Blueberries: benefits and harms

Image by Jarkko Mänty from Pixabay

Blueberries have always been considered the “northern berry”: they grew in all regions of the Northern Hemisphere and endured harsh weather conditions. But now the berries are planted in warm climates. She is really unpretentious in care and at the same time is rich in useful substances. In the summer, blueberries are included in the diet not only for their variety: it helps to replenish the lack of many vitamins and minerals.

The history of the appearance of blueberries in nutrition
The homeland of blueberries is the United States of America. At the beginning of the twentieth century, it was in this country that they began to cultivate it, and only later it was studied in more detail and actively grown. Blueberries came to the countries of Europe and Asia later: in the 1950s and 1960s. Slavic breeders and botanists began to study blueberries as a crop towards the end of the 20th century.

At first, the berry was only an ornamental crop. As they grew and spread across the globe, the healing properties of blueberries began to be discovered. Decoctions, tinctures were made from it, and in food, they were used as an additional ingredient or as a dye.

Both blueberries and blueberries are the fruits of shrubs of the heather subspecies. They are similar in appearance, but blueberries have deep blue flesh. But the main difference is, of course, taste. Blueberries are more neutral, sometimes slightly sour. Blueberries have a sweet and sour bright taste, compote or jam from them has a denser consistency.

Composition and calorie content of blueberries
The base of blueberries is water, of which more than 85% is in the berry. At the same time, blueberries contain a large number of vital vitamins and minerals that help to maintain health in good shape. Vitamin C in the composition is good for the immune system, especially during the cold season. 100 grams of blueberries contain more than 20% of this vitamin of the daily value.

Blueberries are rich in iron: an important trace element that affects energy levels, concentration, and provides many vital processes. With iron deficiency anemia, it is recommended not only to take medications but also to follow a special diet. Blueberries are ideal for this task.

This berry has a small content of B vitamins, but it contains magnesium, calcium, and potassium. Macronutrients have a positive effect on the state of the cardiovascular system, maintain the skeletal system in order.

Caloric content per 100 g 39 kcal
Proteins 1 g
Fat 0.5 g
Carbohydrates 6.6 g

The benefits of blueberries
Thanks to vitamin E and A in the blueberry, it acts as a preventive product for cancer. At the same time, it improves memory functions and, in general, has a positive effect on mental processes: therefore, the berry is recommended to be eaten with heavy mental stress. For example, during exams.

Blueberries contain flavonoids. These substances decrease the permeability and increase the strength of the blood vessels. At the same time, they participate in the assimilation of vitamin C: with its high concentration, it is important that the vitamin is well absorbed.

Blueberries are rich in anthocyanins, flavonoids, vitamins C and E. They contain pectin and tannins that have a beneficial effect on the digestive system.

Phenolic acids have a choleretic and diuretic effect, have a positive effect on the functioning of the kidneys and adrenal glands. Blueberries contain quite a few different acids, all of which are beneficial for the body. For example, ellagic acid is needed to prevent the development of malignant tumors, and folic acid is needed to prevent uterine cancer and normal fetal development during pregnancy.

The benefits of blueberries for women
The polyunsaturated fatty acids in blueberries help fight early aging. Vitamins A and E in the composition have a good effect on the condition of the skin, hair, and nails.

Iron and folic acid from blueberries are beneficial for pregnant women. During fetal development, it is necessary to monitor these indicators and follow a diet after consulting a doctor.

Regular consumption of blueberries reduces the risk of thrombosis and improves blood clotting.

The benefits of blueberries for men
Blueberries help maintain the genitourinary system, are included in the diet in the treatment of prostatitis. Calcium and phosphorus are beneficial for the musculoskeletal system.

The inclusion of blueberries in the diet will help improve vision, tone the body, and accelerate intracellular lipid metabolism.

Benefits of blueberries for children
In infancy, all systems in the body are actively developing. Thanks to its rich vitamin content, blueberries help this process. Ascorbic acid protects against colds, flavonoids and carotene have a beneficial effect on the nervous system, contribute to its active development.

