11 Health Benefits of Wild Blueberries
Should I eat wild blueberries everyday?
Incorporating wild blueberries into your diet is highly recommended, as they have numerous natural health benefits that can positively impact your overall health in the long term, like:
- Providing a crucial defense against oxidative stress.
- Neutralizing harmful free radicals in the body.
- Helping to reduce inflammation.
- Maintaining a healthy immune system.
- Guarding against chronic diseases.
- Promoting your overall well-being.
There are two main types of blueberries:
1. Highbush Blueberries
The most widespread cultivated blueberry type native of North America
2. Lowbush Blueberries
Also known as Nordic wild blueberries or Bilberries (Vaccinium myrtillus) found in the Nordic forests.
Before we dive into the health benefits of wild blueberries, let's look at how to maximize the benefits of blueberries all year round.
Full Nutritional Benefits of Blueberries in Different Conditions
While blueberries are naturally a seasonal summer fruit, proper storage is the key to enjoying berries all year round. How fruits are processed can change their bioactive compounds, so taking care when storing them is crucial.
What are the benefits and potential threats of storing blueberries?
1. Frozen Blueberries
Unsweetened frozen blueberries are just as nutritious as fresh berries. When berries are frozen, their mineral and vitamin content, including manganese, iron, zinc, calcium, vitamin K, and vitamin E, remains relatively unchanged.
This means that blueberries don't lose their nutritional value when frozen.
Benefits and Threats of Frozen Blueberries
|Long shelf life
|High nutrition volume
|Requires freezer space
|Limited cooking versatility
|Require no refrigeration
|May be treated with sulfites
|Easy to add as an ingredient to your meal
2. Dried Blueberries
Hot air drying is a method that is commonly used for fruit dehydration. However, this method can cause degradation of heat-sensitive compounds, which results in:
- Visible berry shrinkage.
- Modification in color.
- Little ability of rehydration.
- Lower nutritional quality.
Research shows, blueberries that are dried with hot air experience more degradation of their antioxidant like anthocyanin capacity compared to freeze-dried blueberries.
Benefits and Threats of Dried Blueberries
|Long shelf life
|May result in a nutrition loss
|Can be stored at room temperature
|May cause added sugar and oil
|Require no refrigeration
|May be treated with sulfites
3. Freeze-Dried Blueberries
What is lyophilization?
Freeze drying, also known as lyophilization, involves freezing the berries and removing the frozen water by sublimation (when blueberries are frozen and subjected to low pressure, the water inside them undergoes a direct transition from solid to gas).
The sublimation removes water content while preserving the fruit's structure, flavor, and nutrients.
Lyophilization method helps to create blueberry powder that preserves the concentrated nutrients like in fresh berries, such as vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
Benefits and Threats of Freeze-Dried Blueberries
|Limited cooking versatility
|Long shelf life
|Risk of overeating
|High nutrition value
It's proven that the freeze-dried blueberries maintain the same antioxidant activity (AO) level as fresh berries, with no significant difference.
Power of Nordic Wild Berries For You & Your Family
Freeze-dried blueberries are a valuable alternative to fresh berries. It ensures year-round access to all nutritions.
MUSS's food supplements consist of 100% natural ingredients, featuring extracts from Nordic wild berries including blueberries sourced from the forests in Latvia.
MUSS uses a freeze-drying method to create a blueberry powder and then fill it in the vegan-friendly capsule for easy use. There are two MUSS food supplements that contains blueberry extract:
Both of these products are safe to use for adults, children, and pregnant or nursing women.
Our recent scientific research in collaboration with one of Europe's top Medical Universities found that the MUSS 3d vitamin complex showed the highest antioxidant level in terms of anthocyanin found in blueberries.
Now, Let's Discover 11 Proven Health Benefits of Blueberries
1. Provides Energy for Daily Activities
Everything in life takes energy, and eating blueberries daily can provide the necessary energy to fuel your daily activities. According to this review the nutritional value of blueberries enhance the potential health benefits:
Vitamin C plays a vital role in strengthening your immune system by helping to ward off infections and supporting your body's defense against illnesses.
Vitamin K takes on the vital task of transporting calcium throughout the body, ensuring blood clotting is both precise and efficient.
Manganese is an antioxidant that protects your cells from harmful free radicals and supports your body's natural defenses against oxidative stress.
Dietary Fiber supports a healthy digestive system and control blood sugar level, helping to slow down the absorption of sugar.
