Blueberries – Benefits And Harms

Blueberries are a valuable medicinal berry that grows mainly in marshy areas. It must be picked very carefully, as the berry is delicate and easily damaged. For the same reason, blueberries are practically not stored fresh. It is frozen, dried, or processed into various preparations.
But the benefits do not disappear at all. So what are the benefits of blueberries and is there any harm to the body from eating them? Let’s find out!

Blueberry composition

A study of blueberries in a chemical laboratory revealed that most of the nutrients are contained in the skin.

Blueberries contain a whole kaleidoscope of active elements:

  • vitamins – A, C, B1, B2, PP, K1, E;
  • beta-carotene and carotenoids;
  • minerals – calcium, phosphorus, iron, copper, potassium, sodium, magnesium;
  • organic acids – citric, acetic, malic, benzoic, and oxalic;
  • fatty acids;
  • amino acids (8 essential and 12 nonessential);
  • di- and monosaccharides;
  • tannins;
  • fiber;
  • dietary fiber;
  • pectins;
  • flavonoids;
  • anthocyanins;
  • other antioxidants.

Nutritional value and caloric content of blueberries per 100 g of product: proteins ~ 1.1 g; fats ~ 0.6 g; carbohydrates ~ 6.5 g; energy value ~ 39 kcal.

Blueberries owe their color to the special pigments contained in the skin, and their flavor is caused by essential oils.

Useful properties of blueberries

Blueberries are a real treasure trove of vitamins, minerals, and biologically active substances responsible for the proper functioning of the human body. It is not for nothing that the peoples of the North necessarily include this berry in their diet.

Blueberries can be called a record holders in terms of iron content. This trace element, which is part of the berry, is almost 100% absorbed by the body.

Blueberries are also a source of a significant amount of vitamin K1 (phyllochionine), which is involved in the blood clotting process.

The berry is also rich in phenolic compounds – physiologically active substances that strengthen capillaries and retain vitamin C in the body (saving its consumption).

Among all forest berries, blueberries are the highest in pectin content. The value of this substance is that it removes radioactive metals from the body and promotes intestinal motility, as well as being a source of nutrition for intestinal microflora.
Scientists from the United States have studied blueberries and found that this berry slows down the aging of brain cells and protects the body from the harmful effects of radiation.

In folk medicine, tea made from dried blueberries is drunk for bladder diseases and as a remedy for diarrhea. A decoction of the berry leaves is a good expectorant.

The anthocyanins it contains prevent memory loss and restore its mnemonic function.

Blueberries are one of the best prophylactic agents against cancer, cardiovascular diseases, and Alzheimer’s disease.

Its juice normalizes metabolism and improves well-being in case of colds. One serving of blueberry juice per day will replenish the daily vitamin intake.

Blueberries contain carotenoids, which, if eaten regularly and for a long time, have a positive effect on visual functions.
The berry is useful for glaucoma and other eye diseases.

Blueberries contain magnesium, thanks to which they act as a sedative.

This tasty and healthy berry strengthens the immune system and replenishes vitamins in the body. It is useful for everyone: children, adults, the elderly, and people weakened by illness.

Blueberries are recommended to be included in the diet of diabetics. It not only improves metabolism in tissues but also enhances the effect of hypoglycemic drugs.

This blueberry removes toxins from the body. It has a favorable effect on the functions of the gastrointestinal tract.

Blueberry juice is a source of natural antioxidants. It tones and strengthens the body.

Blueberry decoctions are useful for people with diseases of the genitourinary system.

Fresh blueberries are also widely used for their antimicrobial properties. It is used as a prophylactic agent for many infectious diseases, including dysentery.

Blueberries also help with: rheumatism, atherosclerosis, enterocolitis, gastritis, scurvy, sore throat, anemia, and heart disease.

Blueberries in dietetics and cooking

Delicious diet blueberries will also appeal to people who are struggling with excess weight. Blueberries enhance the breakdown of fats. In addition, it is low in calories. Berries help to normalize the digestive system, lower blood sugar, eliminate putrefactive processes in the intestines, and restore the microflora of the gastrointestinal tract.

