Blueberries Health Benefits
Home grown or organic blueberries are one of the 'super-foods' which are consumed regularly by people on Mediterranean Diet. Blueberries have low glycemic load, they are rich in antioxidants, contain many vitamins and minerals, rich are in dietary fibers etc.
Blueberries are available year long as fresh, frozen or processed food. Fresh are the best, of course, but frozen can be used almost as fresh berries.
Processed blueberry products do have their own benefits, just be careful and read the labels about processing method and the amount of added sugars, preservatives, other foods etc.
Nutritional Facts of Blueberries
100g of blueberries contains:
- 0.7g of protein: as a protein source, blueberries contain very little plant based protein,
- 14g of total carbs: blueberries contain around 10g of various sugars and 2.4g of dietary fibers. Glycemic load of 100g of blueberries is around 4, which is excellent - it do contains ~12g of digestible carbs (of which are 10g of sugars), but thanks to low/moderate glycemic index (slower digestion), glycemic load is low.
- 0.3g of fats: not only that fats are low, but those that are present are healthy fats. In any way, if you keep your blueberry intake to cup or two a day, forget the fats in blueberries, regardless of what type of diet you are on (if any ...).
Two most abundant vitamins are vitamin C (9.7 mg, 16% of RDA) and vitamin K (19.3mcg, 24% of RDA). Although there are numerous minerals, only manganese is present in significant amount (0.3mg, 17% of RDA).
Vitamin C is important antioxidant and take part in numerous process in the body, including boosting immune system.
Vitamin K is important for blood clotting and in combination with vitamin D and calcium for bone health.
Manganese take part in metabolism processes, among others, of amino acids (proteins), fats and carbs. It is not required in large quantities, but it is one of the essential trace minerals.
Blueberries are rich in other beneficial compounds, including Anthocyanins (give most of the berries their distinctive color), Myricetin and Quercetin.
These compounds reduce the risk of heart diseases, diabetes, various cancers, they lower blood pressure, improve brain function etc.
Adverse effects - the only adverse effect of blueberries are rare allergies to blueberries. Other than that, blueberries are safe to consume in moderate amounts - a cup or two per day.
Since there are no absolute the best super-food, blueberries should be taken ONLY as part of well balanced diet. Don't give up on other fruits and foods because of the blueberries (or any other food), but try to squeeze in a cup of blueberries here and there in your diet.
Blueberries can be consumed whole or as a juice, tea, jam, pie etc. Whole blueberries contain most of the beneficial compounds, so whenever you can, eat them raw, fresh.