Benefits of blueberries and how to add them to the diet

Bilberry is a fruit similar to bilberry and is packed with many nutrients and beneficial compounds, such as vitamin C. However, research is being done on the reputed health benefits of blueberries, especially if they help fight against it. inflammation and protect against cancer.

These are fruits that are easy to add to the diet, without too many inconveniences. And although people can take bilberry supplements, the effectiveness and dosage of this fruit needs more research to be established.

Read on to find out the potential benefits of blueberries and how to add them to your diet.

Bilberry is a plant native to northern Europe, and it is also known as European bilberry, bilberry, bilberry, bilberry, and bilberry. Its botanical name is Vaccinium myrtillus L.

Blueberries are similar in appearance to North American blueberries. They are small and round and have a dark purple color.

Blueberries are rich in a chemical called anthocyanin, which gives them their color. Health experts also believe that they offer many health benefits.

Retailers often sell whole fresh, frozen or dried blueberries, and people can find them in the form of preserves, jams and juice.

There are many reported benefits of consuming blueberries and blueberry products, including the ones below.

High in nutrients

Blueberries are rich in a chemical called anthocyanins. The usual daily food intake of anthocyanins is approximately 200 mg (milligrams). The total anthocyanin content of blueberries is typically between 300 and 700 mg per 100 grams (g) of fresh fruit, depending on several factors.

A 100g serving of fresh blueberries also contains small amounts of:

  • vitamin C (3 mg)
  • quercetin (3 mg)
  • catechin (20 mg)

There is not a lot of other information available on the nutritional profile of blueberries. However, since they are nutritionally close to blueberries, they are likely to have a similar nutritional profile. That said, 100g of blueberries are likely to have around 37 calories and contain about 90% water.

May help protect against cancer

The body contains a number of chemicals called “free radicals” which can damage cells. They can cause several health problems, including cancer. In laboratory and animal studies, researchers have found that antioxidants help fight the effects of these free radicals. However, more studies are needed to confirm the anticancer effects of antioxidants and, by extension, blueberries, in humans.

May reduce inflammation

Some evidence suggests that blueberries might help fight inflammation. Anthocyanins are antioxidants with anti-inflammatory properties and are abundant in blueberries.

A Study 2021 found that people who drank blueberry and red grape juice daily had measurable improvements in biomarkers of inflammation and tissue damage over 9 weeks.

Another one review suggested that the fruit helps reduce metabolic and cardiovascular risk factors, although larger-scale studies are needed.

May lower blood sugar levels

Practitioners have historically used bilberry as an herbal remedy to lower blood sugar in people with type 2 diabetes.

Following recent studies report that bilberry extract may be effective in lowering blood sugar in people with type 2 diabetes.

Another one to study found that consuming blueberries results in increased insulin secretion, suggesting that the fruit may help manage diabetes. However, more research is needed to establish its potential applications.

May improve eye health

Many people believed that bilberry helped improve eye health, British WWII pilots allegedly ate blueberry jam, believing it to improve night vision. However, this comes from anecdotal evidence.

More recently, a small study from 2015 found that taking 480 mg of blueberry extract daily reduced symptoms of eye strain, such as eye pain, heaviness in the eyes, uncomfortable feeling, and a foreign body sensation.

This suggests that more research is needed, but the results are promising.

May reduce the risk of heart problems

Health experts believe that consuming fruits and berries that contain high levels of polyphenols may lower blood pressure. Blueberries contain high levels of polyphenols, so they probably have this effect.

A study found that anthocyanin-rich bilberry extract may actually help lower levels of “bad” cholesterol in the blood. Research links high levels of bad cholesterol to heart disease, strokes, and several other conditions.

Other benefits

It is important to note that the following studies are small in scale, may not have had a placebo group, or may not have involved humans. Therefore, more evidence is needed before researchers can draw any conclusions regarding the benefits of blueberries.

However, research into the following other health benefits of adding blueberries to the diet is ongoing:

  • Ulcerative colitis: A pilot study 2016 suggests that people with ulcerative colitis (UC) benefited from treatment with an anthocyanin-rich oral bilberry supplement. The researchers looked at a precedent older study from 2013 which had shown improvement in symptoms for people taking bilberry supplements.
  • Itching: A older mouse study found that bilberry anthocyanins could help treat itching caused by atopic dermatitis.
  • Gum health: One 2015 study have found that consuming large amounts of blueberries can reduce markers of gingivitis. However, it is important to note that the improvement was comparable to standard dental treatment. Plus, the sugar content in blueberries may be too high to outweigh the benefits.
  • Antimicrobial properties: Blueberries are rich in tannins, which are said to antibacterial properties against certain pathogenic and spoilage bacteria of food origin.

Many people in the United States take vitamins or supplements in a variety of forms.

According to Office of Food Supplements of the National Institute of Health, supplement manufacturers usually suggest a recommended serving size, but that may differ from that recommended by a person’s doctor.

The recommended daily dose of bilberry supplements varies widely. A study suggests variations between 20 and 60g of dried berries or between 160 and 480 mg of powdered extract per day. Another recommends taking 80 to 1000 mg once or twice a day. Therefore, it is difficult to know how much is appropriate for a daily dose without discussing it with healthcare professionals.

In addition, some supplements can cause side effects at high doses or without medical advice. They can also interact with certain medications – a doctor can advise you on these interactions.

Bilberry, in particular, can interact with an anti-cancer medicine called erlotinib (Tarceva), anti-diabetic medicines, or medicines that slow blood clotting.

Therefore, it is important to speak with a healthcare practitioner before taking any supplements to make sure there are no interactions with other medications.

The effects of bilberry supplements during pregnancy are also currently unknown, so people who are pregnant or breastfeeding should avoid taking them. And for the same reason, individuals should not give blueberry supplements to children or infants.

There are many ways to add blueberries to the diet. They present a little more intense flavor than a blueberry, so people can eat them raw the same way.

Individuals can also use blueberries in place of blueberries in any recipes that require blueberries.

For example, a person can use them by:

  • bake them in muffins
  • sprinkle them on yogurt, oatmeal or granola
  • throw them in a salad
  • infuse them in a tea
  • squeeze them
  • use them as a pancake filling or mix them into the batter
  • add them to smoothies
  • crush them as a spread for toast or make a jam

In addition to fresh or dried blueberries, people can find blueberry supplements in powdered or liquid capsule form at their local health stores and online retailers.

However, the biggest benefits are likely to come from consuming the whole fruit, as it likely contains nutrients that cannot be found in supplement form, such as fiber.

Blueberries are a versatile fruit that people can use in the same way as blueberries.

The fruit can offer many health benefits, but more research is needed to establish the certainty of these claims.

It should be noted that there is nothing wrong with eating blueberries in their natural form. Nonetheless, people should discuss taking bilberry supplements with their doctor to make sure they avoid any interactions with other medications.

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Richard V. Johnson