Berries are berry wonderful!
Updated: Jun 28, 2021
Berries are especially rich in antioxidants, vitamins, fibre, and micronutrients that are beneficial for your health. In fact, berries have risen to become a "superfood."
Blueberries are the most nutrient-dense berries, with 4g of fibre, 36% of the daily recommended vitamin K, and 25% of the daily recommended magnesium, and 24% of the daily recommended vitamin C with each cup of blueberries (148g). Vitamin K is beneficial to make various proteins needed for blood clotting and the building of bone. On the other hand, Magnesium is the 4th most abundant mineral in the body. It is needed for hundreds of metabolic processes such as producing energy and building important proteins such as DNA. Finally, vitamin C is important for the growth and repair of all tissues.
Blueberries also are one of the fruits that contain the highest levels of antioxidants among all fruits and vegetables. Antioxidants help fight free radicals -- unstable molecules that can damage your cells and contribute to ageing and certain diseases. The main antioxidant compounds found in blueberries belong to a family of polyphenols antioxidants called flavonoids, specifically anthocyanin. This compound is what gives the fruit a dark, blue colour. In addition, anthocyanin has been reported to have anti-inflammatory effects, lower blood pressure, improve visual acuity, and enhance cognitive function.
Blueberries can also reduce oxidative DNA damage. Oxidative DNA damage happens every day, whether young or old, but these processes lead to ageing and possible diseases incurred from DNA changes over time. However, blueberries contain significant antioxidants, which will help neutralize some of the free radicals that damage DNA.
These berries can also protect your cholesterol from getting damaged, similar to how it protects DNA damage. It is problematic when your “bad” LDL cholesterol is oxidized, which is a process that may lead to heart diseases. The high levels of antioxidants in blueberries will help reduce LDL cholesterol's overall oxidation, making it very good for your heart.
Blueberries can also help to improve cognitive functions. Cognitive function often decreases again as the individual experiences more oxidative stress, accelerating your brain’s ageing process, negatively affecting brain function. However, the antioxidants found in blueberries may appear to benefit ageing neurons, leading to improvements in cell signalling.
Blueberries are one of the most nutrient-dense foods out there, no matter if you enjoy them fresh or frozen! They can also be added on top of yogurts, oatmeals, blended into smoothies, and incorporated into delicious treats for a nutritious boost!