Blog
advantages of eating blueberries

17 Benefits of Blueberries That Will Boost Your Health in 2020

If you’re looking to give your diet a serious health kick, there are tons of benefits of blueberries that you will definitely want to know about.

Blueberries are one of the tiny powerhouses of the natural world, packed full of vitamins, antioxidants, and health advantages for various parts of the human body. 

Many people ask “what are the benefits of eating blueberries?”, and the list of blueberries’ health benefits is huge. Here at OriGym we’ve put them all together in one informative guide so you can see just why you should add this incredible superfruit into your diet. 

Before you get stuck in with the benefits of blueberries, why not turn your interest in fitness and nutrition into a rewarding career? Have a look at our level 4 advanced nutrition course, or download our latest course prospectus for more information.

Also, feel free to download our FREE 16 Week Home Strength Training Programme before jumping in.

What are blueberries?

fibre in blueberries

Blueberries are commonly called a superfood, owing to their high vitamin, mineral, and antioxidant content. They’re one of the most widely consumed fruits in the world as they can be used as toppings or eaten on their own as a snack, plus they make an excellent addition to smoothies.

They’re low in sugar, high in fibre, and rich in antioxidants. That last point is probably the most important, so we’ll be talking about antioxidants a lot as the list goes on.

A common question is: “what colour are blueberries?” or, more precisely, what colour should a fresh blueberry be. Contrary to the name, blueberries are actually more of a purple colour, owing to their high anthocyanin content, which gives them a purple tint. 

Blueberries do turn blue just before they’re fully ripe, so a completely blue berry might not taste the best! Similarly, any bruising or browning on the outside suggests that they’re going off. Their flesh should be light green, yellow or even white.

Interest around blueberries has grown a great deal over the years, and there have been many studies into their health value. Some of these studies are wider ranging than others, but the results are clear: blueberries deserve their classification as a superfood, and have a range of benefits.

What are the benefits of blueberries?

#1 - They’re antioxidant rich

advantages of eating blueberries

For such a diminutive fruit, blueberries are packed to bursting with antioxidants. In fact, as stated by Margot Skinner and Denise Hunter:

The antioxidant capacity of blueberries is among the highest of fruits and vegetables.” (Skinner and Hunter, 2013, pp.251–268)

Consequently, one of the major advantages of eating blueberries is that you'll be loading up on antioxidants, which are an intrinsic component of human health.

Antioxidants help to protect you from the damaging effects of free radicals in the bloodstream and mop up the assortment of other toxins in the body. Free radicals cause cellular damage, which is in turn associated with everything from premature ageing to hair loss, and they’re linked to a lot of diseases too. Free radicals play a big part in increasing your risk of cancer. 

That’s why antioxidants are so important, and there’s literally no downside to upping your intake. Not only are blueberries rich in antioxidants, but they contain one of the best types. Blueberries contain high levels of flavonoids (part of the polyphenol family of antioxidants), which are some of the most impactful on our health:

“Flavonoids are now considered as an indispensable component in a variety of nutraceutical, pharmaceutical, medicinal and cosmetic applications. This is attributed to their anti-oxidative, anti-inflammatory, anti-mutagenic and anti-carcinogenic properties coupled with their capacity to modulate key cellular enzyme function.” (Panche, Diwan and Chandra, 2016).

Flavonoids account for the blueberries' health efficacy, and they’re the reason that this humble berry can yield such a profound effect.

Antioxidant density is one of the major benefits of blueberries. In fact, it’s so important that it’s linked, one way or another, to every other benefit on this list. We can’t stress enough just how important antioxidants are to virtually every single aspect of health. 

If you're a PT wondering whether you can fit blueberries into your diet, check out our guide on personal trainer meal plans for some great information.

Being able to get so many antioxidants from a small, sweet berry is one of nature’s miracles, and something that you shouldn’t miss out on.

#2 - They’re great digestion aids

nutritional value of blueberries

Blueberries are fantastic for digestion. We’ve all struggled with indigestion at some point in our lives, but for others, it can be an ongoing problem, especially for those suffering from IBS or other stomach complaints. 

Apart from being uncomfortable, indigestion can lead to more troubling problems like acid reflux, and it can interfere with how our bodies process nutrients. 

