The superfood accessible to everyone: what are its properties?
The blueberry might be a small berry, but it has big benefits for our health: it prevents dementia, cardiovascular diseases and urinary tract infections.
Blueberries are fruits rich in antioxidants, vitamins and fibers that protect the liver, improve cognitive impairment and help cardiovascular health. Harvard PhD Uma Naidoo considers this fruit “the number one food,” one which she doesn’t go a morning without eating. “There are so many options " out of all the foods that should make up part of our daily diet, but " the most beneficial when it comes to helping your brain age well” is the blueberry. For her, they are “versatile, accessible and absolutely scrumptious.”
Why is blueberry the best brain food?
These berries are very rich in flavonoids, which are a group of plant chemical nutrients found in fruits and vegetables. Studies have found that these compounds can reduce the risk of dementia. People who eat a diet that includes at least half a daily serving of foods high in flavonoids may have a 20 percent lower risk of cognitive decline, according to a 2021 Neurology Journal study. Also, blueberries help blood flow to the brain, thus lowering the risk of vascular dementia.
Like other phytonutrients, flavonoids are high in antioxidants. The antioxidants in blueberries - anthocyanins, which give these berries their characteristic color - have anti-aging properties: they fight anti-inflammation and oxidative stress. This occurs when unstable molecules - free radicals - damage cells. Therefore, they help reduce blood pressure and improve insulin sensitivity. By avoiding these harmful effects, the risk of developing chronic diseases such as cancer, heart disease, obesity or type 2 diabetes can be reduced.
Thanks to the fiber they contain, they facilitate digestion and improve intestinal health. According to experts, this helps to maintain our weight. Also, due to the high content of phytosterols - food factors that reduce cholesterol absorption in the intestine - they can reduce cholesterol levels that would otherwise clog arteries. This, in turn, reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Other benefits: from eyesight to urinary tract infections
These small berries also provide benefits to the pigmentation of the skin and night vision: they prevent cataracts, glaucoma, macular degeneration and retinitis.
On the other hand, as a consequence of the organic acids present in this fruit, which increase the acidity in urine, prevent the proliferation of bacteria and urinary infections.
Blueberries, in short, have an exceptional nutritional profile: they have fiber, potassium, vitamin K, vitamin C and folate. Nutritionists recommend consuming between half a cup to a cup per day as part of a balanced diet. Dr Naidoo says that as long as there are no added sugars, juice or preservatives, frozen blueberries will give you the same nutritional benefits as fresh blueberries.