Blueberries contain antioxidants and phytonutrients, both of which have powerful health benefits. These include the ability to reduce signs of aging, may improve heart health, help in controlling blood pressure and diabetes, and may even lower the risk of cancer. Considered a superfood by many, blueberries can also help improve brain health, promote weight loss, and soothe inflammation.
What are Blueberries?
Blueberries (Vaccinium corymbosum) are tiny, indigo-colored, edible berries, which are sweet to taste. The blueberry plant is a perennial flowering shrub that grows in clusters, especially in North America. They are closely related to bilberries, cranberries, and gooseberries.
|Serving Size :|
|Total lipid (fat) [g]||0.33|
|Carbohydrate, by difference [g]||14.49|
|Fiber, total dietary [g]||2.4|
|Sugars, total including NLEA [g]||9.96|
|Glucose (dextrose) [g]||4.88|
|Calcium, Ca [mg]||6|
|Iron, Fe [mg]||0.28|
|Magnesium, Mg [mg]||6|
|Phosphorus, P [mg]||12|
|Potassium, K [mg]||77|
|Sodium, Na [mg]||1|
|Zinc, Zn [mg]||0.16|
|Copper, Cu [mg]||0.06|
|Manganese, Mn [mg]||0.34|
|Selenium, Se [µg]||0.1|
|Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid [mg]||9.7|
|Pantothenic acid [mg]||0.12|
|Vitamin B-6 [mg]||0.05|
|Folate, total [µg]||6|
|Folate, food [µg]||6|
|Folate, DFE [µg]||6|
|Choline, total [mg]||6|
|Vitamin A, RAE [µg]||3|
|Carotene, beta [µg]||32|
|Vitamin A, IU [IU]||54|
|Lutein + zeaxanthin [µg]||80|
|Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) [mg]||0.57|
|Tocopherol, beta [mg]||0.01|
|Tocopherol, gamma [mg]||0.36|
|Tocopherol, delta [mg]||0.03|
|Tocotrienol, gamma [mg]||0.07|
|Vitamin K (phylloquinone) [µg]||19.3|
|Fatty acids, total saturated [g]||0.03|
|Fatty acids, total monounsaturated [g]||0.05|
|Fatty acids, total polyunsaturated [g]||0.15|
|Aspartic acid [g]||0.06|
|Glutamic acid [g]||0.09|
|Sources include : USDA|
Blueberries are nutrient-dense, low in calories, and high in fiber. According to the USDA National Nutrient Database, the berries are a rich source of vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin B6, folate, potassium, copper, and manganese. They are low in carbohydrates and sodium and have high water content.
They are also abundant in antioxidants, especially anthocyanins, responsible for their deep blue color and powerful health benefits. Blueberries, as compared with many of the other foods, have one of the highest amounts of antioxidants.
Let’s take a look at the powerful health benefits of blueberries.
Anthocyanins in blueberries assist in fighting oxidative DNA damage, while the abundance of vitamin C is a big factor in building collagen. This is why regular consumption of blueberries may help reduce signs of aging, such as wrinkles, age spots, and acne.
Lowers Bad Cholesterol
Research suggests that the high fiber content and abundant antioxidants in blueberries may help dissolve the LDL (bad) cholesterol, making them an ideal dietary supplement to combat many heart diseases, while also strengthening the cardiac muscles. They also contain potassium, calcium, and magnesium, which help in reducing blood pressure.
A study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics found that daily consumption of blueberries helped improve blood pressure and arterial stiffness in postmenopausal women. While more lengthy, larger population studies are needed to confirm the efficacy of these results, preliminary findings suggest that daily blueberry consumption may reduce blood pressure and arterial stiffness.
Protect Heart Health
Blueberries are known for their presence of fiber, anthocyanin, potassium, folate, vitamin B6, and vitamin C. Fiber and anthocyanin have been shown to help reduce cholesterol, which in turn, may lessen or prevent clogging of arteries. Vitamin B6 and folate mitigate blood vessel damage by inhibiting homocysteine build-up and potassium regulates the working of heart muscles.
Blueberry juice and extract may help improve insulin sensitivity in obese, nondiabetic, insulin-resident men and women, one study shows. Blueberry is a high fiber food that is an essential part of the diabetic diet and helps lower blood sugar levels.
According to a report published by, Beckman Research Institute of the City of Hope, California, in the Cancer Research Journal, the berries have anti-cancer properties. The results of their studies suggest that the oral intake of blueberries could be a key component of long-term cancer prevention strategies. A team of American researchers also published a report in the Nutrition and Cancer Journal stating that it contains certain compounds like pterostilbene and ellagic acid. These two in harmony with anthocyanin and other antioxidants (like vitamin C and copper) are also being researched for their anti-cancer potential.
Improve Brain Function
The vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients in blueberries amongst children in the age group of 7-10 years appear to improve cognition and preventing some degeneration and death of neurons suggests a study published in the European Journal of Nutrition. According to a preliminary study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, the beneficial compounds found in these berries may have positive implications for lowering your risk of suffering from disorders like Alzheimer’s disease. They can even heal damaged brain cells and neuron tissues to keep your memory sharp. However, future research is needed to confirm these initial findings.
