The Amazing Proven Benefits of Blueberries

I am the mom of five children and I don’t have a favorite. When it comes to the berry family, I can’t say that. All berries are beneficial, but the blueberry is certainly my favorite. After reading this article, you will discover why.

With summer approaching and blueberries coming into season, we’ll highlight all of the incredible benefits of this delicious, nutrient-rich food. During this challenging time, the first one may be of greatest interest to you.

For those with hypothyroidism blueberries are especially beneficial. Below you will find an amazing blueberry recipe that will help you enjoy the benefits.

Blueberries possess the highest antioxidant profile of any of the berries. One antioxidant flavinoid in particular, anthocyanins, give blueberries their rich color. Anythocyanins are particularly effective in neutralizing free radicals which lowers oxidative stress on every cell of the body.1

What does that mean to us? Less cellular damage, anti-aging properties, better thyroid health and lowered systemic inflammation. In the past few years, researchers found that inflammation is the root of most diseases. All of the benefits below can be traced back to the potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity of blueberries.

1. INCREASE IMMUNITY

Blueberries help immunity because of the nutrients they possess—particularly flavinoids. Oftentimes, people with thyroid disease also have immune system issues.

A study in Advanced Nutrition noted that flavonoids play an essential role in the respiratory tract’s immune defense system.2

Researchers found that people who ate foods rich in flavonoids were less likely to get an upper respiratory tract infection than those who did not.

Blueberries also contain immune building vitamin A, potassium, manganese and vitamin C.

2. CONTRIBUTE TO WEIGHT LOSS

There are several reasons blueberries contribute to weight loss which is particularly a problem in hypothyroidism. One cup of blueberries has 4 grams of fiber and people who have the most fiber in their diets on average weigh less.

Blueberries also have a high amount of manganese which plays an important role in the body’s ability to utilize fat as energy. Flavinoids also play a part in weight management.3 Also, blueberries are a prebiotic food that feed the good bacteria in the gut. See “Gut and Digestion” below.

3. INCREASE MEMORY, COGNITION AND MOOD

Many studies reveal blueberries increase memory, cognition and a decrease in depression.4 The antioxidant, anti-inflammatory properties can be thanked for this.

4. BENEFIT THE GUT AND DIGESTION

One of the reasons blueberries make your gut happy is because of the fiber. New research shows that blueberry prebiotic fiber can alleviate and protect against intestinal inflammation. The protective effect is even better if the blueberries are eaten together with probiotics.5

This makes blueberries a powerful prebiotic food. The newest gut health research reveals that prebiotics are even more effective than probiotics in increasing beneficial gut flora. Most people with thyroid problems also have gut health issues.

How should you consume blueberries? When the Environmental Working Group (EWG.org) analyzed 53 fruits and vegetables grown in the US, blueberries ranked 14th on the list of the most pesticide laden. This puts conventional blueberries on the dirty list.

Always consume them organic, preferably from a local farmer. If you can’t readily find them, frozen organic is great.

I’m glad you now understand why I have a favorite berry “child.” I can’t help myself. The cellular protective they provide and all the benefits above, make me love blueberries the most.

Lindy’s Blueberry Cobbler

PREP TIME: 10 minutes
BAKE TIME: 20-25 minutes

Low Carb & Keto Friendly

FILLING
  • 3 cups blueberries (can be fresh or frozen organic)
  • ¼ tsp xanthan gum or cornstarch (to thicken)
  • 2 Tbsp Erythritol, Swerve or Monk Fruit
  • 1 tsp lemon juice (can be fresh or bottled like Lakewood organic)
TOPPING
  • 1 cup almond flour or Bob’s Red Mill Paleo Baking Mix
  • 3 Tbsp butter
  • 3 Tbsp Erythritol, Swerve or Monk Fruit (or to taste)
DIRECTIONS
  1. Preheat oven to 375°
  2. Combine the blueberries, thickener, sweetener and lemon juice. Mix well until blueberries are thoroughly coated.
  3. Add this mixture to a 9 X 9 or 8 X 9 pan.
  4. Melt the butter in the microwave. In a small bowl, stir in the flour and sweetener until a crumbly dough forms.
  5. Crumble the dough over the blueberry mixture in big or small clumps.
  6. Bake in a 375o oven for 20 – 25 minutes depending on oven. Check to see that crust is golden brown and blueberries are bubbly.
  7. Can be served with real whipped cream and/or toasted pecans.

 


REFERENCES

1. Anthocyanin effectively scavenges free radicals and protects retinal cells from H2O 2-triggered G2/M arrest by Hwang JW, Kim EK, Lee SJ et al. European Food Research & Technology, 29 Feb 2012, 234(3):431-439

2. Effect of Flavonoids on Upper Respiratory Tract Infections and Immune Function: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis by Vaughan S Somerville, Andrea J Braakhuis and Will G Hopkins; Adv Nutr. 2016 May; 7(3): 488–497; DOI: 10.1007/s00217-011-1648-9 AGR: IND44683455; Published online 2016 May 9. doi: 10.3945/an.115.010538

3. Dietary flavonoid intake and weight maintenance: three prospective cohorts of 124 086 US men and women followed for up to 24 years by Monica L Bertoia, Eric B Rimm, Kenneth J Mukamal et al; BMJ 2016; 352 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.i17 (Published 28 January 2016)Cite this as: BMJ 2016;352:i17

4. Blueberry Supplementation Improves Memory in Older Adults by ROBERT KRIKORIAN,*† MARCELLE D SHIDLER,† TIFFANY A NASH et al. J Agric Food Chem. Author manuscript; available in PMC 2011 Apr 14. Published in final edited form as: J Agric Food Chem. 2010 Apr 14; 58(7): 3996–4000. doi: 10.1021/jf9029332

5. Blueberries counteract intestinal diseases; Science Daily; February 9, 2010 Source: Expertanswer; www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/02/100208145055.htm.

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