It is possible to introduce blueberries into the baby’s diet from 1 year old. If he has problems with the digestive system, then it is better to postpone acquaintance with the berry until the age of 3 years. For the first time, you can make puree from it, and only then give whole berries or add them to your favorite dishes.

Blueberry harm
If eaten too much, blueberries can cause allergies: no more than 150 grams of berries can be eaten per day. People with an acute allergic reaction to other foods need to be careful about blueberries, just like pregnant women.

It is impossible to eat blueberries with a deficiency of glucose 6-phosphate dehydrogenase. This is a genetic defect that is inherited. It leads to an increased content of red blood cells in the blood and anemia. People with this disorder have problems breaking down certain substances found in food and medicines. There are such substances in blueberries.

Refusing to eat this berry is necessary for those who suffer from diseases of the urinary tract. It is important to monitor the reaction to blueberries for people with thrombosis and diseases of the gastrointestinal tract: ulcers, gastritis, colitis.

The use of blueberries in medicine
Studies have shown the benefits of blueberries for depressive disorder. A group of people was interviewed: they all took blueberry extract daily for 90 days.

The high content of vitamin C in the composition of berries will help both in the prevention of colds and in their treatment. Blueberries also increase gastric secretion and the digestive power of gastric juices. That is why it is included in the diet for diseases such as pyelitis or stomach catarrh. With its beneficial properties for the digestive system, the berry can still have a negative effect on it. Therefore, it is important to consult with a specialist and follow the recommendations.

There is a common myth that many berries should not be eaten with diabetes. All due to the fact that they contain vegetable sugars. Patients with diabetes should not give up blueberries: you can afford ¾ glasses of blueberries a day. This serving of berries contains 15 grams of carbohydrates. What’s more, there is evidence that blueberries can lower blood sugar levels in diabetics. Therefore, it is important to monitor your glucose levels.

Cardiovascular diseases mostly affect the elderly. Blueberries can help cope with high blood pressure, bleeding disorders, and problems with thinning blood vessels. Scientists have hypothesized that anthocyanins, the pigments that give the berry its blue color, interact with other substances. And by this, they have a positive effect on the work of the heart and blood vessels.

A good memory is important at any age, and you need to develop it throughout your life. Studies in different age groups (from children to the elderly) show that regular consumption of blueberries improves cognitive functions. In addition, the use of blueberries has a positive effect on the development of psychomotor functions: coordination and dexterity.

The use of blueberries in cooking
Blueberries are a part of many popular desserts: pies, jams and preserves, muffins. The taste of the berry is rather neutral when compared to the bright taste of blueberries. But at the same time, ripe blueberries are sweet: not much sugar can be added to baked goods.

Those who do not like sweets can make a salad or sauce for the main course with blueberries.

How to choose and store blueberries
Ripe and fresh blueberries have a bright and uniform color. They are most often the same size, but larger berries can also be found.

Blueberries are grown on plantations on a large scale: therefore, they have a longer shelf life than blueberries. This berry is wild, you can not find it on the shelves so often.

It is better to store blueberries, already purchased or harvested at the dacha, at temperatures from +2 to +6 degrees. In the refrigerator, they will not deteriorate, while the taste and useful properties will be preserved. It is important to rinse the berries well before eating: so that they do not get wet, it is better to do this right before eating them.

Popular questions and answers
How to wash blueberries correctly?

You need to place the berries in a colander or chintz and put them in a bowl of cold water. This is the most optimal method. The berries are quite fragile, washing under strong pressure of water can damage them.

Blueberries should be washed right before eating. If you do this earlier, then the berry will become soft and quickly deteriorate.

When is the blueberry season?
The season for blueberries is considered to be late July – early August. In the wild, blueberries ripen approximately 45 days after flowering. Garden blueberries mature a little earlier than in the forest: around mid-July.

Is it possible to grow blueberries in the country?
This is quite realistic, but you need to take into account some peculiarities. First of all, it is important to choose the right place: a well-lit area of land that is protected from drafts. It must be remembered that the plant grows well, the soil must pass water and air. Blueberries love well-moisturized soil. The optimum moisture level can be achieved by laying a layer of mulch of leaves and sawdust between the bushes.


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