Chronic or long term indigestion can really take a psychological toll, affecting how and what we eat, and also influencing how we go about our daily lives.

The blueberries nutritional benefits are responsible for its digestion-aiding credentials. A single blueberry is high in fibre, which is especially effective at speeding up the digestion of food. 

The blueberries benefits in this area are also linked to their high antioxidant properties (a common theme on this list, and why the berries are so often classed as a superfood), which can help prevent digestive diseases. 

High fibre foods will also relieve constipation, which is often linked to indigestion and a poor diet more generally. Better still, fibre has the added effect of satiating hunger and reducing our appetite. 

Quite simply, high fibre foods leave us feeling full for longer, and since eating larger portions (or snacking) are major risk factors for chronic indigestion, that’s another tick in the blueberries benefits box!

That’s not to mention the high levels of Vitamin C in blueberries which, along with its many other vitamins, simply contributes to a healthier body, digestive tract and enhanced sense of wellbeing. 

Does learning about nutrition inspire you? Check out our guide on how to become a nutritionist to see if it's the right career path for you!

All of these are crucial factors in effective digestion, so if you do suffer from things like bloating, IBS or acid reflux, blueberries might be able to help. If you’re wondering “what are the health benefits of blueberries?”, then know that they represent a cheap, safe and natural alternative to common over the counter remedies.

#3 - They could potentially alleviate Parkinson’s Disease symptoms

benefits of blueberries for the brain

This is a big claim, and one that’s still being researched, but there are tentative suggestions that blueberries might help to slow the onset of Parkinson’s Disease. 

Studies are very much in their infancy, and even the causes of the disease aren’t fully understood, but it does appear to be linked to an accumulation of alpha-synuclein, which is a protein in the brain.

Alpha-synuclein plays a role in the release of dopamine, which is something that Parkinson’s sufferers lack. Moreover, individuals with high levels of alpha-synuclein are much more likely to suffer from the oxidative stress associated with harmful free radicals. This stress damages cells, including those in the brain.

When people read about blueberries' nutritional information, they are often struck with the berries' high antioxidant content, and it’s those antioxidants which are the area of interest here, too. 

They help to purge free radicals from the body and play a huge role in preventing oxidative stress and the accompanying cellular damage. This, it’s thought, could increase the lifespan of Parkinson’s sufferers.

Results of the study are tentative, but if one of the health benefits of eating blueberries is increased lifespan and quality of life, then that’s a big deal. 

One of the main studies into this actually injected alpha-synuclein into fruit flies, which then developed defects. The flies that were fed on a diet of blueberries, however, recovered and lived for much longer.

Nothing is certain at the moment, but this might just be one of the biggest benefits of the humble blueberry.

#4 - Fantastic during pregnancy 

benefits of blueberries in pregnancy

Pregnant women understandably need to be careful about what they eat, so it’s always important to consult a doctor before making a dietary change. Purchase only organic blueberries which are free of pesticides, and ensure that you do not overindulge by eating them in excess. 

That said, blueberries have quite a few benefits during pregnancy, and are an excellent fruit to incorporate into your diet.

Many of the benefits of blueberries in pregnancy are associated with their high vitamin and mineral content. Potassium, for example, is excellent at controlling hypertension, and Vitamin C bolsters the immune system at a time when it could be struggling. 

The blueberries’ antioxidants are good for relieving stress, and the high fibre content helps with indigestion and constipation, both of which can be issues during pregnancy.

The nutritional value of blueberries is high for expectant mothers, and they also have some benefits for the baby as well. 

Foliates are especially important, because they have a role in preventing congenital problems, and the high calcium content in blueberries is great for developing bones. Moreover, vitamin C helps the foetus absorb iron, which is essential if they’re to be born a healthy weight.

More general benefits like preventing weight gain and being a healthy alternative to regular snacks are also applicable to pregnant women, making the blueberry one of the best all round fruits. 

Expectant mothers have a lot of dietary needs to balance, both for themselves and their baby, so when asking “what are the nutritional benefits of blueberries?” it’s important to do your research before making any dramatic changes.

#5 - They encourage hair growth (and combat premature greying!)

what are the health benefits of eating blueberries

To understand why blueberries are so beneficial for the hair, we must first understand what damages hair and causes premature greying in the first place. 

