With their gorgeous blue hue and satisfyingly sweet taste, blueberries are one fruit many people can agree is a welcomed addition to their meals, snacks, and fruity cocktails or mocktails. And as a registered dietitian, I can certainly get behind the goal of eating blueberries every day. The benefits of blueberries are plenty: Between the natural fiber these beautiful blebs contain, the sweet taste they provide with no added sugar, and the boost of antioxidants they naturally house, as a clinician, I would be hard-pressed to find any major downside to including these berries in most diets—especially if they are added to a balanced and healthy diet, and they are consumed in an appropriate serving size.
There are a variety of blueberries to choose from, including highbush and wild lowbush. And while there are slight differences among the different types, including the size, flavor, and antioxidant content, you can rest assured that you will be consuming many important nutrients, regardless of which type you choose, including fiber, iron, vitamin K, and vitamin C.
What makes blueberries so unique is that they contain anthocyanin, a natural pigment that acts as an antioxidant. Wild blueberries have 33% more anthocyanins than ordinary blueberries, but all blueberries do contain a significant boost of this natural compound. Anthocyanins have been linked to having anti-diabetic, anti-inflammatory, and anti-cancer effects. It has also been linked to a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease development.
If you choose to eat blueberries every day, here are some benefits of blueberries you can experience. Read on, and for more, don’t miss 7 Fruits You Should Be Eating Every Day.
You may experience improved cognitive health.
No matter what your age is, research suggests that anthocyanins (the pigment found in blueberries) may help to improve cognitive function. For children, data shows that 7 to 10-year-olds performed cognitive tasks better after consuming a wild blueberry drink than when they did not. And a positive effect on working memory has been seen among older adults who consume anthocyanins as well. Specifically, data has shown that consuming wild blueberries every day for six months improved cognitive aging by improving the speed of information processing in older adults.
Researchers suggest that anthocyanins may decrease inflammation, improve blood flow, and increase communication between cells in the brain, possibly explaining why these berries are so impactful on brain health.
You may have a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease.
Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the US, and while there are many factors that can play into our risk of developing this condition, our dietary choices may play into one piece of the puzzle. Data shows that foods that are rich in anthocyanins (the pigment that gives blueberries their blue color) are associated with a reduction in the risk of cardiovascular disease.
One study showed that eating around 1 cup of blueberries daily reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease by up to 15 percent among a study population. And who wouldn’t be happy to eat a cup of blueberries every day?
You may have improved glucose management.
One of the benefits of blueberries is improved post-meal glucose management, potentially because of the fruit’s effects on the digestive system. Plus, a study looking at three different groups of anthocyanins found that blueberries may help to induce insulin secretion (which is a common problem for people with type 2 diabetes).
You may have lower blood pressure.
Reducing sodium intake may be the darling of the blood pressure-reducing steps, but eating blueberries deserves some attention in this department too. In an eight-week study, people with a high risk of heart disease and who had obesity experienced a 4–6% reduction in blood pressure after consuming freeze-dried blueberries every day for eight weeks.
Pregnant women may have a reduced risk of developing gestational diabetes.
Developing gestational diabetes can occur for various reasons, some being completely out of a person’s control. But some data suggests that dietary choices may impact some people’s risk of developing this condition.
Specifically, data suggests that pregnant women who ate 280 grams of blueberries every day, along with 12 grams of supplemental soluble fiber resulted in a reduced risk of developing gestational diabetes. Maternal weight gain was significantly less among those who ate the blueberries and fiber supplement vs. those who did not.
Lauren Manaker MS, RDN, LD, CLEC
Lauren Manaker is an award-winning registered dietitian, book author, and recipe developer who has been in practice for almost 20 years. Read more about Lauren