“Fruit is nature’s candy” as the saying goes. Like candy, too much of it can overload your body with fructose (fruit sugar) which your liver turns into fat.
The fructose content of a fruit depends on what it is. Grapes have a lot it as do figs. Dried fruit contains a lot too.
Fruits that contain the least sugar are berry fruits. Strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, cranberries and blueberries.
All are excellent fruits and I include them as part of my power smoothie recipe. For this article, however, I’m focussing solely on blueberries. Why? Because not only are blueberries the best kind of fruit to eat they’re also the best kind of food in general.
Blueberries are often labelled as a ‘superfood’ and it’s easy to see why.
1. Blueberries are good for brain health
Studies in the elderly have shown promising results when it comes to maintaining good brain health by eating blueberries.
A large study involving over 16,000 elderly participants over a period of six years found that blueberries (and strawberries) were linked to delays in cognitive ageing. Blueberries are high in flavonoids which are thought to improve cognition.
Another study had elderly people drinking blueberry juice. The people in the study showed improvements in cognitive function, blood flow to the brain and greater activation in the brain while carrying out cognitive tests.
2. Blueberries lower blood pressure
High blood pressure can lead to stroke the brain’s blood vessels. It’s important to keep blood pressure at a healthy level and blueberries could help.
One study found that consuming blueberries daily resulted in lowering blood pressure in postmenopausal women who are more susceptible from high blood pressure.
The 8-week study of 48 women found that those who received blueberry powder lowered their blood pressure, whereas the placebo control group had no change at all.
3. Blueberries may help towards preventing cancer
Blueberries are powerful antioxidants that fight against oxidative stress which is believed to be involved in the development of cancer, among other things.
An animal study by Massey University in New Zealand found that animals that were given blueberries in their diet had a 50 percent lower rate of developing tumours.
4. Blueberries are good for muscle recovery post exercise
A small study of ten female athletes found consuming blueberries after a heavy leg workout speeded up muscle recovery.
While this study is only a small sample anyone who has suffered the agonising pain after a heavy leg session of squats, leg presses and lunges will be willing to test the hypothesis.
5. Blueberries are good for longevity
One of the key factors in staying healthy for as long as possible is keeping inflammation at bay. If you manage to keep your body’s inflammation low then you have a good chance of staying fighting fit right until the end. Inflammation is the root of all diseases.
Antioxidants found in blueberries, especially proanthocyanidins, have been found to combat inflammation among several animal studies.
The proanthocyanidins were found to reverse the inflammation process. This reversal could mean the difference in having (or not having) heart disease, diabetes, cancer and every other disease you can think of.
Given that blueberries taste beautiful why would you not make them part of your nutritional intake?