Vitamin B12 deficiency (or pernicious anaemia to give it its official name) is generally considered to be one of the leading causes of premature greying.

Without this important vitamin, pigments in the hair follicles will slowly degrade and eventually die, leaving us with less melatonin and, as a result, more transparent hair which appears grey. 

Fortunately, blueberries are rich in Vitamin B12, and a great way to replenish a dwindling supply. 

Blueberries nutrition facts are impressive in other areas linked to the hair, too. They contain an array of proanthocyanidins, which are plant chemicals that have a profound effect on hair growth. They actually stimulate hair follicles directly, which encourages them to grow more hair!

If you're looking to follow some nutrition blogs then OriGym's list of the top 52 nutrition blogs should give you plenty of inspiration!

That’s great if your hair is beginning to thin, but even those with a healthy head of hair will benefit from eating blueberries. 

The large quantities of Vitamins B5, E and C all have a tangible effect on the hair, and will keep it looking smooth, textured and thicker for longer. The berries also increase oxygenation to the scalp, again encouraging the growth of healthy hair.

Blueberries are so beneficial, in fact, that companies have begun to develop hair care products loaded with the fruit. Since there aren’t many side effects of eating too many blueberries, and consuming just a single cup per day is enough to reap the rewards, we can’t think of a more effective (or tastier!) way of keeping the grey hairs at bay.

#6 - Brilliant for eyesight 

blueberries benefits and side effects

There’s an old legend that fighter pilots used to consume jars of blueberry jam in an attempt to help them see better in the dark. While studies have found no conclusive proof to support this belief, there is plenty of evidence that the vitamins in blueberries, along with the antioxidants, really can improve your vision!

The blueberries benefits lie in its unique combination of vitamins. Vitamin C is excellent at reducing intraocular pressure, which in turn lowers your risk of developing glaucoma. 

It's also great for the upkeep of connective eye tissue, which some speculate might hinder macular degeneration. The antioxidant properties of Vitamin A prevent inflammation of the eye, and Vitamin E has many benefits linked to cataracts. 

Zinc is important too, and can also help fend off macular degeneration. More generally, blueberries improve your eyesight simply by looking after the blood vessels in the back of the eye. 

Anthocyanins are great at lowering blood pressure and reducing inflammation, which has the knock on effect of preventing any blockages in the arteries to the eye, ensuring a good supply of oxygen.

The fighter pilots might not have been quite right about the connection between blueberries and night vision (this hasn’t been proved yet, in any case), but they were certainly on the right track with general eye health. 

Blueberries benefit the eyes in many ways and for many different reasons. These benefits will be especially pronounced for those suffering from diseases of the eye or recovering from an injury, but anybody and everybody will love the huge advantages of blueberries on ocular health.

#7 - They have a dense and varied nutrient profile

vitamin c in blueberries

If you’re still wondering “what are the health benefits of eating blueberries?” then to put it simply, blueberries have one of the best nutrient profiles that you’ll find. They’re routinely labelled a superfood and it’s not surprising, because they offer a wide variety of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, all in one place. 

Balance is key, and what makes the blueberry so nutritiously important is how evenly distributed its components are. That, too, explains why the benefits of blueberries are so wide ranging.

Anyone who has ever wondered: “why are blueberries good for you?” need look no further than this impressive profile. The berries contain more than 20% of your daily Vitamin C allowance, are packed with antioxidants, Vitamins A, B-6 and E, as well as magnesium. 

There’s even some iron in blueberries, which you might not have expected to hear!

The protein in blueberries isn’t the highest around, but it’s certainly an additional benefit, and they contain a great deal of potassium too. 

That’s without even getting started on the various plant flavonoids, which have a long list of advantages of their own. One of the biggest benefits of blueberries is that you can get all these nutrients in one place. Excessive blueberry consumption isn’t a substitute for a balanced diet, but the berries are a great way to get a lot of nutrients at once.

If you’re about to ask “how many calories are in blueberries?” we can tell you that there’s little cause for concern. A single 100 gram serving of blueberries equates to just 57 calories! 

Better still, since the fruits influence the genes that regulate fat burn and storage, they’ll help you lose weight rather than put it on!

Ever wondered how much a sports nutritionist earns? Take a look at our blog post on the sports nutritionist salary to find out, and check out our article on career change ideas!

