Blueberries are delicious, juicy, colorful and incredibly healthy fruits. In fact, these tasty berries are a source of antioxidants, especially anthocyanins, which give the characteristic blue color and which are concentrated mainly in the peel, but also of phenols and flavonols. These substances give blueberries precious anti-aging and anti-inflammatory properties with benefits on the brain, skin, immune system and heart. But let's try to understand better.
Blueberries and brain
Blueberries are also food for brain! In fact, blueberries, being rich in polyphenols with an anti-aging and anti-inflammatory action, can help to counteract or delay the onset of neurodegenerative diseases related to aging such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's (Tran et al, Biomolecules, 2021). Not only that, the abundance of antioxidants in blueberries has been shown to improve memory at all ages, both in children and the elderly. In particular, what the studies have been able to observe is that blueberry polyphenols interact directly with neurons at the molecular level, amplifying signals between neurons and stimulating neuronal regeneration (Tran et al, Biomolecules, 2021).
Blueberries and skin
Topical application of blueberries on the skin has been shown to strengthen the skin's natural defenses against damage from external agents, such as pollution, which increases inflammation and can worsen conditions such as acne, but also UV rays. The external use of blueberries is beneficial in case of premature skin aging, mature skin, wrinkle formation and telangiectasias, namely, small, enlarged and visible blood vessels (Pambianchi et al, Oxid Med Cell Longev, 2020). You can blend a handful of blueberries, add two tablespoons of Greek yogurt, which improves the elasticity, hydration and radiance of the skin (Yeom et al, J Cosmet Sci, 2011), mix and apply on a clean face. Leave on for ten minutes, then rinse and continue with your treatment.
Blueberries and eyesight
Blueberries are the fruits with the highest anthocyanin content. These antioxidant substances are particularly beneficial in protecting the retina, especially from the damage of hyperglycemia, but also in improving the quality of vision (Huang et al, Oxid Med Cell Longev, 2018).
Blueberries, blood sugar and obesity
Blueberries help keep blood sugar under control. In fact, thanks to the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory substances they contain, blueberries improve insulin sensitivity, support the intestinal microbiota and reduce the activity of those digestive enzymes responsible for breaking down starches into glucose, thus leading to a reduction in circulating glucose. The reduction in blood sugar was observed already after a single ingestion of 150 grams of blueberries, while the improvement in insulin sensitivity after a week of regular blueberry consumption (Palma et al, Nutrients, 2021). But the beneficial action of blueberries does not end there. In fact, the contribution of blueberries, and therefore of anthocyanins, has been shown to help reduce fat mass and visceral fat (Kalt et al, Adv Nutr, 2020).
Blueberries and physical activity
Blueberries counteract chronic inflammation and this benefits the body, which is more active and with more energy. Not only that, blueberries are also a source of energy thanks to the sugars they contain. These properties explain the fact that the intake of blueberries can, in the long run, even improve physical performance (Park et al, Iran J Public Health, 2018).
Blueberries and immune system
As mentioned in the previous paragraphs, blueberries are antioxidants and anti-inflammatory. This action helps reduce chronic inflammation, which would otherwise reduce the body's natural defenses in the long run. Not only that, blueberries also contain quercetin which is a substance that has shown antiviral properties (Park et al, Iran J Public Health, 2018). In fact, quercetin was found to be able to counteract the entry of the influenza A virus into the body and also to inhibit the replication of rhinoviruses, thus showing a general protective action on the respiratory tract (Wu et al, Viruses, 2016).
Blueberries, juices and frozen fruits
How does the quantity of antioxidants change according to the processing to which the blueberries are subjected? Cranberry juice preserves about half of the anthocyanins present in the fresh fruit. Instead, the freezing process leaves the antioxidants unaltered and allows the precious properties of blueberries to be maintained. In fact, several studies on the benefits of blueberries on cognitive function have been carried out precisely starting from frozen fruits (Tran et al, Biomolecules, 2021).