Eat this fruit every day for a longer life, says science

If you’re a fan of sprinkling blueberries on your morning bowl of oatmeal or yogurt, you’re in luck. Despite their small size, blueberries provide an abundance of nutrients that can positively benefit your health in the long run. From reducing your risk of disease to boosting your body with micronutrients, we’ve explored the specific ways that mixing blueberries into your meals will easily boost your nutrition and add years to your life.

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Most fruits and vegetables are powerful sources of polyphenols – antioxidants that help reduce inflammation and fight free radicals in the body. If the body is chronically inflamed (which occurs when the body is dealing with oxidative stress in the immune system), it is more prone to developing disease. Research has found that polyphenols can reduce oxidative stress and inflammation, which in turn reduces the risk of disease.

In particular, blueberries are packed with antioxidants called anthocyanins, which are known to reduce free radicals in the body that lead to certain diseases such as cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and even neurological decline.. Anthocyanins also have pigments that cause blueberries to have that familiar rich, blue color.

One of the specific ways that blueberries can reduce disease risk is by lowering LDL “bad” cholesterol levels in the blood. LDL cholesterol is the type of cholesterol that builds up in the arteries when there’s too much in the bloodstream, and not enough HDL “good” cholesterol to move LDL back to the liver. Research published in The food magazine found that participants who consumed blueberries reported a 27% lower LDL cholesterol level in just 8 weeks, reducing their risk of metabolic syndrome and other cardiovascular disease risks.

In general, many berry varieties are a potent source of fiber. According to JAMA Network, consuming enough fiber in the diet has been linked to a lower risk of disease and longer life due to the way fiber stabilizes blood sugar and lowers LDL cholesterol. One study even found that for every 8 grams of fiber in the diet, participants were able to reduce their risk of death (as well as cases of heart disease, diabetes and colorectal cancer) by 5% to 27%.

Fiber is also satiating, meaning it helps you feel full for longer. The American Heart Association recommends getting at least 25 to 30 grams of fiber per day for optimal health. A cup of blueberries contains about 4 grams of fiber.

Finally, blueberries provide a big boost of vitamin C; one cup contains about 15% of your recommended daily intake. Vitamin C acts as a powerful antioxidant that fights free radicals, while also benefiting the body’s nerve, immune, bone, cartilage and blood systems.

So why not reap the long-term benefits of this potent little fruit by making a batch of these healthy blueberry muffins?

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