|Posted on October 7, 2010 at 4:32 PM|
Blueberries are rich in Vitamins A, C, E and beta-carotene as well as rich in the minerals potassium, manganese, magnesium. They are very high in fiber and low in saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium. But this is just the tip of the nutritional iceberg, for recent studies tell us that of all fresh fruits and vegetables, blueberries provide the most health-protecting antioxidants, those valuable elements which prevent cancer-causing cell damage and may limit the changes wrought by age related diseases.
The properties of blueberries cross the blood brain barrier to effect these benefits. Antioxidants help to stop the production of free radicals. Free radicals are groups of atoms that impair the cells and the immune system which leads to disease. Anti-oxidants bind the the free electrons in free radicals.
Anthocyanins create the blue color in blueberries. They are water-soluble and will bleed into water (or on mouths and clothes). Anthocyanins are antioxidants, known to reduce heart disease and cancer in humans. They are found throughout the plant world, but blueberries are the highest of any fruit or vegetable. This substance is believed to combat E. Coli.
Oxalates are the one possible negative aspect of blueberries. Oxalates should not be eaten in high concentration as they can crystallize and cause kidney or gallbladder problems. Oxalates also slow the absorption of calcium into the system. Eat blueberries separately from calcium-rich foods. A two to three hour wait is sufficient.
The nutritional value of blueberries makes them one of the best foods we can eat. And if you live near a blueberry patch and have any ordinary bucket, gathering this humble berry is one of life's joys. Anyone who has gone blueberry picking as a child will carry the memory for life.
Most current studies have been limited to animals, but the findings would appear to be significant. Animals fed a diet of blueberry extract showed fewer changes in age related brain function which may mean better cognitive and motor skills. Yes, this means that blueberries may help the brain ward off dementia. There are current studies world-wide to determine further effects on health and many believe that blueberries help the eyes, prevent urinary tract infections, lower cholesterol, protect against macular degeneration, and aid the cardiovascular system. These are significant health benefits and rank blueberries as one of the top foods to eat. Many of these studies have not arrived at a conclusion, and no single food is a cure-all, but looking at the list of phytochemicals in the blueberry, we are eager to eat them for health as well as pleasure.
Categories: Foods To Eat/Nutrition Articles