#8 - They offer slow release, all-day energy

nutrients in blueberries

An energy boost is a great thing, but quick release energy usually leads to slumps and lethargy later in the day, especially during the notoriously arduous afternoon period. If you find that you struggle for energy as the day goes on, blueberries might be the answer. They deliver slow release energy which is sustainable, without peak or troughs, and will see you safely through the working day.

Their high fibre content is partly responsible. Fibre affects how food is digested, and it also stabilises blood sugar levels so that there are no sudden spikes (or subsequent crashes). 

There aren’t any dips associated with high fibre foods like blueberries. Better still, blueberries are low in sugar, so they have one of the best fibre to sugar ratios that you’ll come across.

The answer to “how long do blueberries last in the body” is; much longer than most other fruits. Extensive testing has been conducted to prove this point, and the blueberry always leads the field over other common fruits like bananas or apples. 

Any fruit is better at delivering reliable, long lasting energy than a snack bar, but the nutritional makeup of blueberries makes them especially effective.

While the vitamins in blueberries aren’t necessarily associated with a sudden energy boost, staying topped up on a regular basis will keep your body healthy. That, in turn, equates to feeling much more energised day in day out. 

Low calorie, low sugar blueberries make the perfect snack, and they’re even better in a smoothie at the start of a long day.

#9 - Boost brain function

how many calories in blueberries benefits

There’s been a great deal of study on the link between the consumption of fruits and vegetables and decreased dementia risk. Some of the evidence is anecdotal or observational, but it certainly is the case that people who eat more fruit and vegetables are at a decreased risk of developing dementia later in life. 

Like so many of the other benefits of blueberries on the list, this is linked to their high anthocyanin content. These antioxidants help to mop up free radicals in the blood, and in doing so protect cells in the brain from damage. 

Intriguingly, the benefits may extend further still, and there’s evidence to suggest that anthocyanins can even alter the way that neurons communicate in the brain. That, in turn, has a positive effect on motor control and cognition.

This isn’t necessarily a sudden and marked effect, rather it’s associated with the ongoing consumption of blueberries, and pays dividends the older you get. 

That magic amount of just one cup of blueberries per day is important, and the benefits really do build up over time. When weighing up blueberries benefits and side effects, long term brain health and decreased risk of dementia are major pros. For some other hugely beneficial food to add to your diet, have a look at the top 23 superfruits.

Of course, there are some day to day benefits, and everybody could do with a brain boost from time to time! Studies have linked the consumption of blueberries with better memory, and they’re a great way to overcome a mid afternoon mental slump. 

The combination of vitamins, natural sugars and antioxidants will improve your concentration by boosting brain cell function, and can even contribute to improved mental health.

#10 - Help lower cholesterol and prevent heart disease

calcium in blueberries

The advantages of blueberries extend into the area of heart health, where they are thought to play a major role in lowering your risk of heart disease. The relationship between blueberries and heart health comes down to the berries effect on cholesterol and blood pressure. 

These are, of course, major risk factors for heart disease. Fortunately, the nutrients in blueberries do an excellent job of countering both these problems. 

First and foremost, studies involving obese individuals have indicated that blueberries can significantly reduce blood pressure if consumed every day. That alone is encouraging.

Even more interestingly, blueberries have been proven to reduce cholesterol. More precisely, studies have shown that the antioxidants in the berries stop your “bad” cholesterol from being oxidised. 

Not all cholesterol is created equal. It’s the LDL kind that carries risk and can lead to heart disease, especially once it's been oxidised. Blueberries can hinder and sometimes stop this process altogether, leading to a much lower cholesterol count.

High blood pressure and cholesterol are major risk factors in poor cardiovascular health, so it’s encouraging to know that blueberries can lower both. 

Moreover, observational studies have gone some way to show that those who consume more anthocyanins (one of the antioxidants in blueberries) are at a lower risk of having a heart attack. 

Giuseppe Mazza explains in his study:

“In recent years, numerous studies have shown that anthocyanins display a wide range of biological activities, including antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and anti-carcinogenic activities; improvement of vision; induction of apoptosis; and neuroprotective effects. In addition, anthocyanins display a variety of effects on blood vessels and platelets that may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease.” (Mazza, 2007: 370)

It’s safe to say that blueberries are fantastic for heart health. Some may be concerned about the carbs in blueberries, but the benefits far outweigh the negatives, and smaller portion sizes can easily be included in a low carb diet.

