6 Blueberries’ Key Health Benefits and Healthy Evidence

Blueberries are naturally colored blue. Like other colorful fruits and vegetables, blueberries have the ability to subdue oxygen free radicals. A 2010 study by the US Department of Agriculture’s Center for Aging found that blueberries contain the highest levels of antioxidant in comparison with 40 fruits and vegetables. Scientists found that several blueberries phytochemical compounds may play combat chronic disease. Let’s have a look at the blueberries’ key health benefits and the healthy evidence. In this post, I also mention some research of bilberries, European blueberries.

Blueberries have the excellent source of vitamins C and K, manganese and high levels of various antioxidants. The main phenolic compounds in blueberries are:
    • Flavonoids: Anthocyanins, Flavonols, Flavanols (catechin)
    • Phenolic acids: Cinnamic acids, Benzoic acids
    • Complex phenolic polymers (polymeric tannins): Ellagitannins, Proanthocyanidins
Each of main phenolic compounds in blueberries has contributed to the different health benefits.

1.    Powerful Antioxidant benefits

A 100 gram of blueberries contains 2400 ORAC units. ORAC is the oxygen radical absorbency capacity to quantify the antioxidant capacity of foods. The antioxidant capacity in 100 grams of fresh blueberries  equals with five fruit and vegetable servings. Antioxidants are the active component for Anti-inflammation, (arthritis, osteoarthritis) and Metabolic syndrome (obesity). The key antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties in blueberries are Anthocyanins. This flavonoid phenolic compound gives blueberries blue color.
Blueberries are also rich in phenolic compounds. The phenolic compounds can capture free radicals, deactivating or eliminating them from the body.
A research of the University of California found that blueberries may reduce the “bad” cholesterol, which contributes to cardiovascular disease and stroke.

2.  Natural Anti-aging properties

Blueberry antioxidants are thought to delay aging by their natural cleansing properties. Vitamins and minerals in blueberry might clean the blood. The USDA Human Nutrition Center (HNRCA) lab have discovered that feeding blueberries to laboratory rats can slow  age-related loss in their mental capacity. The high antioxidant activity of blueberries may play a role.

3. Support the cancer prevention

Bioactive compounds in blueberries support the prevention of many cancers including breast, colon, esophageal, liver, ovarian, and prostate. Here are how blueberries phenolic compounds support the cancer prevention.
  • Anthocyanins, blueberries main flavonoids acts as an antioxidant.  Flavonoids affect cell proliferation and help regulate cancer signal transduction pathways.
  • Kaempferol (flavonoid phytonutrient) in blueberry can lower 40 percent the risk of developing ovarian in women. Others Kaempferol-rich foods are non-herbal tea, onions, kale, and spinach.
  • Blueberries also contain moderate quantities of Resveratrol. Resveratrol influences cancer at the initiation, promotion, and progression stages during the development of cancer. It can induce apoptosis in various cancer cells without killing normal cells. Resveratrol also aids in the reduction of inflammatory diseases.
  • Black raspberry, red raspberry, blueberry, and cranberry seed flours inhibit the proliferation of human HT29 colon cancer cell line.
  • Blueberry flavonoids have also inhibited the activities of enzymes such as matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs). The enzymes play a significant role in cancer metastasis. A 2006 study found that anthocyanin and proanthocyanidin-enriched blueberry fractions down- regulate MMP activity in DU145 human prostate cancer cells. They found that  decreases in MMP are possible involvement of protein kinase-C and mitogen-activated protein kinase pathways in the flavonoid.  The research concluded that the down-regulation of MMP activities by the blueberry flavonoids might occur through many mechanisms.

4. Support colon and combats Urinary Tract Infections.

Blueberries are rich in dietary fiber (both soluble and insoluble). Both fibers may help to reduce constipation and aid in digestive health. Tannins in blueberries also help to “cleanse” the colon because tannins have an astringent effect.
Like cranberries, blueberries have the compounds that prevent urinary tract infections (UTIs). These compound can fight against the bacteria that causes most UTIs and  from gaining a hold on the bladder wall. A research of Rutgers University in New Jersey has identified a compound in blueberries that promote urinary tract health and reduces the risk of infection. Blueberry’s compound prevent bacteria from adhering to the cells that line the walls of the urinary tract.

