Merriam-Webster defines blueberries as, “the edible blue or blackish berry of any of several North American plants (genus Vaccinium) of the heath family.” (1)
People have a long history of love for the blueberry. How about you? Do you love blueberries? I have a great affinity for them. I can remember eating them ever since I was little growing up in Michigan. Anyone else from Michigan? If not Michigan, from where do you hail? Can you recall your first time eating blueberries? Maybe it was a blueberry pie. Or how about blueberry jam or jelly. The important thing is that hopefully you still continue to eat them even now. If not, you are missing out on a “powerhouse” in a little wrapper.
I’ve done some research on the questions that people have been asking about blueberries. In this post, we are going to cover some of those questions and provide you with the most in-depth and detailed answers that we could find.
Here are the questions. They are in no particular order.
What makes blueberries a “superfood”?
I think blueberries taste super-duper but…that’s probably not what makes them a superfood. So let’s find out what does. According to Lynn Brown(2) in an article in JSTOR Daily, she says, “most of the blues, purples, and blackish tints—especially in berries and potatoes—trace to flavonoids called anthocyanin(3). These chemicals are considered antioxidants because they quash free radicals, naturally forming molecular fragments that have several damaging effects.”
What gives blueberries their color?
Sometimes I think that blueberries look more purple than blue. Anyone second that? Well, it appears that the same thing that gives blueberries their antioxidant properties also gives them their color. According to Socratic.org(4), “Blueberries get their color from a group of compounds called anthocyanins (Greek anthos “flower “+ kuanos “blue”). Blueberries are basic, so their anthocyanins are blue.”
Are blueberries good for constipation?
I’m sure we have all experienced eating too much fruit and ended up having diarrhea. So let’s look at the right amount to eat to help with our constipation but not too much to give us the runs. I know you will all agree that is no fun! According to Jessica Lewis(5), in an article published by Livestrong.com, “A 1-cup serving of fresh, raw blueberries has 3.6 grams of dietary fiber, while the same-size serving of frozen berries has 4.2 grams of dietary fiber. A 1/4-cup serving of dried blueberries has 3 grams of dietary fiber.” That is higher than most other fruits.
Your gender and age determine your daily fiber requirements. Click here(6) to find out how much you need. Since I’m an adult/gerontological nurse practitioner, I am often asked about fiber by my patients or their family members. I tell them that they need to increase their fiber to ensure that they are getting enough in their diets to keep them regular but that they need to also make sure to drink plenty of water to keep from becoming dehydrated or constipated if they take too much fiber and do not drink enough water.
How are blueberries good for diabetics?
For starters, they have a glycemic index of 53. Any number below 55 is good. This means that the foods you ingest, ie. blueberries are more slowly digested which in turn releases sugar more slowly into your bloodstream, and that helps you to avoid or at least decrease spikes in your blood sugar levels. As I have mentioned in previous posts it is important to keep your glucose levels under control.
One way to do this is to ask your primary healthcare provider to check your hemoglobin A1c at least every 3 months. 3 months is optimal because this test measures how your blood sugar levels have been doing over the past 90 days. If however, your blood sugar is well controlled you may be able to wait and have it done every 6 months. Please discuss this with your doctor or healthcare provider to see what is best for you.
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Are blueberries bad for dogs?
This question is very important to dog lovers so let’s answer this question to put your minds at ease. According to the American Kennel Club(so you know you can trust this answer), No! Blueberries are not bad for your dog. In fact, they are actually good for your dog. Just like they are for us humans. The AKC goes on to say that, “You can feed your dog both fresh and frozen blueberries.”(7) click here to read the full article. It’s worth the read!
Can blueberries cause kidney stones?
According to an article on Livescience.com written by Christopher Wanjek(8), he states that “August is the month that sees the most kidney stones. An increase of up to 30%.” He goes on to say that blueberries contain oxalates which are known to produce kidney stones. However, stones are more likely to be caused by a diet high in refined sugars, salt, and animal proteins.
He recommends drinking between 2.5-3 liters of water per day. He doesn’t believe that eating blueberries will cause you kidney stones if you do not have a history of them. Now, I’ve never had a kidney stone myself but both of my kids have had them. They told me that the pain was unbearable and even debilitating sometimes. Enough to make them miss class or work.
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Can blueberries help to kill cancer cells?
In a study published earlier this year by the University of Missouri-Columbia, it says that “resveratrol — a compound present in grapes and red wine — helped to sensitize prostate cancer cells to radiation therapy.” The study was led by Dr. Yujiang Fang. Click here(9) to read the full article.
