How do Blueberries Affect Your Health? June 21 2014

You know blueberries are delicious, but did you know just how good they are for your health?  They are nutritional powerhouses - here is proof.  Avoid non-organic berries to avoid harmful pesticide exposure, and always eat  / stock up on them when they are in season.  

Blueberries have been cultivated in the US for hundreds of years. One of the first meals Lewis and Clark had with the Native Americans was deer meat infused with wild blueberries. Today, they are the second most commonly eaten berry in the United States, after strawberries, and offer a wide array of health benefits, including protection against heart disease, some forms of cancer and obesity.

Weight Control

A cup of raw blueberries has 84 calories, a gram of protein, half a gram of fat, no cholesterol and 3.6 grams of fiber, making it a good choice if you are trying to lose weight or maintain your current weight. Although it contains 14.74 grams of sugar, more than most fruits, a cup of blueberries has a glycemic index of 53, according to the University of Sydney's glycemic index database. This number is considered safe for most diabetics.

Anthocyanins

With about 14.4 milligrams of vitamin C -- 15 to 20 percent of your recommended daily intake -- blueberries' antioxidant content offers support to your immune system and cell health. According to researchers in a 1994 study published in "Journal of Food Science," blueberries contain 110 to 260 milligrams of anthocyanins per 100 grams, depending on the variety. Anthocyanins, which are widely studied because of their antioxidant potential, are a class of flavonoid compounds that give many red, purple and blue fruits and vegetables their pigments.

Cardiovascular Benefits

Blueberries may help people who have heart conditions. In 2009, researchers from the National Institute on Aging studied the effects of a blueberry-rich diet on rats with heart failure. In the scientific journal "PLoS ONE," they documented that after a year, rats on the blueberry diet had improved heart conditions and a 22 percent lower mortality rate than rats that did not eat blueberries, prompting the researchers to suggest that more research be done on the relationship between blueberries and heart health.

Cancer Prevention

The flavonoids and ellagic acid in blueberries make them an effective cancer-fighting tool, according to the American Institute for Cancer Research. The vitamin C in blueberries traps free radicals and prevents them from forming carcinogens. Anthocyanins and ellagic acid stop cancer cells from growing and cause some types of cancer cells, including lung, stomach, pancreatic and breast cancer cells, to self-destruct. They may also offer anti-inflammatory benefits that protect against cancers of the esophagus and colon. The fiber content minimizes the amount of time that your cells are exposed to carcinogens, further reducing your risk.

Order your JUne 23rd basket and berries here