#11 - They reduce DNA damage (and slow down the ageing process!)

what are blueberries good for

When asked “what are blueberries good for?” many people will immediately think of their antioxidant properties or high vitamin profile. 

However, blueberries can actually help us on a molecular level as well. It might be hard to believe, but a big benefit of blueberries is that they protect our DNA from oxidative damage. That damage is an inevitable part of life (it happens thousands of times per day inside each of our cells), but it does have some negative side effects.

For a start, it’s associated with ageing, and it’s one of the reasons that our bodies degrade over time. As we grow older it becomes more difficult to repair the cellular damage, and so we begin to decline. 

Ageing is natural, of course, but oxidative damage is also associated with increased cancer risk and is the lingering cause behind quite a few other diseases, too.

There’s a reason that we put blueberries antioxidant properties top of the list, and they come into play here. 

Studies have found that people who consume just a single glass of blueberry juice per day can reduce DNA damage by up to 20%. It’s a stark figure, and one that really highlights how potent blueberries’ antioxidants are.

It’s not all down to those antioxidants, though. Blueberries also contain quite a few other bioactives including phenolic acids and Vitamin C, which also play their part in protecting cells. 

Slowing down the ageing process is something that we would all dearly love to do, and since oxidative damage is bound up with that process, combating that is the place to start. 

#12 - Great for weight loss

blueberries calories

Incorporating more fruits and vegetables into your diet is an excellent way to lose weight for a number of reasons. 

Substituting an unhealthy dessert for a portion of fruit will help you cut the calories, and including a side of vegetables rather than chips will have the same effect. Eating fruit is also a great way to cut down on unhealthy snacking, which is a major cause of weight gain.

The consumption of blueberries benefits weight loss in more specific ways than that, however. First and foremost, fibre is important. Fibre helps moderate blood sugar, but it also keeps you feeling full for much longer. 

That’s why dieticians recommend fibre rich foods for those on a diet. Nobody wants to struggle with pangs of hunger through the day, and the fibre in blueberries should sate your appetite between meals.

The benefits run even deeper, and this is where things really start to get interesting. Studies have shown that blueberries affect how our bodies process fat. They influence the genes that regulate fat storage and, most importantly of all, burn fat. In doing so, they decrease abdominal fat and reduce cholesterol in the process. 

This is a big deal, and it’s why blueberries are so great for weight loss. 

Depending on how many blueberries are in a portion (a serving of 100g or about a cup is usually just right) they hardly contain any calories either, making them the perfect weight loss snack. 

If you're looking for other ways to lose weight, check out our buyer's guide on meal replacement shakers - they're good for quick, short term weight loss.

#13 - They could potentially slow the onset of Alzheimer's 

blueberries antioxidants

Improved cognitive function is one of the most well known side effects of blueberries, so it’s only natural that this leads to a better prognosis for neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s. 

Studies into the effect of diet on Alzheimer’s are wide ranging but remain in their infancy, and there’s a lot more work to be done. Early indicators do suggest, however, that blueberries can slow the progress of the disease, as discussed in the journal of Nutritional Neuroscience:

“A relatively large body of preclinical research has established both functional and mechanistic effects of blueberry supplementation such as reversal of age-related decrements in cognitive and motor function and enhancements of neural resilience, cerebral blood flow, and endothelial protection. Further, cognitive and neurotrophic benefits specific to hippocampus have been shown with blueberry treatment, a particularly pertinent effect with respect to late-life dementia.” (Boespflug et al., 2017)

Again, it all comes down to the antioxidants. Free radicals in the bloodstream lead to oxidative damage on the cells, and as we age it becomes much harder for our bodies to repair that damage. 

This leads to a decline in all areas, but it’s particularly marked on the brain, and might be one of the main causes of Alzheimer’s disease. As brain cells are degraded, cognitive function inevitably follows suit.

Consuming antioxidant rich blueberries is one of the best ways to get rid of free radicals and protect cells from damage. 

