- Created on Thursday, 16 June 2011 18:28
- Written by Planet Fashion TV
- Category: Health
You know that blueberries are good for you. But did you know that blueberries could help fight aging, combat disease, lower blood pressure, protect the heart and brain and even boost your memory?
Intensive research by scientists working in the U.S., Canada, Europe and Asia continues to reveal the amazing health benefits of blueberries.
Blueberries are divided into two major species: the wild ones, which are called "low bush," and the farmed berries that are "high bush." Both types have received a great deal of favorable attention from scientists over the past several years.
Blueberries boost memory
Researchers at the University of Cincinnati Academic Health Center achieved very interesting results when they studied the connection between blueberries and memory. Their study on older adults with early memory decline found that memory function was boosted by drinking the juice of wild blueberries for 12 weeks. The University of Cincinnati researchers noted: "To our knowledge, this is the first human trial assessing the potential benefit of blueberry supplementation on neurocognitive function in older adults with increased risk for dementia."
It should be noted that this study involved a small group who consumed blueberry juice with breakfast, lunch and dinner. Given the interest in finding solutions to the growing problem of cognitive decline in aging, larger studies on blueberries and the mind should follow.
What gives blueberries their nutritional power
Blueberries are a good source of vitamin C, vitamin K and fiber. The color of blueberries, from deep blue to purple, is caused by a group of flavonoids called anthocyanins, which have remarkable antioxidant power.
Laboratory tests suggest that anthocyanins may help to prevent degenerative diseases, including cancer, heart disease, stroke and memory loss.
Blueberry anthocyanins may protect humans and animals from the effects of a condition known as oxidative stress, which underlies the common disorders associated with aging. Oxidative stress increases with high fat meals and with exposure to environmental toxins.
Blueberries support heart health
Recent research supported by the United States Department of Agriculture-Research, Education and Economics shows that eating blueberries may help combat cardiovascular disease.
Scientists at the University of Arkansas fed mice a diet enhanced with blueberry powder, and found that it helped reduce atherosclerosis.
Publishing their findings in the Journal of Nutrition, the researchers indicate that the benefit may be from the antioxidant effect of the blueberries, reducing the oxidative stress that leads to heart disease.
Here's what eating blueberries can do for oxidative stress:
When healthy volunteers ate blueberry powder along with a high fat meal, the blueberries produced a significant increase in the antioxidant status of their blood, compared to the high fat meal alone.
When mice stressed by aging or by toxins were fed blueberries at a dose that would equal one cup a day for a human, their brains revealed a decrease in damage from oxidative stress. Blueberry-fed mice performed better than "control" mice (not fed blueberries) on tests of learning, memory and coordination.
Preventing urinary tract infections (UTIs)
Like their cousins, cranberries, blueberries contain flavonoids that can possibly prevent urinary tract infections. Blueberry flavonoids prevent bacteria that cause urinary infections from binding to the lining of the bladder and can even inhibit the growth of bacteria.
Research on blueberries, cancer and cholesterol
In addition to fighting oxidative stress, eating blueberries may potentially help to prevent cancer and heart disease through other mechanisms.
Blueberry anthocyanins have shown the potential to possibly help inhibit the growth of colon cancer cells in certain research studies.
A group of chemicals that are found in blueberries called stilbenes have possible cholesterol-lowering effects.