- Protects vision
- Protects cells from free radical damage
- Protects the nervous system
- Enhances the memory
- Stabilizes blood sugar
- Lowers cholesterol levels
- Lowers blood pressure
- Helps prevent Urinary tract infections
Blueberries contain a potent antioxidant called Anthocyanin, which is especially good at neutralizing free radicals (unstable oxidizing compounds in the body that can attack human cells and damage their DNA). In fact, a 2001 study at Tufts University rated blueberries as the most potent antioxidant of over sixty foods tested. Research in Italy, France, Spain, Korea, U.S.A., Japan, and New Zealand has shown that blueberries have a very positive effect on the eyesight, including measurable vision gains, and including improving night vision, relieving tired eyes, and reducing eye strain. Most importantly, it helps guard against macular degeneration.
A report published in the Journal of Neuroscience stated that blueberry extracts can reverse age-related declines in balance and coordination, both controlled by the central nervous system (CNS). Anthocyanin works by stabilizing membrane function and promoting the growth of new neurons. The CNS is particularly susceptible to oxidative damage of free radicals because it uses large amounts of oxygen. This, in turn, generates even more free radicals during the aging process. Therefore, consuming more antioxidants as we get older becomes even more important.
Free radicals are responsible for the age-related deterioration of mental clarity and memory capacity. Published studies have found that animals fed a blueberry extract diet showed fewer age-related motor changes and better performance on memory tests than animals were were not fed blueberries.
Studies have shown that blueberry extracts reduce blood sugar levels by as much as 26% and plasma triglycerides by 39% (affects cholesterol levels), which is not surprising since blueberries score an amazingly low 13 on the Glycemic Index.
Several studies have proven that blueberries are more effective than statin drugs in reducing cholesterol levels. Statin drugs also deplete CoQ10.
March 2005 Journal of Medicinal Food related studies showing that blueberries help decrease the negative arterial response to epinephrine (a hormone manufactured by the adrenal glands under stress), a major factor in chronically high blood pressure.
Another benefit of blueberries is that they contain certain carbohydrates that help prevent coliform bacteria from adhering to the walls of the bladder and urethra, much in the same way as cranberries. The attachment of harmful bacteria to organ walls is the first step toward urinary tract infections (UTIs).
Return to Blueberries and bilberries.
Updated November 2012