Blueberries are a highly nutritious food, packed to the brim with fibre (important for blood sugar regulation as it lowers the glycaemic index of whatever you eat) and antioxidants.
Studies on blueberries have found that they may:
- Reverse & prevent the effects of aging
- Improve insulin sensitivity and glucose regulation
- Lower cholesterol
- Lower blood pressure
- Decrease abdominal fat
- Lower triglycerides
- Prevent urinary tract infections, in the same manner as cranberries do
- Prevent cancer
- Prevent heart disease
- Improve motor behavioural learning, co-ordination, balance & memory
- Reduce the chance of developing Alzheimer’s disease in those predisposed
- Inhibit mutagenesis (cancer) in breast and cervical tissue in vitro
- Reduce the risk of death from cancers of the breast, endometrium and prostate in conjunction with a high fibre, low fat diet.
- Decrease oxidative stress in 2 regions of the brain
- Result in better retention of signal-transmitting neurons in the brain
- Reduce ischaemic brain damage after a stroke
- Positively affect genes related to fat-burning and storage and glucose uptake in muscle tissue
- Reduce a protein transcription factor associated with aging and oxidative stress
Blueberries are one of the most highly antioxidant foods you can eat, due to their anthocyanin content, a powerful antioxidant which gives dark red/blue fruits and vegetables their colour. When blueberries were tested alongside 40 other fruits and vegetables in a study designed to identify and quantify the antioxidant capacity of foods, blueberries ranked number one, well ahead of blackberries, strawberries, spinach, broccoli, oranges, apples & bananas with an ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) of 25, as opposed to only 20 for it’s nearest competitor, the blackberry.
As central obesity, or abdominal adiposity is strongly associated with polycystic ovarian syndrome, increasing the amount of blueberries in your diet may be very beneficial, in addition to a healthy diet and regular exercise program, in reducing weight, especially around the middle. The amounts used in the study by the Cardioprotection Research Laboratory at the University of Michigan was equal to 2% of the diets over a 3 month period. You may need to rely on frozen blueberries for much of the year to achieve this, but as medicine goes, this has to be one of the tastiest!
Just a final note of caution: don’t eat your blueberries with dairy products. When the two foods are eaten together, the casein in milk appears to block the antioxidant potential of fruits, vegetables, grains and even tea! Sad news I know, but when you are taking Hippocrates’ advice to let food be your medicine and your medicine be your food it is worth considering.
Oxidative stress protection and vulnerability in aging: putative nutritional implications for intervention.
Joseph JA, Denisova NA, Bielinski D, Fisher DR, Shukitt-Hale B.
Mech Ageing Dev. 2000 Jul 31;116(2-3):141-53. Review. PMID: 10996014
Diets containing blueberry extract lower blood pressure in spontaneously hypertensive stroke-prone rats.
Shaughnessy KS, Boswall IA, Scanlan AP, Gottschall-Pass KT, Sweeney MI.
Nutr Res. 2009 Feb;29(2):130-8. PMID: 19285604
Addition of milk prevents vascular protective effects of tea.
Lorenz M, Jochmann N, von Krosigk A, Martus P, Baumann G, Stangl K, Stangl V.
Eur Heart J. 2007 Jan;28(2):219-23. Epub 2007 Jan 9.
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This article was originally published at My PCOS Info. Further references and links to the studies mentioned can be found there.
Copyright 2012 Anne Seccombe. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed without the express permission of the author. All rights reserved.