5. Help night vision and eyesight problems

Anthocyanin in blueberries can aid vision especially at night, ease pain in the eyes, and promote sharper vision.  Anthocyanins boost the production of rhodopsin, a pigment that improves night vision and helps the eye adapt to light changes.
Scientists in Europe have documented the relationship between bilberries( European blueberries) and improved eyesight. Studies found that bilberry extract taken in combination with 20 mg of beta-carotene a day may improve an adaption to light and night vision. Researchers thought this result occurred because of the Anthocyanins in the blue pigment.
A 2001 study in Japan documented that blueberries helped ease eye fatigue. In the study, 50 patients with senile cataracts used a combination of bilberry extract with 25% anthocyanosisdes and vitamin E twice daily for four months. The extract stopped the progression of cataracts in 96% of the patients treated compared to 76% in the control group.
The consumption of bilberry extract may also protect us against the development of glaucoma, or damage to the optic nerve. In a Thorne Research Inc study, eight patients with glaucoma used a dose of 200mg Vaccinium myrtillus anthocyanosides. The patient conditions had the improvement due to bilberries’ collagen enhancing and antioxidant properties.

6. Promote cognitive function

Blueberry-rich diets also improve motor skills and the learning capacity of animals and human. Researchers found that  people who used a cup of blueberries a day have performed 5–6% better on motor skills tests than who didn’t use.  For that reason, adding blueberries to our daily diets help preserve cognitive function and improve working memory.
In a study of USDA Human Nutrition Center (HNRCA) fed mice blueberry extractions—the equal of a human eating one cup of blueberries a day. The study found the blueberry-fed mice performed better in motor behavioral learning and memory than normal mice.  The scientists also noticed an increase in exploratory behavior.  When examined mice brains they found a marked decrease in oxidative stress in two regions of the brain. The mice better retention of signal-transmitting neurons compared with the control mice. So that the blueberries’ antioxidants offer protection of brain cells from oxidative stress. Oxidative stress can exacerbate the effects of age-related cognitive decline.
These are 6 blueberries’ key health benefits and Healthy evidence. I hope you do not get bored with dry information. For better living, we can add blueberries into our daily diet. Blueberries will support and protect us from cancer, antioxidant, and other chronic diseases.
 

5 Health Benefits of Figs

Figs are a sweet fruit and good to your health. In the ancient time, the Greek has been well aware of the medicinal qualities of figs. Today we know that figs are good  to your bones, healthy heart, beneficial to mental ability booster, and be used as diuretic. This fruit is rich in fiber, vitamin and minerals such as vitamin A, vitamin K, potassium, calcium and manganese.  You can use both fresh and dried figs in cooking, making desert or making hot figs drink withherbs

Tips for buying fresh figs

First you should always buy figs ripe because they do not ripe fast enough after harvest. Figs can be softened at room temperature, but they will not sweeten. The good ripe figs are plump, tender, and heavy for their size, and smell like honey at the stem. If the figs are stickiness it means they are over ripeness.

Ripe figs are perishable and easily bruised. You can keep figs in the lower compartment of the fridge for up to 10-12 days. If the figs are too ripe and leave them outside the fridge, they will go sour fast.

Nutrient of fresh and dried figs

Figs are not like other fruits, the amount of nutrients, vitamins and minerals in fresh and dried figs are big different. Here are the main nutrients you can have when eating fresh and dried figs.

100 g dried figs provide
      248 Calories
      1 g of Total fat 1% DV
      10 g Dietary fiber (39%)
      48 g Sugar
100g Dried figs
100g Fresh fig
Vitamin A
10.0 IU (0%)
142 IU (3%)
Vitamin K
15.6 mcg (19%)
4.7 mcg (6%)
Vitamin E
0.4 mg (2%)
0.1 mg (0%)
Potassium
680 mg (19%)
232 mg (7%)
100 g of fresh figs
      74 Calories
      0 g of Total fat
      2.9 g of Dietary fiber (12%)
      16.3 g Sugar
Magnesium
68 mg (17%)
17 mg (4%)
Calcium
162 mg (16%)
35.0 mg (4%)
Manganese
0.5 mg (26%)
0.1 mg (6%)
Copper
0.3 mg (14%)
0.1 mg (4%)
Iron
2 mg (11%)
0.4 mg (2%)

5 main health benefits of figs fruit

1. Figs fruit for healthy heart 

Figs fruit is good to your heart as it contain a high amount of potassium. Potassium is crucial mineral to heart function as our heart use potassium in every heartbeat. This mineral also helps to squeeze blood through your body and normalizes heartbeat. A high potassium diet might reduce the incidence of heart arrhythmia and heart attack.

