Blueberries are one of the easiest and most popular healthy additions that you can use to sweeten a recipe. Whether you’re whipping up a cobbler, muffins, pancakes or a festive pie, these little blue powerhouses are bursting with flavor. As it turns out, blueberries don’t only taste good—they’re also good for us! When Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health released the Great Muffin Makeover to give Americans a healthier version of the blueberry muffin—one that cuts out the sodium and caloric sugar and carbs—the one thing that the team actually added more of was blueberries! Let’s learn a bit more about the big benefits of these tiny berries—here are eight of the best health benefits they provide.
1. Weight loss
Blueberries are packed with flavor from their natural sweetness, but they are amazingly low in calories. In addition, they are also high in water makeup, so they will make you feel satisfied and full, which can in turn help prevent overeating and promote weight loss.
2. Lower blood pressure
For those with high blood pressure, blueberries may be the perfect little addition to your daily health regimen! The Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics released research that showed women who ate blueberries had a notable drop in blood pressure levels.
3. A healthy heart
According to a study by Harvard, women who ate blueberries (and strawberries) three times a week decreased their risk for heart disease by 34%. Making blueberries a regular part of your breakfast at least three times a week helps your body build a healthy supply of anthocyanins—a type of flavonoid that have been linked to heart health when consumed regularly.
4. Arthritis relief
Thanks to their antioxidant-rich makeup, blueberries can relieve pain from arthritis. Antioxidants act as powerful anti-inflammatories. Try incorporating blueberries into a daily meal by using them in a salad or a smoothie.
5. Bone and joint health
Blueberries contain a ton of nutrients, including calcium, magnesium, zinc, Vitamin K, and other vitamins that help maintain bone and joint strength. Building up storage of these vitamins allows your body to tap into the vitamins over time, helping to protect bone and joint health through the aging process.
6. Preventing diabetes
Diets that are high in fiber are recommended for those with diabetes, or for those who have a history of diabetes in their family. Blueberries contain almost 4g of fiber per serving, which is a lot considering their small size. All berries tend to be high in fiber, so you can treat yourself to a bowl of colorful berries for a big dose of morning fiber. Or you top off a bowl of unsweetened rolled oats with some blueberries, and get half of your day’s worth of recommended fiber.
7. Brain health
According to new research, blueberries have been linked to improved brain health, cognitive abilities, and benefits within the nervous system. One of the biggest finds in regard to brain health was the connection that blueberries had with improved memory. Study participants ate blueberries every day for 12 weeks, and saw memory test scores improve.
8. Big in flavor, low sugar
While blueberries definitely provide a burst of sweetness, they’re low on the GI scale. This means that people who are sensitive to blood sugar swings will likely not feel a “crash and burn” effect after eating blueberries.