Increase Your Lifespan Just By Eating This One Berry.
In the world of exotic “superfoods” like acai berries and quinoa, there’s a surprisingly commonplace star: The blueberry. Loaded with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties, these berries pack a health punch so strong that consuming a moderate amount of them daily may actually increase your lifespan.
While the many health benefits of blueberries are still being explored, so far, research has identified the following life-extending properties:
1. Blueberries are densely packed with nutrients.
Blueberries are one of the most nutrient dense berries available, while also being low in sugar and carbohydrates. A 1 cup serving (148 grams, 84 calories) of blueberries contains:
-Four grams of fiber;
-Vitamin C: 24% of the recommended daily intake;
-Vitamin K: 36% of the recommended daily intake;
-Manganese: 25% of the recommended daily intake;
-A range of other micro-nutrients.
All of these nutrients have been strongly implicated in healthy immune system function, resistance to chronic disease, and even in the prevention of cancer. Manganese also helps to fight insomnia, a vital property in an era when many of us are chronically under-rested (which itself leads to a higher risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and cancer).
2. Blueberries contain a staggering amount of antioxidants.
Antioxidants protect our bodies from damage by free radicals, unstable molecules that harm our cells on a structural level and contribute to aging and the development of cancer. Blueberries contain more antioxidants than almost all other popular fruits and vegetables, being rich in powerful polyphenols called flavonoids.
Not only do these antioxidants improve one’s odds of living a long and healthy life, they also aid in preventing vision loss by protecting the eyes from age-related macular degeneration (the primary cause of blindness and vision loss in individuals over the age of 65).
3. Blueberries help to lower blood pressure and protect the heart.
According to one study, obese individuals at a high risk for heart disease were found to have a 4-6% reduction in blood pressure after consuming 50 grams (1.7 ounces) of blueberries per day, for eight weeks. Likewise, in a 2013 study conducted on 93,600 nurses, blueberries were linked to a 32% lower risk of heart attacks.
4. Blueberries aid overall brain function and improve the memory.
Oxidative stress is known to accelerate the brain’s aging process, leading to poor brain health in old age and a higher risk of Alzheimer’s and dementia. Fortunately, animal studies suggest that the antioxidants in blueberries tend to accumulate in the areas of the brain that are most needed for advanced processing, improving in cell signalling and the connection between neurons.
Human studies are now confirming these results; in one study of 9 elderly people with mild cognitive impairment (a common precursor to dementia), consuming blueberry juice every day for 12 weeks led to improvements in several markers of brain function.
How to Incorporate Blueberries into Your Diet
If chowing down on a cup of blueberries a day doesn’t thrill you, try tossing them in salads (they pair well with spinach, another popular superfood), on your morning cereal or oatmeal, or blend them into a smoothie (they combine very well with yogurt and bananas).
Share the different ways you incorporate blueberries or any other fruit into your daily meal plans.
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