Blueberries are delicious and good for you. They contain very few calories but plenty of nutrients.
Blueberries are so delicious that I’m yet to come across a single person who dislikes them.
There are several health benefits of blueberries, and this article examines 10 of them. I also discuss the number of calories in blueberries and their nutrition content.
1. Blueberries contain plenty of nutrients but very few calories
Blueberries are flowering plants that bear indigo-colored berries. They are a close relative of grouseberries, cranberries, and a few other berries.
The berries measure about 5 to 16mm (about 0.2 to 0.6 inches) in diameter. Blueberries have a distinct flared crown at the end.
The berry starts life off as a pale green fruit, then transforms into a reddish-purple berry as it matures. A fully ripe berry is dark purple.
Commercial blueberries originated from North America and were introduced into Europe in the 1930s.
Commercial farmers grow two varieties of blueberries. These are:
- The highbush variety: Which are the larger variety and the most widely grown species in North American.
- The lowbush variety: This is the smaller variety. They are also called “wild” berries because this is the variety that is common in the wild.
Blueberries are a nutrient-dense fruit, with a 148-gram serving (equivalent to 1 cup) containing the following nutrients (a):
- 36% of the recommended daily intake (RDI) of vitamin K.
- 24% of the RDI of vitamin C
- 25% of the RDI of manganese
- 4 grams of fiber
- They also contain plenty of other micronutrients in small amounts.
There are 84 calories and 15 grams of carbs in this 148-gram serving. About 85% of the fruit is water.
The nutrient content may not be very high but pound for pound, blueberries are one of the best sources of many beneficial nutrients.
Conclusion: Many of us love eating blueberries and you’ll be pleased to know that they contain plenty of nutrients, fiber, and very few calories.
2. Blueberries are loaded with antioxidants
Our bodies need antioxidants for optimal health.
Flavonoids are the primary antioxidants in blueberries. They contain several flavonoids, but most of the potent antioxidant effects are contributed by just one flavonoid called anthocyanins (g).
Conclusion: Blueberries contain more antioxidants than most of the vegetables and fruits we eat. Most of its antioxidant properties are from flavonoids.
3. Blueberries may help slow down the effects of aging and cancer
Every day, our DNA gets damaged from oxidation.
Researchers say that every single cell in our bodies experiences this oxidative DNA damage, which happens over 10,000 times each day (j).
We grow old because of DNA damage, among other reasons. There are also links between DNA damage and some illnesses like cancer (k).
This is where the antioxidant properties of blueberries may protect us against DNA damage. The antioxidants help protect our cells from oxidative damage, which could help slow down the effects of aging and protect against some diseases like cancer.
In one study, researchers gave a group of participants 1 liter of an apple and blueberry juice mix per day for one month.
Researchers discovered that there was a 20% reduction in oxidative DNA damage in the participants (l).
Conclusion: Research shows that blueberries contain substances that can help the body fight against oxidative DNA damage, which can slow down the effects of aging and protect against cancer.
4. Blueberries May Help Prevent Blood Cholesterol Damage
Oxidative damage may occur to other things in our body besides DNA.
Free radicals can also oxidize LDL (low-density lipoprotein) lipoproteins (which are the “bad” cholesterol) in the blood.
Why is this bad for you? This is because one of the key steps in the heart disease process is the oxidative damage of LDL.
Research shows that the antioxidants in blueberries can help reduce the oxidation of LDL in the blood (o).
In a 2-month study, obese participants saw a 27% fall in LDL oxidation when they ate 50 grams of blueberries each day (p).
According to a different study, participants experienced a significant drop in LDL oxidation when they ate 75 grams of blueberries with their main meals (q).
Conclusion: Blueberries may help fight one of the risk factors for heart disease by protecting the body against the oxidative damage of LDLs in the blood.
5. Blueberries may help regulate blood pressure.
High blood pressure or hypertension is of the main risk factors for heart disease.
Studies show that blueberries may help lower blood pressure in those with hypertension.
In a study spanning 2 months, a group of obese participants experienced a 4 to 6% fall in their blood pressure when they ate a 50-gram serving of blueberries each day for the duration of the study (r).
