soft tissue tumours in infants, and discovered that blueberry extract transmitted orally helped inhibit certain tumour formation pathways that ultimately limited the growth of the tumour. The study concluded by suggesting that blueberry extract could possibly be used to inhibit a specific type of tumour growth in children.
This result does not mean that blueberries fights all cancer, but does call for more research into the properties of blueberries that may help prevent or inhibit cancer growth.
4) Blueberries can treat central nervous tissue
A preliminary study conducted by Willis, Freeman, Bickford, Quintero, Umphlet, Moore, Goetzl, and Granholm in 2010 suggests that a 2% blueberry diet has affected microglial activation, something that affects multiple neural cell survival situations like spinal cord injuries, Parkinson’s disease, and Huntington’s disease . This study foregrounds a breakthrough that might be able to use blueberries as a way to alleviate late-onset neurological disorders.
Whether or not blueberries have cancer inhibiting abilities, they are still an excellent low calorie food with good levels of vitamin C and K, both essential for good health. A handful of blueberries a day is a healthy breakfast, snack, or dessert choice.