A study involving rats (reared to develop Alzheimer’s disease) showed that those which were fed blueberries retained much higher cognitive function than those that weren't. This is almost certainly linked to antioxidants mopping up free radicals and protecting cells.

The benefits of blueberries for the brain in the short term include improved concentration and focus, but if these preliminary studies are correct, then there’s every chance that they might have far more profound long term benefits.

They might not prevent Alzheimer’s disease altogether, but it’s possible that they could slow symptoms down and allow sufferers to enjoy a better quality of life for longer.

#14 - They’ll repair the damage of an unhealthy diet

are blueberries good for you

Food science can sometimes seem labyrinthine, but there is one thing that’s universally agreed upon: diets high in fat are bad, lead to high blood pressure, raised cholesterol, and even damage on a cellular level caused by inflammation. 

Swapping to a healthier diet is always the right thing to do, but it isn’t always enough to undo the long term damage.

Preventing problems is one thing, but a true superfood should be able to repair the damage that’s already been done. That’s where blueberries come in. 

Studies into blueberries’ health benefits have produced some startling revelations. Not only are they a healthy choice, but they can actually undo the damage caused by a high-fat diet. 

Blueberries contain high levels of Vitamin C, Iron, K1, and manganese. This dense nutritional profile helps soothe the inflammation caused by eating too many fatty foods.

The positive side effects of blueberries extend still further, into the realms of blood pressure. It’s no secret that a high-fat diet can push your blood pressure through the roof, but eating blueberries regularly will bring it back down again. 

This, coupled with their anti-inflammatory properties, makes them an excellent choice for people who have recently embarked upon a new diet or way of life.

Some of this applies more to wild blueberries (which have a much more acidic taste and a slightly different nutritional profile), but if you can’t get hold of these, shop-bought berries are an ample compromise. 

For another way to change your diet and eat healthier, invest in one of our top 13 portion control plates.

Many people ask ‘are blueberries good for you?’ The answer is yes, but their ability to repair damage makes them even better than you might have thought!

#15 - They regulate blood sugar 

benefits of blueberries for skin

Levels of fibre in blueberries are quite high, which means that they don’t give you the spike in blood sugar that other fruits (most notably the likes of strawberries and raspberries) do. 

Fibre is useful for controlling blood sugar levels, but blueberries also have the additional advantage of being anthocyanin rich. These digestive enzymes prevent sugars entering your bloodstream all at once.

The cumulative effect ensures that the sugar in blueberries doesn’t equate to excess levels of blood sugar. This is particularly good news for diabetics, who will also be pleased to hear that blueberries have a glycemic load of just 5. Better still, some studies have suggested that blueberries increase insulin sensitivity in diabetics, especially when consumed in smoothie form.

For regular smoothie or shake drinkers, have a look at our article on protein shakers to find a high-quality one to up your smoothie game!

Erratic blood sugar levels are often associated with obesity too. Blueberries have many well-publicised benefits for combating obesity, and their sweet taste makes them perfect substitutes for less healthy snacks. 

Sugar isn’t necessarily the enemy, and sugars that come with a dose of fibre are far better for the body than those found in soft drinks and confectionery.

This means that you can enjoy all the nutritional value of blueberries without having to worry about a sudden sugar spike, or upsetting your body's blood sugar levels. 

If you’re diabetic the indicators are even better, and you won’t find many other fruits or vegetables that have this kind of potential to moderate and control blood sugar levels. Not bad for a fruit that tastes so sweet!

#16 - Fantastic for the skin

facts about blueberries

One of the most intriguing facts about blueberries is that they’re really, really good for your skin. 

There’s a lot of buzz around this on the internet and in skincare groups, and it’s quickly becoming one of the blueberries most publicised health benefits. 

Everybody knows about the high levels of calcium in blueberries, but it’s the Vitamin C that we’re interested in here.

Skin health relies heavily on the production of collagen. It smooths wrinkles, can stop them from forming altogether, and it more generally improves the skin’s texture and firmness. 

Collagen is produced naturally in the body, but it requires an ample supply of Vitamin C to synthesise. Without that supply, your body won’t be able to produce as much collagen, and your skin quality will decline as a result. 