Some studies have linked low levels of potassium in the diet with high blood pressure. Other studies show that the diet with rich potassium can reduce the risk of dying from cardiovascular disease. 

2. Reduce Hypkalemia symptoms (low potassium)

Figs helps us to reduce a Hypkalemia symptoms as figs contain high amount of potassium and magnesium. A long with sodium, chloride, calcium and magnesium, potassium is electrolyte. These substances conduct electricity in the body. The balance of potassium in the body depends on the amount of sodium and magnesium in the blood. Too much sodium in diets may increase the need for potassium. When the body loses too much potassium in urine can cause hypkalemia (low potassium). This symptom includes weakness, lack of energy, muscle cramps, stomach disturbances, an irregular heartbeat. We can use figs to reduce the hypkalemia symptoms with sources of potassium, calcium, and magnesium.

3.  Mental ability booster

Figs have the rich sources of minerals needed for proper function of all cells, organs and boost mental ability. Especially, potassium in figs plays a key role in skeletal and smooth muscle contraction. It helps your muscles to move, your nerves to work, and your kidneys to filter blood. The high amount of potassium in figs fruit also can boost the immune system. Potassium keeps the skin healthy and sends oxygen to the brain. Therefore, figs can help to reduce depression, confusion, hallucination, psychosis, and anxiety.

4. Natural laxative and diuretic

Figs can nourish and tone our intestines and act as natural laxative with their high fiber content. Prebiotics in figs support good bacteria in the gut and improve digestive wellness. The high amount of potassium in figs also decreases the risks of kidney stones and stroke. This mineral helps kidneys to remove waste, maintain and balance water levels in the body. Besides, potassium also restores alkaline salts to the bloodstream by neutralizing acids.

5. Bone healthy fruit

The rich sources of vitamin K, calcium and Choline in figs can help to strengthen and enhance your bone. Both fresh and dried figs are rich in vitamin K. Our body uses vitamin K to manipulate binding of calcium in bone and other tissues. The vitamin K supports the proteins and allows them to bind calcium ions. When we have low levels of vitamin K, our bones can be weaken, we might have the calcification of arteries and other soft tissues. 

The high potassium in figs can strengthen the bones, the muscles and faster healing of injuries. Studies show a positive link between a diet rich in potassium and bone health, especially in elderly women. Researchers suggested that consumption of foods rich in potassium may help to prevent osteoporosis. Potassium can keep the calcium in bones and lessens the risk of osteoporosis. For that reason you can use dried or fresh figs as a osteoporosis natural treatment. But remember the high amount of sugar in dried figs might have some effects. And ask your doctor for advice before adding figs in your regular diet. 

Calcium is especially high in the dried figs. In one hundred gram of dried figs you can have 162 mg of calcium that can gain the bone density. Not like other fruits, the amount of vitamins and minerals in dried figs are higher than fresh on. By stewing dried figs we can get more vitamin and mineral in figs. When you stew 100 gram of dried figs you can get.

Vitamin C 11.4mg (19%)
Vitamin K
17.4 mcg (22%)
Potassium
761 mg (22%)
Calcium 181mg (18%)
Magnesium
75.1 mg (19%)

Those mindful of dried figs is that they are high in sugar content. One hundred grams of fresh figs contain 16.3g of sugar, while dried figs contain more than 48 g of sugar and 248 calories. 

Here are some general information about 5 health benefits of figs. Figs are good to your health with lots of vitamin and minerals such as calcium, vitamin K, potassium, and magnesium. By adding fresh or dried figs into your diet you can strengthen your heart, bones and boost your mental physical. But if you use dried figs, remember that dried figs contain high amount of sugar too. I do hope you find some interesting and helpful information about figs. Don’t hesitate to let me know your idea and experiences when using figs.   

If you enjoyed this articles, you might also like ….