The blueberry is one of the few fruits native to North America. Traditionally, Native American tribes prized the berry for its healthful properties and used the berries along with the leaves and roots in teas.
According to the USDA Human Nutrition Center on Aging, blueberries have been shown to demonstrate extremely high antioxidant activity. A single blueberry provides more antioxidant activity than most other fruits and vegetables.
The antioxidant phytonutrients of blueberries, called anthocyanidins, diminish free radical damage to tissues. This helps protect against cataracts, glaucoma, macular degeneration, heart disease, cancer and more. These phytonutrients also have an impact on the collagen matrix of veins and the vascular system, hence improving vessel wall integrity and decreasing the incidence of varicose veins and hemorrhoids.
Blueberries Protect the Brain from Oxidative Stress
The antioxidant effects of blueberries can have an impact on age related loss in mental capacity as well. Studies of older lab animals consuming blueberry supplemented diets have shown measurable improvements in memory, coordination, and balance.
Blueberries, Health and Nutrition
Blueberries are a very good source of vitamin C, manganese and dietary fiber. In particular, they are high in the soluble fiber pectin, a substance known to lower total cholesterol and also aid in relieving constipation.