A single cup of blueberries contains an impressive 24% of your daily recommended intake of Vitamin C, which equates to a big boost in collagen production. Few other foods (save for tablets or supplements) can claim to offer that much Vitamin C, and since the calories in blueberries are comparatively low, you can top up without having to worry.

The advantages of eating blueberries aren’t purely cosmetic either. Collagen can also prevent and repair sun damage, and it’s a key component in stopping skin becoming dry or itchy. 

If you suffer from either of those two problems, blueberries might be beneficial. Moreover, collagen helps the skin stay hydrated, and has even wider ranging benefits for bone density, tendons, muscles and ligaments.

Blueberries won’t suddenly and dramatically give you a big hit of collagen, but they will give your body the resources it needs to produce that all important protein by itself. With this in mind, it's safe to say that the health benefits of blueberries for the skin are huge. 

#17 - They can shorten your recovery times

blueberries nutrition facts

An (admittedly small) study of 10 female athletes found that the healthy benefits of eating blueberries might include aiding muscle recovery after exercise. Athletes try everything from ice baths to massages in an attempt to shorten their recovery times, but it’s possible that a simple fruit like the blueberry could help.

The protein in blueberries might not be especially high, but they contain a lot of other helpful compounds. Antioxidants are, once again, the big area of interest. 

Soreness and fatigue in the muscles are caused (at least in part) by oxidative damage and inflammation. Massages and physiotherapy will help, and these are proven to decrease recovery time, but blueberries get to work on a cellular level.

Antioxidants hinder and sometimes even prevent oxidative damage, protecting your muscles post workout and helping them to recover. An excess of free radicals in the bloodstream contribute to the oxidative process, but a diet rich in blueberries has been shown to reduce that count quite dramatically. 

Moreover, blueberries are notoriously good at soothing inflammation, so they can certainly play a part in alleviating muscle soreness the day after exercise. 

There’s certainly a lot more research to be done in this area, but the early results are promising and do make sense based on what we already know about blueberries, antioxidants, oxidative damage and muscles. 

For the time being there’s absolutely nothing to lose by indulging in a blueberry smoothie before a workout, and then again afterwards to really compound the effect. You might just find that your recovery time starts to get much shorter!

Plus, if you're looking for additional ways to decrease your recovery times then why not try one of the best casein protein powders of 2020?

Conclusion

Regularly eating blueberries benefits your skin, hair, brain, cardiovascular health, contributes to weight loss, and much more! 

Based on the sheer number of benefits of blueberries, we’d definitely say that they’re worth incorporating into your regular diet whether you’ve got a specific goal in mind or not.

If learning about nutrition and health has piqued your interest then perhaps you’d enjoy a career as a nutritionist? Have a look at our level 4 advanced sports nutrition, or download our latest course prospectus to find out if this is the job for you.

References:

  1. Boespflug, E.L., Eliassen, J.C., Dudley, J.A., Shidler, M.D., Kalt, W., Summer, S.S., Stein, A.L., Stover, A.N. and Krikorian, R. (2017). Enhanced Neural Activation with Blueberry Supplementation in Mild Cognitive Impairment. Nutritional Neuroscience, 21(4), pp.297–305.
  2. Mazza, G. (2007). Anthocyanins and Heart Health. Ann Ist Super Sanità, 43(4), pp.369–374.
  3. Panche, A.N., Diwan, A.D. and Chandra, S.R. (2016). Flavonoids: an Overview. Journal of Nutritional Science, 5(47).
  4. Skinner, M. and Hunter, D. (2013). Bioactives in Fruit : Health Benefits and Functional Foods. Chichester, West Sussex, Uk: John Wiley & Sons, pp.251–268.

Written by Dee Hammond-Blackburn

Fitness Content Executive, OriGym

Join Dee on Facebook at the OriGym Facebook Group

Dee holds a BA (Hons) in English Literature, and is currently finishing her MA in Marketing Communications and Branding from Edge Hill University. Her passion for fitness and content writing brought her to OriGym, and she has since become a qualified Personal Trainer and a Sports Nutrition Specialist. Combining her skills in fitness and writing, Dee has a professional interest in fitness blogging, content creation, and social media. Outside of her writing role Dee enjoys reading, healthy cooking, and playing football with her dalmation.

Recommended Posts

Download Your 16 week Home Strength Training Programme

Download Your 16 week Home Strength Training Programme