The berries contain practically no sugars, which makes them an acceptable component in the diet of patients with diabetes. Blueberries are used to make all kinds of drinks (juices, compotes, fruit drinks, jelly, kvass, tea, lemonade); desserts (mousses, jellies, purees); fillings for dumplings, pancakes, pies, and pastries; salads; milk and berry-fruit cocktails; sauces with honey for salad dressing and dessert dishes. There are even dietary types of baked goods and sweets with a minimum amount of sugar: charlotte with blueberries and apples or pastille with raspberry and blueberry puree.

The fruits go well with the following dishes and products: all cereals; muesli and breakfast cereals; milk; cream; kefir, sour cream, and yogurt; berries (wild and garden); sweet and sour fruits.

Blueberries are nutritious, promote quick satiety and help speed up metabolism by promoting the breakdown of subcutaneous layers of adipose tissue, so they are most often used fresh. For example, a handful of fresh berries for breakfast will fill you with strength and energy, and a milk or fermented milkshake will relieve hunger.

Blueberries are included in the menu of berry fasting days and even just a constant presence in the diet helps to lose weight and gain harmony.

Blueberries in cosmetology

Blueberries are a valuable wild berry that benefits us not only as a dessert or dietary supplement but also as a cosmetic ingredient. This berry is a powerful natural antioxidant that can protect the skin from a variety of factors, ranging from natural aging processes to damage from environmental stress. Blueberry berry extract is used in hygiene products to improve or enhance the flavor.

This component, when added to skin care cosmetics, performs a number of important tasks, such as:

  • Filling the skin with nutrients.
  • Reducing skin hyperreactivity.
  • Improving the condition of blood vessels and capillaries.
  • To prevent aging (protection against free radicals and environmental stress).
  • To protect the skin from active ultraviolet radiation and photodamage.
  • Correction of age-related changes (improvement of skin elasticity and tone).
  • For sensitive skin care.
  • Non-aggressive mechanical skin peeling.

Blueberry is a safe natural ingredient, it is non-toxic and does not cause skin redness.

Harms and contraindications to eating blueberries

Blueberries are not allergenic, but they should not be consumed in large quantities. Otherwise, the berry can cause headaches, nausea, and sometimes vomiting.
In addition, an excessive amount of antioxidants can also harm the body. In this case, they will impair muscle recovery after exercise or inhibit the absorption of calcium and zinc.

The contraindication to eating blueberries is biliary dyskinesia.

Pregnant women should eat blueberries with caution and in small portions. Otherwise, the berry can provoke allergies.

It is not recommended for nursing mothers to consume blueberries or use them in small portions, as they can cause diathesis in the infant.

How to choose and store blueberries?

Blueberries ripen by the end of summer. When buying blueberries, make sure that they are dense, firm, evenly colored, dry, and with a bluish bloom.

Depending on the place of growth and the degree of ripeness, the taste can vary from sweet to sour. Overripe August berries are sourer, and July berries are sweet.

Fresh blueberries can be stored in the refrigerator for up to two weeks, and frozen blueberries for up to a year. You need to freeze the berries after washing and drying them, and it is enough to simply sort out the fresh fruits from the garbage.

Blueberries absorb odors well, so in both cases, they should be stored in accordance with the principles of commodity neighborhood.

Drying berries is also allowed, but in this case, the product is only suitable for making compotes and berries, and herbal teas.

So, are you convinced that blueberries are not just a delicious berry, but also a set of a large number of nutrients and useful substances? If so, then eat them for health, but wisely. And stay healthy!

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Written by Bella Adams

I'm a professionally-trained, executive chef with over ten years in Restaurant Culinary and hospitality management. Experienced in specialized diets, including Vegetarian, Vegan, Raw foods, whole food, plant-based, allergy-friendly, farm-to-table, and more. Outside of the kitchen, I write about lifestyle factors that impact well-being.

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