By: Bob Kupniewski
As the summer faded and fall was approaching, I headed out to my cousin’s house. They live near a blueberry farm so I picked up five pounds of blueberries. After stocking up and freezing four of the five pounds for the winter, I decided to write a short article regarding the benefits of this amazing fruit and why they should be included on a regular basis if possibleon a diet. Blueberries are a bit expensive in a regular grocery store, but they do contain tons of anti-oxidants and serve as a positive influence not only on our health but on our micronutrient intake in a given day.
Before I get into writing articles, I always enjoy reading research or information from other sources out there (especially PUBMED) regarding the information on a given subject to get a better understanding of what I am in for when writing an article and gathering new information. I have heard that Blueberries are a fruit that contain a weightloss and fatloss benefit and that was backed by research at the Michigan Cardiovascular Center. They showed that consuming 1 cup of blueberries every 2 days would aid in reduction of cardiovascular diseases and metabolic syndrome over a 4 week trial based off 20 individuals. That was a great start
Let’s understand and get to know about the fruit before we venture into more information. Blueberries include cranberry and bilberry in a shrub that belongs to the heath family of fruits. I gathered my blueberries off a farm where they were produced near my cottage right by Lake Erie. They grow in clusters and take quite a bit of time to bloom and the spring and summer are their peak season to pick them off the vine. They are a dark blue color (ripe) and also a purple/black color when they are almost on their way to fully done and ripe. Another interesting study I found off of PubMed by the Biological center in London (2009) showed how it helps aid in lower blood cholesterol levels and improved glucose control/insulin sensitivity in individuals to aid in lowing heart disease and diabetes. So far, I am really digging the information this fruit can bring to the table when included in the diet.
Blueberries are very rich in Vitamin C, Vitamin B, Vitamin E, Vitamin A, Copper, selenium, Zinc, Irion, Anthocyanin which aid in building up the immune system and promoting hemoglobin and increased oxygen concentration in the blood stream.
As odd as it may sound, blueberries can help cleanse colonies of certain bacteria in your body (b-coli) towards the lining of your urinary tract to help build up of inflammation over time or a burning sensation that may be felt with certain diseases/virus’s that can happen through sexual transmission.
Another interesting fact is that blueberries can help improve vision. How is this possible? The anthocyanosides found in the blueberry have been studied to show it can slow down vision loss as you age (which tends to happen and why most older folks do have glasses/contacts). Not only that, but it can delay hypermetropia, dryness, infections of the bloodstream, and this is because of the anti-oxidants that steam from the fruit called Carotenoids, Flavonoids, and the vitamins which I have addressed earlier. Long-term micro composition of the food source (blueberry) has a generic effect on your overall health when eating 2-3 servings of fruit per day over prolonged periods of time (years). The major reason that vision loss may occur as we age? The lack of anti-oxidants, micronutrients and eating significant fruit, which can aid in reaching those goals. The majority of vitamin-C comes from a compound called Anthocyanin, which is found in the blue color of the blueberries (the pigment).
Blueberries have positive effects towards diseases that are very common as we age: Heart Disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and Cancer. The vast majority of vitamins in the blueberry help prevent degeneration of neurons, brain cells, and help restore the CNS (central nervous system) to help keep your immune system in full check as you continue to age. Researchers have done studies showing improved memory over long durations, improved motor skills, and learning capacity to hold long-term memory equivalent to younger males.
In the the Journal of Agricultre/Food Chemistry, researchers showed that comparing white wine (.47 mmol of anti-oxidants), red wine (2.04 mmol of anti-oxidants) and blueberries (2.42 mmol) proves that blueberries anti-oxidant amount surpasses others out there to help aid in keeping your body in check and full function. How about those apples? Pass on those and give me more blueberries!
While we continue to fight the battle on Cancer, blueberries can aid in the prevention, but perhaps not enough to make a substantial difference. Anti-oxidants can aid compounds such as Pterostilbene (found to help fight liver/colon cancer). Also, lets factor in luetolin which is found in blueberries can help overall prevention of cell building of cancer which was proven in a study down by the individuals above from the Journal of Agriculture showing a decrease in over 25% of ovarian and prostate cancer with higher intake of blueberries or luteolin (since this is found in citrus fruits).
As research has shown the true benefits of blueberries when you are selecting them from your grocery store or picking them on your own be sure to actually try to pick one before choosing your variety. Do not grab those that are soggy or fall off the stem very easy, they should be a touch firm on the outside. You should be able to pop them (like you were popping a zit) firm on the outside and have a nice dark blue color to them. Those that are purple tainted or not fully ripe I would steer clear of if possible and aim for the ones that are completely ripe and ready to eat. Those that are soaked in water is a bad sign, they should be free of moisture to aid in preventing blueberry decay (believe it or not). Most fruits are rinsed before eating, if you do this with blueberries do a very light coat of water or else decay will settle in overtime hence why I leave a small batch out and freeze the rest. When they come out of the freezer they should not be stuck together or else if you did buy frozen it shows they were already thawed and refrozen again which is a bad sign.