1. Catechins found in blueberries activate fat-burning genes in abdominal fat cells to assist with weight loss, and belly fat loss in particular. According to research at Tufts University, regularly ingesting catechins increases abdominal fat loss by 77 percent and double total weight loss.
2. They contain a group of natural phytonutrients (plant nutrient) called proanthocyanidins which have a unique ability to protect both the watery and fatty parts of the brain against damage from some environmental toxins.
3. Blueberries are one of the richest sources of proanthocyanidins. These phytonutrients decrease free radicals levels that are linked to aging (yes wrinkling!) and disease.
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4. In animal studies, those given an extract of blueberries had less motor skill decline and performed better on memory tests than animals not given the blueberries. Researchers conclude that compounds in blueberries may reverse some age-related memory loss and motor skill decline.
5. Blueberries are packed with vitamins C, E, riboflavin, niacin, and folate.
6. They are a rich source of the phytonutrients ellagic acid. Ellagic acid has proven anticancer and genetic-material-protection capabilities. It also encourages a healthy rate of apoptosis—how the body seeks out and destroys harmful or damaged cells, like cancer cells.
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7. Because they contain plentiful amounts of the phytonutrient quercetin, they may reduce the likelihood and severity of allergies.
8. Blueberries contain minerals like iron, magnesium, manganese, and potassium.
9. Blueberries contain salicylic acid—the natural version of aspirin. Salicylic acid is known to thin the blood and reduce pain.
10. Blueberries are excellent anti-inflammatory agents. They increase the amounts of compounds called heat-shock proteins that decrease as people age. When heat shock proteins decrease the result is inflammation and damage, particularly in the brain. Research shows that by eating blueberries regularly, inflammation lessens.
11. They increase the production of feel-good dopamine. Dopamine is a natural neurotransmitter (brain messenger) that tends to be low in Parkinson’s.
12. They just taste great. Ok, this is no surprise but it’s a great reason to eat blueberries anyway.
Michelle Schoffro Cook