The journey of blueberries from a farm to a table has not been that easy. These blue dynamos are not only a sweet, delicious, and juicy delight, but they are also full of nutrients that offer many health benefits. It’s been over 100 years, and blueberries are still thriving in the berry family.
There was a time when people thought blueberries couldn’t be domesticated. It was a farmer’s daughter and a USDA botanist who put their head together and created edible blueberries in 1916. History mentions little about the health benefits of blueberries, but they were once used to create cough syrups. It is believed that soldiers in the Civil War received a blueberry beverage because it helped improve their health. What was known before has been re-discovered recently by scientists and this has driven blueberry consumption quite high.
What Makes Blueberry Such a Great Fruit?
Blueberries come in two types: the highbush blueberries that are cultivated in the US and the wild blueberries that are smaller and have high antioxidants content. The reason why this small edible berry is better than many fruits is because it is low in calories and high in nutrients.
Here’s the caloric content of a cup of blueberries:
- Vitamin C: 24%
- Fiber: 4 grams
- Manganese: 25%
- Vitamin K: 36%
- Water: 85%
- Calories: 84
- Carbohydrates: 15 grams
Blueberry Lowers Blood Pressure
High blood pressure increases the risk of heart disease. The dilation of blood vessels, clots, and decrease in supply of blood and oxygen are the main causes behind strokes and heart attacks.
According to a study published in Science Daily, blueberries have a major effect on flow-mediated dilation and blood pressure. 40 healthy volunteers participated in the study. Some participants were given a drink that had 200 grams of blueberries, while others were given a control drink. A couple of factors related to cardiovascular health were monitored to find out how blueberries affected blood flow and pressure in the body.
It was revealed that two hours after consuming the drink, there was significant positive effect on the blood vessels that sustained for a whole month even. Blood pressure level lowered by 5mmHg, which is the same in patients who take blood pressure medications. Lastly, the anthocyannis (flavanoid responsible for the blueberry’s color) improved endothelial function (cells that regulate blood pressure).
The control drinks had no effect whatsoever on the body, even after 6 hours.
In another study published in the Journal of Nutrition, it was revealed that people who eat 50 grams blueberries every day can reduce their blood pressure by 6% and prevent the risk of a heart attack.
So there you have it — it’s the anthocyannis that have all the magic. This flavanoid is what makes this berry so powerful and great for lowering blood pressure. The good news is that these bad boys taste good with savories and in sweets too. Here’s a simple recipe of a blueberry smoothie that you can start your day with.