So yes, it appears that blueberry extract can actually help to kill cancer cells due to their chemical compounds. The article talked about cervical cancer. Since my wife’s mother died from cervical cancer over forty years ago it’s nice to know that there is hope nowadays for those who have been or may be struck by this terrible disease. Ladies, it’s very important to make sure you go see your OB/GYN every year.
How many carbs/calories are in one cup of blueberries?
21 grams of carbs and only about 80 calories. So go ahead and be sure to find a way to incorporate them into your diet every day. Carbohydrates requirements are different for men and women. Also, they are different if you want to lose weight, you’re an athlete or are on a keto diet. I suggest you research this thoroughly to have a better understanding. It’s too complicated for this post.
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Why are blueberries good for your brain?
I found this amazing article here(11). It was published on a site called www.medicallydaily.com. It states that blueberries are good for the brain because they, “reduce effects of Alzheimer’s, prevents age-related memory loss and other changes, lowers dementia risk, boosts brain cells, boosts concentration and memory, and they also boost mental health.”
This is really great news for all of us! Especially if you or a loved one are suffering from memory loss or any kind of memory difficulties. Thankfully, my family is not plagued with memory issues. I do, however, have friends who have family members afflicted by this terrible disease.
It’s quite sad to watch someone decline from this disease process. This means that we should all add blueberries to our diet if for no other reason than it will help us to retain all of our beautiful memories of our family members and friends. I know I’m going to start eating more. How about you?
Can babies eat blueberries?
I have always been of the mind that your baby should be at least six months old before trying anything but baby food or round toasted oat cereals. But hey my kids are 27 and 23 now. That was way back then. I was always worried my kids could develop an allergy and I didn’t want to put them through a severe allergic reaction or worse.
It looks like the recommended age for babies to start blueberries is 6-8 months according to momtastic.com(12), “Blueberries are not in the “true” berry family with strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries .” Just be sure to only ever introduce one food at a time to a child no matter what it is. That way you know to which food they are allergic.
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Are blueberries helpful for relieving urinary tract infections(UTIs)?
In an article written by Amy Boulanger on www.medicaldaily.com(13), she states that blueberries contain the same antioxidants as cranberries. These compounds help by preventing bacteria from sticking to bladder walls.
Can I eat blueberries while taking Warfarin?
Short answer: yes! In an article by the Alere Staff, it states that “Blueberries do contain vitamin K, which helps with clotting, but the amount is considered moderate.”(14) Therefore eating blueberries is ok if not overdone. Of course, if you don’t eat blueberries and would like to start because of their other great benefits then please speak with your healthcare provider first. Check out the article by the Alere Staff to see more details.
Let’s review what we’ve covered in this post. This was a lot of information for us all to digest. Totally worth it though to know these benefits! We covered the following points:
- Superfood – contains flavonoids called anthocyanin(3). “These chemicals are considered antioxidants because they quash free radicals, naturally forming molecular fragments that have several damaging effects.”
- Color -Blueberries get their color from a group of compounds called anthocyanins (Greek anthos “flower “+ kuanos “blue”).
- Constipation -A 1-cup serving of fresh, raw blueberries has 3.6 grams of dietary fiber which keeps you regular.
- Diabetics -blueberries have a glycemic index of 53. Any number below 55 is good. This means that blueberries are more slowly digested.
- Dogs -No! Blueberries are not bad for your dog. In fact, they are actually good for your dog. The AKC goes on to say that, “You can feed your dog both fresh and frozen blueberries.”
- Kidney Stones -blueberries contain oxalates which are known to produce kidney stones. However, stones are more likely to be caused by a diet high in refined sugars, salt, and animal proteins.
- Cancer -yes, it appears that blueberry extract can actually help to kill cancer cells due to their chemical compounds.
- Carbs and calories -21 grams of carbs and only about 80 calories. Start enjoying them today!
- Brain -blueberries are good for the brain because they, “reduce effects of Alzheimer’s, prevent age-related memory loss and other changes, lower dementia risk, boost brain cells, boost concentration and memory, and blueberries boost mental health.”
- Babies -recommended age for babies to start blueberries is 6-8 months.
- Urinary Tract Infections – blueberries contain the same antioxidants as cranberries. These compounds help by preventing bacteria from sticking to bladder walls.
- Warfarin -blueberries do contain vitamin K, which helps with clotting, but the amount is considered moderate. So blueberries are safe to eat.
Let me know how you enjoy these tiny blue powerhouses? Do you have any benefits to add to our list? Leave a favorite recipe if you have one. Please leave a question or comment.