Blueberries are packed with brain-boosting antioxidants that we all know of, but there are many more reasons to eat them every single day! Here are 10 reasons to eat more blueberries that you might not know, plus my favorite healthy blueberry smoothie recipe!
Blueberries are one of my favorite fruits and always have been. I grew up eating them in sweet desserts, which isn’t the method I recommend today! I now enjoy them in many ways, from smoothies to oatmeal to healthy fruit-based desserts and so much more. In fact, I eat at least some form of them every single day! From antioxidant-rich wild blueberries to larger, cultivated blueberries, these fruits come in several different forms and are all worth including in your diet.
Most of you probably know that blueberries contain antioxidants that have been shown to improve brain health, but there are more reasons to eat blueberries that you might not know. Check those out below, plus see my favorite healthy blueberry smoothie recipe!
1. Blueberries have been shown to support digestive health due to their fiber and protective antioxidants. They contain 4 grams of fiber per cup and are low in sugars which support a healthy digestive system and gut flora we all need to be healthy. Their antioxidants have even been shown to prevent certain types of digestive cancers when eaten in an overall healthy diet.
2. Blueberries’ dark blue and purple colors indicate that they contain a class of antioxidants known as anthocyanins. While you might have heard about these antioxidants supporting brain health, you might not know that they also support healthy skin making them important for natural beauty. Anthocyanins help prevent skin from premature aging and can reduce signs of aging thanks to the way they fight free radicals in the body that hurt our skin and overall health. These antioxidants are also found in other dark blue and purple colored veggies and fruits, such as blackberries, black raspberries, maqui berries, eggplant, purple cabbage, and acai berries.
3. Blueberries help lower blood pressure and can help lower stress levels that can lead to high blood pressure. They also help remove plaque from the arteries which may improve blood flow and may reduce and improve cholesterol numbers.
4. Blueberries have been linked to lower body weights, even in individuals who are not currently on a calorie-restricted diet. This is due to their high amounts of antioxidants and the way they promote healthy gut bacteria, which may prevent excessive weight gain in the abdominal region as a result. Researchers also suspect they contribute to lower body weights due to the high amounts of polyphenols they contain. Polyphenols are nutrients found in various fruits and vegetables that have been linked to many health factors, such as lower body weight, lower rates of disease, and improvements brain health and heart health. High amounts of polyphenols are also found in foods such as green tea, strawberries, and various other deeply colored fruits and vegetables and certain herbs.
5. Blueberries contain vitamin C which supports the immune system, skin health, and can help reduce stress. Vitamin C is also important for wound repair and the uptake of iron from plant-based sources. Pairing blueberries with iron-rich foods, such as oats, pumpkin seeds, and spinach, can greatly improve the way the body absorbs the iron from these plant-based sources.
6. Blueberries are among many fruits that have been scientifically proven to reduce the rate of type 2 diabetes. Fruits and vegetables are critical components of a healthy diet and can help support natural blood sugar regulation in the body that prevents insulin resistance which leads to type 2 diabetes. Patients in a 2013 study saw improvements in insulin levels and other markers that reduce the chances of developing type 2 diabetes when they consumed a diet rich in various fruits, such as blueberries.
7. Blueberries reduce inflammation and can help reduce heart disease and neurological disorders as a result. Their high concentrations of nutrients lower the rate of developing inflammation in the body that contributes to heart disease, cardiovascular disease, and memory decline throughout aging.
8. Blueberries greatly reduce constipation. That’s right! These berries (and all other berries) help keep us regular and prevent constipation. They also help support the lining of the gut and microbiota (gut bacteria) that contribute to healthy digestion and elimination on a regular basis.
9. Blueberries are a good source of folate, which has been shown to support brain health in children and adults and is a critical nutrient pregnant women need for healthy fetal development of their unborn child.
10. One serving of blueberries contains one-third of our daily requirements of vitamin K which supports bone health, artery health, and supports the improvement of various other vitamins and minerals in the body.
Finally, blueberries are a delicious, low-calorie fruit that belongs in everyone’s diet! I love to buy my blueberries frozen so their nutrition is always consistent and guaranteed. Plus, did you know that frozen fruits, such as berries, are often more nutritious in frozen form since their nutrients are locked away right after harvest and preserved through freezing? Instead of sitting on shelves for weeks at a time like fresh blueberries, frozen blueberries are harvested when they are ripe and most nutritious and then frozen within 12-14 hours. This means you not only save money when buying them but also get the most nutrition possible!
My favorite blueberries are wild blueberries which contain TWICE the antioxidant content of regular blueberries. Wild blueberries are also very tiny in size (about half the size of a regular blueberry) and are naturally sweeter without being any higher in calories or grams of sugar. While all blueberries are great to eat, consider trying wild blueberries once in a while! They’re available in the frozen section since they aren’t sold fresh.
This healthy blueberry smoothie I’m sharing with you today is my number one favorite recipe using blueberries in a smoothie because it not only tastes delicious but also sneaks in a serving of veggies!
My Chocolate Blueberry Zucchini Smoothie tastes like a delicious treat and you’ll never know the hidden zucchini is there; it just makes the smoothie creamy, higher in fiber, and even adds vitamin C, potassium and vitamin B6. It also helps to thicken up the smoothie and can help keep you fuller longer. I like to freeze my zucchini into cubes in mini baggies first (after I get home from the store) so I can just add it to the blender when I want to make this recipe instead of using ice which can water down smoothies. You can also use fresh zucchini if you prefer, but I recommend reducing the liquid ingredients if you go that route.
Give this healthy blueberry smoothie recipe a try, I hope you love it!