My whole family loves blueberries. I eat them nearly every morning and think they make a great addition to my morning shake made with my green superfoods powder. But it’s not all about the taste.
Blueberries are loaded with proanthocyanidin, which is a natural pigment antioxidant that is also found in sweet potatoes. The blueberry is native to North America and folk medicine has long touted its extended life expectancy and other health benefits associated with the fruit.
Nutrition That Packs a Powerful Punch
One of the most nutrient-dense foods in the world are blueberries, and they also have a large variety of antioxidants. Fresh blueberries contain:
- Gallic Acid
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin K
Gallic Acid: The Blueberry’s Secret Weapon
The blueberry offers many nutritional elements, but gallic acid (GA) stands out for several reasons, first being the fact that most people have never even heard of it. Second, and more importantly, GA has been thoroughly researched. In fact, nearly 6,500 peer-reviewed scientific research articles referencing gallic acid have been published.
So, it’s safe to say that the health benefits of gallic acid is anything but experimental. And, finally, research shows that gallic acid is a strong antifungal/anti-viral agent and an active antioxidant.
These three things combined make GA-rich foods like blueberries a powerful natural remedy.
7 Must-Know Benefits of Blueberries
Now that you know all about the nutritional benefits of blueberries, I’m sure you understand just how hard it was to narrow down the top health benefits to just seven. After some extensive research, however, I am confident that this list does the tasty purple fruit justice.
1. Anti-aging Power of Blueberries
When it comes to keeping Father Time at bay, antioxidants are your friend. They work to reverse harm done by pollutants and free radicals, and help your body guard against hazardous pathogens. Not only are blueberries rich in antioxidants as a whole, they are particularly rich in proanthocyanidins, which have shown extra anti-aging characteristics in numerous animal tests.
Much of the research has shown the capacity of proanthocyanidins to reverse inflammation, the number one cause of long-lasting disease on the planet. Inflammation takes its toll on the body like no other and causes heart disease, diabetes, cancer and almost every illness known to man.
2. Fight Cancer with Berries
Clinical research has found that, unlike radiation and chemotherapy strategies, GA-rich foods like blueberries can kill cancer without harming healthy cells! For example, the Journal of Biochemical and Molecular Toxicology published a paper evaluating the anticancer properties gallic acid has on breast carcinoma MCF-7 cells. Scientists have discovered that GA slows, and even destroys, breast cancer.
In this study, however, researchers were able to separate the mechanism to two cross-link pathways, which suggests that gallic acid treatments are a more thorough approach to cancer treatment.
3. Blueberries Aid Digestion
As a source of both soluble and insoluble fiber that is found in nature, blueberries aid in regulating your gastrointestinal tract. This can be accomplished by eating a couple handfuls of blueberries a day.
For example, a University of Maine researcher, Vivian Chi-Hua Wu, states that the, “Addition of lowbush wild blueberries (LWB) to diets can alter the balance of gut microbe in favor of members of the Actinobacteria phylum.”
Wu and her team found that wild blueberries have prebiotic potential, which encourages development of good bacteria in the colon and provides proper digestion and other health benefits.
4. Heart Healthy Berries
The periodical Circulation printed a report that said eating strawberries and blueberries at the same time has a powerful effect that actually decreases the threat of heart attack by as much as 33 percent. After conducting research with more than 93,000 women ages 25 to 42, they did not observe this type of benefit in other antioxidants.
5. Blueberries May Lead to Improved Mental Health
Since blueberries contain a large amount of phenols, mostly gallic acid, they are said to act as “neuroprotective agents.” According to scholars from Iran, this means blueberries can protect our brains from neurodegeneration, neurotoxicity and oxidative stress.
It is exciting that the following foods are high in gallic acid are also known for their brain enhancing abilities:
6. Blueberry Extract for Skin Care
Skin care products with blueberry extract are all the rage. It has been stated that the extensive spectrum of vitamins and minerals help restore hormone equilibrium, which counteracts acne. And the heart-healthy facets of the berry can help thwart bruising.
7. Weight Loss with Blueberries?
Being low in calories, low on the glycemic index and high in fiber, are three good reasons to eat blueberries to lose weight! According to the Mayo Clinic, “Because low glycemic index foods are absorbed more slowly, they stay in your digestive tract longer. This is why these foods are sometimes called slow carbs. These foods may help control appetite and delay hunger cues, which can help with weight management. Balanced blood sugar also can help reduce the risk of insulin resistance.”
Delicious Blueberry Recipes
To preserve their nutritional content, make every effort to eat blueberries in their fresh, natural form. This is not to say, however, that making my favorite blueberry buckle recipe is unhealthy for you. I just want to stress the importance of implementing raw foods into your diet to maximize their health benefits.
One of my favorite raw blueberry recipes is a blueberry vanilla power smoothie made with pumpkin seeds, raw honey, and kale!
Maria D, et al. Gallic Acid and Related Compounds as Neuroprotective Agents: You are What You Eat! Curr Pharm Biotechnol. 2014 Jun 16. [Epub ahead of print]
Wu-yang Huang, et al. Survey of antioxidant capacity and phenolic composition of blueberry, blackberry, and strawberry in Nanjing. J Zhejiang Univ Sci B. Feb 2012; 13(2): 94–102.
Wang K, et al. Investigation of Gallic Acid Induced Anticancer Effect in Human Breast Carcinoma MCF-7 Cells. J Biochem Mol Toxicol. 2014 May 27.
Cassidy A, et al. High anthocyanin intake is associated with a reduced risk of myocardial infarction in young and middle-aged women. Circulation. 2013 Jan 15;127(2):188-96.