Blueberries are frequently referred to as a “superfood,” but why? These little blueberries are nutrient-dense and appear to strike the ideal blend of exquisite sweetness and low-calorie content. While blueberries appear to be simple, they are considerably more complex than you might assume.
Blueberries are divided into two groups, both of which can be found grouped on bushes across the United States. Blueberries are one of the most extensively grown fruits in the United States, with commercial production in 38 of the 50 states.
- Highbush blueberries – grown commercially across the country, highbush blueberries feature tall shrubs that can reach up to 6 to 8 feet. Highbush varietals produce copious large berries, but their flavor is less sweet and intense than the tastes found on lowbush varietals.
- Lowbush (or “wild”) blueberries – native to Maine and colder climes in Northeast America, lowbush blueberries grow on smaller shrubs and produce small, extra-sweet blue-black berries that are packed with nutrients, including a higher average antioxidant count than highbush varieties.
1. Packed With Nutrients
Blueberries, despite their small size, have a nutritional profile that rivals practically every other food on the earth. A single cup of blueberries (148 grams) includes the following nutrients:
- 4 grams of fiber
- 24% of the recommended daily intake (RDI) of Vitamin C
- 36% of the RDI for Vitamin K
- 25% of the RDI for Manganese
Blueberries are also about 85% water, therefore they aid to hydrate (indirectly). Even better, a cup of blueberries (one average serving) has only 84 calories, making it easy to incorporate into any calorie-counting diet. The simple blueberry is high in nutrients and low in disadvantages when combined with 15 grams of carbohydrates.
2. An Antioxidant Blast
What is the definition of an antioxidant? It’s an important nutrient that protects your cells from free radicals, which are unstable molecules that can cause aging and severe diseases like cancer. Blueberries, thankfully, have some of the greatest antioxidant contents of any fruit or vegetable. Blueberries have even been demonstrated in scientific research to raise the amount of antioxidant molecules – flavonoids – in your body.
3. Flavonoid Punch
Anthocyanin, a type of flavonoid, is responsible for many of blueberries’ health-promoting properties. It’s also responsible for the vivid color of blueberries.
Flavonoids like anthocyanin bind to free radicals, which are damaging chemicals that damage the DNA in our cells, to create their positive benefits. Oxidative DNA damage contributes to aging and various disorders, including cancer, as our cells age. By attaching to free radicals and “calming them down,” anthocyanin aids in the mitigation of this natural process.
4. Protecting Healthy Bones
Blueberries contain high levels of manganese and vitamin K, along with smaller amounts of phosphorous, iron, magnesium, zinc and calcium, all of which contribute to the maintenance of healthy bones.