The high fiber content present in them promotes digestion and weight loss. They also promote satiety and may help reduce belly fat, according to one study. One cup of blueberries contains only 15 grams of carbohydrates and 84 calories. Thus, frozen or dried blueberries are great low-calorie snacks.
Rich in Antioxidants
The antioxidants along with other phytonutrients and flavonoids present in blueberries are responsible for some of the free radical scavenging activity in the body. The group of flavonoids, in particular, anthocyanin, protects the body from all types of damage due to free radicals.
A number of studies published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry establish that high amounts of antioxidants are beneficial to the body in various ways including reducing cellular structure damage, DNA damage, and early aging.
Other benefits of blackberries include:
Flavonoid-rich wild blueberries help enhance mood and act as an effective antidepressant.
The roughage (fiber) present in blueberries contributes towards the total dairy amount needed to prevent constipation. Also, the vitamins, sodium, copper, fructose, and acids the blueberries contain can assist in digestion by stimulating the secretion of correct gastric and digestive juices. This helps the food move smoothly through the gastrointestinal system.
Treat Urinary Tract Infections
Similarly to how cranberries and cranberry juice are known for alleviating UTI, blueberries may, too. Both are known to have certain antibiotic properties and compounds that prevent bacteria from sticking to the bladder walls.
Blueberries can delay age-related ocular problems due to their antioxidant properties. These include macular degeneration, cataracts, myopia and hypermetropia, dryness, as well as infections pertaining to the retina. They contain special antioxidants called carotenoids (lutein, zeaxanthin, etc.), flavonoids (like rutin, resveratrol, quercetin, etc.), and other antioxidant compounds, which are all very beneficial for ocular health.
Antioxidants present in blueberries can boost your overall immune system and prevent infections. Once your immune system is strong, you reduce the chance of catching catch colds, fever, pox, and countless other communicable diseases spread by bacteria and viruses.
Reduce Muscle Soreness
Blueberries help reduce the muscle soreness and fatigue that occurs after a strenuous exercise or activity, according to a study published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition.
Blueberry husks consumed along with probiotics show potentially potent anti-inflammatory properties. This combination may alleviate symptoms of inflammatory bowel syndrome (IBS) and Crohn’s disease, such as bleeding and pain caused by ulcerative colitis.
Anthocyanin in blueberries has been studied in animal models and found to potentially help detoxify heavy metals from the body including lead, mercury, cadmium, and arsenic.
Polyphenols and resveratrol found in blueberries help long been thought to increase longevity and decrease the adverse effects linked with aging. Of course, these compounds are only beneficial if combined with exercise and a healthy lifestyle.
There are five major types of blueberries:
- Northern Highbush
- Southern Highbush
Blueberries can be incorporated into practically any dish to impart a sweet-tart taste. They could be used as toppings or be added to various dishes like over baked foods, oatmeal, yogurts, pancakes, smoothies or salads.
Tips to Enjoy Blueberries
- Adding blueberries to your smoothies has never been this fun and exciting. To make it more nutritious and balanced, it is recommended to add about 2 cups of vegetables for every 1 cup of fruit. If you’d like to have the smoothie as a meal, weigh it out with a serving of protein (Greek yogurt, protein powder or peanut butter).
- Frozen blueberries are a rich source of fiber. Blueberries are picked at the peak of their freshness and have a mouth-watering taste when mixed with delicious ice cream, cookie crumbles, or on their own.
- Adding blueberries to your favorite oatmeal bowl or cereals is quick and easy as it boosts your fiber intake.
Select, Store and Freeze
Here are a few tips to remember while buying and storing blueberries:
- They are available in fresh, frozen, and dried form.
- Frozen blueberries loose texture faster than fresh berries, but the flavor remains the same.
- Always select fresh firm blueberries as they are moisture free and last long
- Fresh blueberries that are completely dry should be used in the freezer.
- If you prefer to rinse the blueberries first, make sure to dry them with paper towels, then transfer them to freezer containers or zip lock bags for freezing.
- If you don’t wash your berries before freezing them, just rinse it before use.
- For ideal results, toss your frozen blueberries into an oatmeal bowl, smoothies, froyos, shakes, or sauces within 10 minutes of removing them from the freezer.
A few side effects include:
- Blood-thinning: People taking blood-thinning medication (warfarin) or suffering from blood disorders (hemophilia) speak with their doctors about consuming blueberries. The vitamin K content may interfere with the blood-thinning and result in blood-clot. It is thought that consuming a consistent amount (such as 1 cup, three times weekly) can help physicians to decide the right amount of medication.
- Allergy: They may cause a food allergy like itching, swelling or difficulty in breathing.
Note: Avoid use before or after surgery as blueberries can interfere with blood sugar control.
A final interesting thing to know about blueberries is that the darker the color of the blueberries, the richer they are in antioxidants and other medicinal nutrients.