Blueberries – Origin, Nutrition, and Benefits
Perhaps, we all love those blue-colored round berries! The striking blue appearance amuses most of the blueberry eaters. However, the fruit has more to it than the appearance. A majority of chefs love to add a handful of blueberries in every recipe, whether it be muffins or pancakes. The fruit seems to blend in its sweet and scrumptious taste in everything. So, let’s evaluate the blueberries and unravel more!
Blueberries come from North America. Now that’s startling. Isn’t it? You were expecting that since it’s a berry, it might’ve grown in various parts of the world, and people munched on it worldwide.
But that’s not it. The tribes residing in Northeast America seemed to have first discovered these berries and used these for medicinal purposes. For example, the juice of blueberry helps to treat cough while tea made from its leaves helped with blood health.
Sometimes the dried berries were crushed and rubbed into meat for flavor purposes. People even used it in various dishes. Perhaps, the most important function of these berries was as a defense against famine. When the famine time struck, the tribes used these berries to relieve children’s hunger.
It was in 1916 that the concept of commercial farming the berry came into being. Some say that blueberries also came from parts of Europe and Asia.
Nutrition in Blueberries
The blueberries are a good source of fiber and water while staying low on both calories as well as fats. Blueberries comprise 14% carbs, which includes simple sugars like glucose and fructose. As these sugars rank 53 on the Glycemic Index (GI), the blueberries do not add up to blood sugar levels drastically. Moreover, blueberries contain a considerable amount of vitamins and minerals.
Health Benefits of Blueberries
As you may already know, consuming plentiful fruits always boosts health and diet. But what is it about these fruits that make them beneficial for our health? Well, it’s their respective chemical composition.
In the case of blueberries, these fruits contain anthocyanin, which brings the blue colors. It is a type of flavonoid (plant compound) that has an anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory effect.
Scientifically, anti-oxidants prevent cell-damage and oxidative stress, which may lead to heart disease, cancer, and other chronic illnesses. At times, the cell-damage and oxidative stress can cause more trouble to your brain than the rest of your body. So, blueberries also protect you against any neurological disorders and cognitive damage. Doctors also recommend this berry to people with a short-term memory disorder or disturbed motor coordination. It helps to better the situation substantially.
What’s more, the berries have a high content of magnesium, potassium, calcium, and low content of sodium. It helps to lower the blood pressure and keeps us safe from heart-related issues.
High calcium and mineral contents (such as manganese, zinc, phosphorous, etc.) also contribute to healthier bones. It provides ample nutrients to build and maintain the structure of each bone. Iron and zinc particularly contribute to increased elasticity of joints.
And blueberries may even be successful in liberating you from the minor bone casualties. That’s because it has a rich Vitamin K content lowers the risk fracture of bones.
You can also improve your skin health by consuming blueberries as it provides vitamin C. The supply of this vitamin to Collagen in the skin enhances its ability to improve skin’s deteriorating and wrinkling texture. And so, you can say it’s your anti-aging fruit!
Furthermore, by providing dietary fiber, it helps to prevent constipation. Thus, maintaining a healthier digestive tract.
Indeed, blueberries have numerous advantages. But, these advantages only take seconds to transform into side effects when one has other medical issues. Please note, if a healthy person consumes blueberries excessively, then he/she may not experience any side effects. However, the idea may not be good for an unhealthy person. Here are a few side effects:
Blueberries have concentrated amounts of vitamin K, which can be dangerous for people using blood-thinning medicines. If an individual consumes too many blueberries, the blood may become too thin and raise the chances of excessive bleeding.
Diabetic patients who eat blueberry leaves are likely to experience a drastic drop in blood sugar levels. The condition may trigger hypoglycemia, which includes shaking, hunger, fatigue, and in severe cases, death.
- Salicylate Sensitivity
Blueberries, being rich in salicylate, might bother people with salicylate sensitivity. The condition includes feelings of fatigue and gastrointestinal issues. People may also experience headaches, rashes, and nausea.
Apart from that, blueberries may stain your teeth due to heavy pigmentation. Also, too much dietary fiber may cause diarrhea and bloat.