Nutrition Value of Fresh, Dried and Frozen Blueberries
*Berries that have been lyophilized have a greater nutritional value than fresh berries since their water content is reduced. Berries become lighter and there is a chance of overeating them, so make sure you don't do that.
It has come to our attention that some sources provide different nutrition information regarding the nutritional content. We found that dried blueberries contain higher levels of sugar and calories compared to fresh and frozen blueberries.
This is due to the fact that dried blueberries are often treated with sugar and oil to maintain their texture and taste.
2. Natural Source to Boost Immune System
Blueberries are packed with immune-boosting nutrients and antioxidants that give strength to the immune system of the body.
Recent research has shown that blueberries are rich in vitamin C, E, carotenoids, and polyphenols, which positively influence the immune system, making blueberries an essential addition to keep your immune system in top shape.
People often ask how many blueberries they should eat a day. What is the recommended daily intake of blueberries?
And the answer is–the recommended daily intake of blueberries is one-third cup (1/3 of 238ml) of blueberries.
Daily Intake of Blueberries & MUSS Vitamins
“It can be safely stated that daily moderate intake (50 mg anthocyanins, one-third cup of blueberries) can mitigate the risk of diseases and conditions of major socio-economic importance in the Western world.”
3. Helps to Prevent Cardiovascular Diseases
The fantastic properties of blueberries and their antioxidants, anthocyanins play a crucial role in cardiovascular health, influencing factors like:
- blood pressure;
- arterial stiffness;
- endothelial function.
Blueberries offer a delectable and effective strategy to support heart health and reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) by improving blood flow and reducing inflammation.
According to the review of Blueberries and Cardiovascular Disease Prevention and several other studies, here are 7 main benefits of eating blueberries for cardiovascular health:
1. Reduced Cardiovascular Mortality Risk
2. Lower Risk of Coronary Artery Disease
3. Potential Hypertension Risk Reduction
4. Lower Risk of Coronary Artery Disease
5. Rich Source of Anthocyanins
6. Improvements in Biomarkers of cardiovascular disease risk
7. Enhanced Vascular Function
"Epidemiological studies associate regular, moderate intake of blueberries and anthocyanins with reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, death, and type 2 diabetes and improved weight maintenance and neuroprotection."
4. Helps to Manage Cholesterol Level
In today's world, unhealthy lifestyles have made CVDs one of the leading causes of death worldwide. Natural antioxidants, fiber, vitamin C and vitamin E of blueberries offer a natural way to support your heart health and keep cholesterol levels in check.
"Recent studies have shown that habitual intake of anthocyanins and anthocyanin-rich berries could protect against CVDs by possibly improving blood lipid profile, which is crucial in assessing an individual's cardiovascular health."
5. Support Skin Health and Prevent Cell Damage
Scientific studies highlight the remarkable potential of blueberries as a skin superfood. Their rich bioactive compounds like anthocyanins, flavonoids and vitamin C and antioxidant properties offer essential protection against cell damage.
Here are the 4 top benefits for your skin health of including blueberries in your diet:
1. Prevention of DNA damage
Long-term dietary consumption of blueberries may protect DNA from damage caused by oxidative stress.
2. Protection against UV radiation
Anthocyanin-rich bilberry extracts have shown promise in reducing ultraviolet (UV)-induced DNA damage associated with reduced intracellular ROS production.
3. Promoting skin health
Vitamin C, E, beta-carotene and polyphenols strengthen the skin's defenses against oxidative stress and inflammation while providing essential structural support.
It's important to emphasize the necessity of conducting more studies involving humans in order to enhance our understanding and get a comprehensive view of the current findings.
4. Free Radical Protection
Antioxidants play a vital role in protecting our cells from the damaging effects of free radicals. It is proven that wild blueberries have twice the antioxidant capacity of regular blueberries.
Antioxidant Power in Blueberries
*Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC) is a popular method researchers use to measure the ability of a substance to absorb and neutralize harmful free radicals that can damage our cells.
6. Important for Brain Development and Function
Blueberries are polyphenol-rich fruits that can delay the onset of brain aging and neurodegenerative disorders because of their powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. At the same time, the nutritional value of berries also improves children's learning and memory.
The antioxidants and phytochemicals found in blueberries have been linked to improved cognitive function and memory. A study on older adults with early memory changes showed significant improvements in paired associate learning and word list recall after 12 weeks of daily wild blueberry juice consumption.