Some of the world’s deadliest diseases, including heart attack and stroke, are caused by high blood pressure and other contributing factors. Any food that can help lower blood pressure is good for you.
Conclusion: If you have high blood pressure, incorporate daily intake of blueberries into your recovery process to help lower your blood pressure.
6. Blueberries May Assist in The Prevention of Some Cardiovascular Illness
As we just learned, blueberries may help lower blood pressure and reduce the oxidative damage of LDL in the blood.
These are two of the main risk factors for several cardiovascular illnesses like heart attack and stroke.
Heart attacks are one of the biggest causes of early death in the world (u).
So, can blueberries actually prevent heart attacks?
A recent study found that the risk of a heart attack in some 96,000+ nurses fell by 32% when they at plenty of anthocyanins (which is the primary antioxidant in blueberries) (v).
However, this study was merely an observational one. Therefore, researchers cannot prove that the effect was caused by the anthocyanins. However, there is no reason to think that blueberries cannot help prevent heart disease given the effects they have on some of the risk factors.
Conclusion: Studies show that blueberries may have a positive effect on some of the risk factors for heart disease. It, therefore, makes sense that a regular consumption of the berries could help prevent a heart attack.
7. Blueberries May Help Improve Your Memory
The brain is not immune from oxidative stress damage, and such damages can have a negative impact on brain function.
The antioxidants may have a positive effect on neurons responsible for aging, which may help improve signaling between cells.
There are a few studies in humans that show some promise.
One such study focused on a group of elderly individuals suffering from MCI (Mild Cognitive Impairment). Participants drunk blueberry juice every day for 3 months. Researchers saw an improvement in many blood markers for brain function (y).
In a different study involving some 16,000+ elderly individuals, researchers discovered links between the consumption of strawberry and blueberry juice and a 2.5-year delay in cognitive aging (z).
Conclusion: It appears that one of the benefits of blueberries is its ability to improve brain function. They contain antioxidants which may be beneficial for the brain.
8. Blueberries May Help in Prevention of Diabetes
Blueberries contain less sugar in comparison to many other fruits.
There are about 15 grams of sugar in a cup of blueberries, which is equivalent to the amount in a large orange or a small apple.
However, blueberries also contain anthocyanins, which may have a positive effect on some of the risk factors for diabetes. This helps negate the effects of the sugars in them.
One study showed that 32 obese participants experienced a significant improvement in insulin sensitivity from a regular intake of blueberry smoothies (d1).
An improvement in insulin sensitivity will result in a lower risk of type-2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome.
Conclusion: Research shows that the compounds in blueberries may have a positive impact on the risk factors for type-2 diabetes.
9. They may help in the fight against urinary tract infections
Urinary tract infections are more common in women than men. One of the best remedies for preventing this infection is cranberry juice.
And as I mentioned earlier in the article, blueberries are closely related to cranberries. They have very similar properties and share many of the same active substances(g1).
We refer to these substances as anti-adhesives. They prevent some bacteria, including E. coli, from sticking to the walls of your bladder, which may help fight urinary tract infections.
There are no specific studies on this subject involving blueberries. However, there is a study involving cranberries. And since they share similar characteristics, there are no reasons why they can’t have the same effects (h1).
Conclusion: Cranberries are known to help fight urinary tract infections. And since blueberries and cranberries share similar active compounds, it is only logical that they will also have this effect.
How many calories are in blueberries?
According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), there are 85 calories in a cup (148 grams) of fresh blueberries.
How many carbs in blueberries
There are 21 grams of total carbs in a cup of blueberries, of which 15 grams are sugar, and 3.6 grams is dietary fiber.
Do blueberries have seeds
Blueberries have seeds, but these seeds are usually tiny and barely noticeable. There may be as much as 20 seeds in a single blueberry. Fully ripe berries contain larger and more seeds than slightly ripe ones.
Wild blueberries tend to contain fewer seeds, about 10 per berry. However, the seeds in them tend to be bigger and more noticeable.
Blueberries provide many health benefits. They are delicious, and you should include them in your meals every day.
It doesn’t matter whether they are fresh or frozen, you’ll still get the same benefits.