The bridge – 13 health benefits of blueberries e gaskell north and south

As our population continues to age and the rates of dementia soar, the benefits of blueberries take on a much more significant meaning. We, at NaturalHealth365, only wish that more doctors would embrace the healing power of this amazing fruit.

Recent studies have highlighted the potential of compounds from blueberries to prevent and treat neurodegenerative diseases and age-related cognitive deficits – but the benefits of blueberries aren’t limited to the brain. Researchers say that this superfood has the ability to help alleviate over a dozen serious health problems – in fact, it is difficult to think of a body system or condition that blueberries don’t improve.

Blueberries have the ability to relax blood vessels and contribute to the flexibility of arteries, thereby lowering blood pressure. In one study, researchers found that people with the highest regular intake of blueberries had an 8 percent lower risk of developing hypertension.

Researchers found that blueberries modulated genes involved with aging and caused C. elegans – a type of roundworm often used in longevity research – to live 28 percent longer, with maximum life span increasing by 14 percent. (In humans, this could translate to a gain of 20 years!)

Blueberries fight heart disease by lowering levels of LDL cholesterol, which can contribute to plaque buildup in the arteries. One study showed particularly substantial reductions (34 percent) in LDL cholesterol, along with a desirable 40 percent rise in beneficial HDL.

In addition, blueberry extracts were shown to reduce damage after heart attack and improve survival rates. They also reduced triglycerides, or fats, by an impressive 50 percent, and slashed levels of the pro-inflammatory amino acid homocysteine.

Blueberries are rich in pterostilbene – a cancer-fighting compound closely related to resveratrol – and combat cancer by a multitude of actions. They help prevent DNA damage – thereby warding off potentially cancer-causing mutations – while reducing the growth rate of cancerous cells and promoting apoptosis, or programmed cell suicide, in malignant cells.

Blueberries have been shown to decrease body fat – particularly in the abdominal area, where it poses the greatest risk of cardiovascular disease. In several studies, animals fed blueberry extracts while on a high-fat diet had lower overall weight gain and smaller accumulations of body fat than control animals.

Researchers say that blueberry extracts have shown the ability to help prevent metabolic syndrome, a cluster of unhealthy conditions that usually includes obesity. By promoting sugar intake into muscle cells, blueberry extracts encourage the conversion of sugar into energy, rather than stored fat.

A study published in Applied Physiology, Nutrition and Metabolism showed that two cups of blueberries a day for six weeks caused significant improvements in the movement and mobility of elderly people, with increased walking speed, fewer step errors and better foot placement.

If you are fortunate enough to live in an area of the country where blueberries grow wild, you can harvest a veritable bonanza of health-giving berries when in season. If this isn’t possible or practical, you can purchase frozen, dried or powdered wild blueberries.

Blueberries provide such a wealth of benefits that they can seem “almost too good to be true.” But, rest assured – cell, laboratory, animal and human studies are showing the extraordinary physical and mental benefits of these luscious little fruits.