You know the scene in *Willy Wonka + the Chocolate Factory* when Violet turns into a blueberry? Well we’re waiting for the day when it happens to one of us because we’re popping blueberries like our lives depend on it. But *for real* — we can’t stop eating the delicious, antioxidant-rich, blue orbs of happiness! ++ As if we needed any more reason to eat blueberries on a daily basis [ok — hourly basis] it turns out this magical fruit is *bursting* with health benefits.
1] LOW CAL + HIGH NUTRIENT
Blueberries are low in calories [1 cup has approximately 90 calories] + high in *vitamins + nutrients.* They’re a great source of fiber for your digestive system, vitamin C to boost immunity, vitamin K for heart health + manganese for bone strengthening. As women, we are prone to having weaker bones, so a diet rich in bone-health-boosting nutrients is essential.
2] QUEEN OF ANTIOXIDANTS
Blueberries are at the top of the fruit + vegetable totem pole when it comes to antioxidants as they contain the *highest* amount of these free-radical fighting molecules. Quick science lesson — free-radicals are molecules in the body that can damage cells + potentially lead to cancer ++ signs of aging #thanksbutnothanks. Blueberries contain high levels of antioxidants called flavonoids + anthocyanins which give them their rich blue color + disease fighting properties. A strong fruit for strong women ; ).
3] A HANDFUL A DAY [POTENTIALLY] KEEPS HEART DISEASE AWAY
While there isn’t a direct correlation between consuming blueberries + a reduced risk of heart disease, the super food does lower blood pressure + oxidized LDL cholesterol [that’s the *bad* cholesterol] — both of which are contributing factors to heart disease. Many studies have shown that regularly incorporating blueberries into your diet can reduce blood pressure by 4-6%. Remember those antioxidants we were talking about? Numerous studies show that they fight LDL oxidation. Keep your heart happy in more ways than one by making blueberries a staple in your diet. *Healthy heart = happy heart.*
4] BRAIN POWER
If you still need convincing that antioxidants should be an essential in your diet [+ blueberries have the highest antioxidant capacity of all fruits + veggies], it’s also proven that they’re bursting with brain benefits. When the brain lacks antioxidants the aging process is accelerated leading to decreased cognitive function + memory loss. Studies show that the antioxidants in blueberries are attracted to the areas of the brain that relate to intelligence. Who doesn’t love a healthy dose of brain power?
5] SORE MUSCLES SOLUTION
We all love a great workout. The sore muscles the next day? Not so much. Among other things, sore muscles are caused by inflammation + oxidative stress [an imbalance between free radical production and the body’s ability to counteract their negative effects with antioxidants]. Similar to how blueberries benefit the brain, an increase in blueberry [+ antioxidant] consumption supplies your muscles with more free-radical fighting power to reduce muscle soreness + damage.
We’re starting to think that Violet turning into a blueberry wasn’t much of a punishment. The list of health benefits goes on ++ it doesn’t hurt that blueberries are both delicious + nutritious. You can eat them by the handful or try out any of these great recipes to get an antioxidant + happiness boost any day of the week!
++Briana [@brianam_inchaarg]// VirtCHAARG Orlando