If you’re looking to add healthy snacks to your diet, look no further than blueberries. A true superfood, or a food that essentially contains all kinds of benefits that aid your overall health (like lowering your cholesterol and reducing your risk for cancer), blueberries should be eaten on a regular basis. The importance of including blueberries in your diet can be understood by taking a look at the fruit’s anti-inflammatory effects and powerful antioxidants.
Anti-Inflammatory Effects of Blueberries
You might be wondering what people mean when they talk about a food having “anti-inflammatory” benefits. Our body naturally inflames. It’s an immune response that, on the surface level, is a good thing. Your body’s white bloods cells and chemicals try to protect you from infection, disease or foreign substances in your body (like bacteria). When that happens, inflammation occurs. Symptoms typically include swelling, pain and redness. If you’re healthy, inflammation will be temporary.
Consuming an excess amount of foods that should be eaten in moderation, like fast food, fatty meats and sugary junk food, can lead to chronic inflammation. Chronic inflammation has been linked to a range of other ailments including cancer, heart disease, diabetes and arthritis. Not only that, inflammation is the basis of aging and wrinkling.
By eating blueberries you’ll get the benefit of their anti-inflammatory properties. Blueberries are full of anthocyanin, which slows down the loss of mental function. The berries also contain a variety of elements, including flavinoids, iron, manganese and Vitamins C and E, which can potentially ward off or prevent disease and illness. The anti-inflammatory effects of blueberries mean that you’ll look and feel better if you consume them regularly.
Blueberries and Antioxidants
A group of vitamins, minerals and enzymes that improve your body’s health, antioxidants work to neutralize free radicals before they do harm to your body. Free radicals are atoms that cause damage your body’s cells and can lead to numerous diseases, namely degenerative diseases like cancer, Alzheimer’s and arthritis. While free radicals form from a number of causes that cannot be avoided, unhealthy eating habits have been shown to contribute to the formation.
Antioxidants convert free radicals to ordinary, harmless molecules. In doing so, the damage that leads to a number of diseases and aging is prevented, as the conversion by antioxidants protects cells from lasting damage. Blueberries are a good source for antioxidants. In fact, they’re such a great source that blueberries are commonly number one on lists itemizing antioxidant-rich foods.
How to Eat This Healthy Snack
To obtain the full array of benefits that come from eating blueberries, incorporate the fruit into your diet at least three or four times a week. Eat a cup as a snack or include them as a topping on one of your meals, such as on your cereal or waffles for breakfast or on your salad at lunch. You don’t necessarily have to purchase fresh berries. Buy them frozen and you won’t have to worry about them going bad.