Helps to avoid Alcheimer's
According to this research, blueberry's anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects protect brain cells from oxidative stress and inflammation associated with age-related cognitive decline and neurodegenerative diseases.
Healthy brain aging
Preclinical and clinical investigations approve that flavonoids that are found in fresh berries can enhance brain signaling and promote healthy brain aging.
7. Helps to Reduce Blood Pressure
Can blueberries improve blood pressure? Eating blueberries can help reduce blood pressure in individuals with metabolic syndrome due to several reasons:
- Antioxidant Power: can help neutralize free radicals and reduce oxidative stress.
- Improved Endothelial Function: maintaining healthy blood pressure.
- Anti-Inflammatory Effects: potentially improves blood flow and lower blood pressure.
- Fiber Content: can aid in weight management and promote healthier blood pressure.
- Improved Insulin Sensitivity: can benefit individuals with metabolic syndrome and contribute to better blood pressure control.
In a recent publication, it was confirmed that anthocyanins have shown the potential to increase nitric oxide levels in the blood, which helps improve blood flow by reducing the production of molecules that constrict blood vessels. This effect may contribute to lower blood pressure levels. However, further research involving human studies is necessary to validate these findings.
"A quantity of 150 g of blueberries per week may contribute to reduction in blood pressure levels and has a potential effect on the prevention of various types of cancer, such as colon cancer, due to the presence of phenolic compounds, tannins, flavones and generally antioxidant ingredients."
8. Possibly Can Prevent Various Types of Cancer
Is there a link between high blood pressure and cancer? It is important to remember that cancer is a complex disease, and many factors can contribute to its development. Several studies have reported hypertension (high blood pressure) associations with cancer. According to a recent study, high blood pressure (Arterial hypertension) is the most common comorbidity of cancer patients.
Antioxidants Helps to Fight Cancer
Blueberries are recognized for their significant amount and variety of phenolic compounds, specifically anthocyanins. These flavonoid polyphenols possess antioxidant properties that may aid in the prevention of cancer.
Publication of the Institute Technologist Food confirms that phenolic and anthocyanin contents in bilberries have anti-cancerous properties.
According to 5 cohort studies, the higher anthocyanin intake was associated with an 8–10% reduction in the risk of hypertension (high blood pressure).
Higher anthocyanin intake was associated with a 10% lower risk of hypertension in a cohort of more than 87,000 participants examined over 14 years.
"Wild blueberries are a better source of antioxidant metabolites compared to cultivated ones."
9. Helps to Reduce Inflammation in Body
It has been discovered that blueberries are packed with bioactive compounds that can help reduce inflammation and reactive oxygen species. This makes berries a promising option for treating inflammation caused by obesity and related health issues.
One of the latest studies has found that blueberries or their extracts effectively reduce inflammation and concomitantly improve other biomarkers (insulin level, blood lipids and oxidative stress markers) of metabolic health.
Eating blueberries daily may be beneficial in treating inflammatory conditions since they contain high antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. This makes blueberries a great addition to the diet of individuals who have arthritis and asthma.
10. Improves Gut Health and Digestion
Incredible benefits of blueberries and other Nordic wild berries are for gut health! It is a powerful source that offers a promising avenue for managing obesity by positively impacting gut microbiota composition and reducing inflammation.
Studies have shown that Nordic wild berries also work their magic on the gut microbiota, promoting the growth of beneficial bacteria like Akkermansia muciniphila (the bacterium that is linked with multiple diseases such as obesity, diabetes, liver steatosis, inflammation and response to cancer immunotherapies).
While blueberries offer potential benefits for weight loss, they work best as part of a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle.
"Blueberries could be explored as a therapeutic strategy for managing obesity by positively influencing gut microbiota composition and mitigating inflammation."
11. Blueberries and Sexual Wellness
Blueberries may provide potential benefits for sexual health and sexuality in both men and women.When combined with a healthy diet and lifestyle, blueberries may help enhance libido and sexual desire.
Clinical research suggests that their antioxidant properties play a vital role in protecting sperm from DNA damage caused by oxidative stress. Including wild blueberries in the diet can be a proactive step toward promoting reproductive health and overall sexual well-being.
Indulge in the extraordinary benefits of wild blueberries and let their antioxidant magic transform your health!
Authors of this article–Melanija Dubra & Agnese Repule