Blueberries Health Benefits

The most important of blueberries health benefits is not the presence of vitamins and minerals, but the high levels of antioxidants, although blueberries contain enough Vitamin C and Manganese per serving to be valuable sources of these important nutrients. In tests conducted by the USDA of 100 commonly available foods, blueberries ranked one out of 100 for antioxidant activity. (black currants have higher levels, but they were not tested, as they are not a common food source in the United States or Canada)

During WWII British pilots ate bilberries, a close relative of blueberries, because they were believed to improve night vision. Now we know that blueberries and their close relatives are high in bioflavonoid chemical compounds that are used by the rods of the eye for night vision.

Blueberries contain an antioxidant called phytosterol pterostilbene. This compound is similar to the heart-healthy resveratrol found in grapes and red wine. Studies are currently underway at the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy to see if blueberries might also help reduce cholesterol.

Blueberries also contain anthocyanins, an important antioxidant in the fight to support the health of your heart, urinary tract, brain and vision. They play an important role in reducing swelling and inflammation. There is also growing evidence that the active anthocyanin pigments found in blueberries can improve failing eyesight and can prevent muscle disintergration resulting from aging.

Recent studies at Rutgers University have identified the presence of proanthocyanidins. These antioxidents are also present in cranberries, and are believed to prevent some bacteria from adhering to the urinary tract.

The full benefits of antioxidants are still not completely understood, but the combination of human experience and preliminary studies appear very promising.

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Blueberries Health Benefits