Is Blueberry a Fruit that offers Immune System Support?

Blueberry is a popular flavor in the United States. Blueberry pancakes are magnificent. Muffins loaded with blueberries are common in my country… as well as cobbler or pie. But, is blueberry a fruit that offers immune system support?

Most of the blueberries picked each season end up in your produce aisle at your local supermarket. But, each year blueberries are becoming more popular in a processed form.

Blueberries are considered a SUPERFOOD!  They are jam-packed with vitamins, minerals, fiber, and ANTIOXIDANTS! 

Antioxidants are linked with reducing risks of heart disease, cancer, and other inflammatory disorders. They have also been proven effective in treating immune system disorders as well as digestive issues.

 

mmm… yummy

 

By the way… What are Blueberries?

Blueberries are small bluish or purple fruits that grow on flowering shrubs. The fruit grows in clusters.  They are native to North America and are cultivated as well as grow wild. They are most often grown in northern states as well as Canada. The highbush variety was introduced to Europe in the 1930s.

Blueberries only exhibit their exotic color on the outside. The skin is the only part of the blueberry possessing this natural dye. If you are not careful when eating blueberries, you could end up with a permanent stain on your clothes.  The skin is loaded with anthocyanins. These are naturally produced pigments that get their color depending on the amount of the acidity level of the pigment.

Wild Blueberries

How Can Blueberries Boost Your Immune System?

Blueberries have a reputation for boosting your immune system. The Year 2020 certainly has gotten the attention of many people around the globe when it comes to immune system health. Whether you are worried about the virus or not, most of us have taken noticed what could happen to you if you have a compromised immune system.

Now, these little ole’ berries are chocked full of antioxidants. Blueberries are on the top of the list of many antioxidant charts, but a little known fruit from india, Amla, is packed with way more antioxidants. However, blueberries have a considerably higher number of antioxidants than just about any other natural food.

Antioxidants are molecules that fight off aggressive free radical scavengers. Free radicals in small amounts are actually beneficial for your immune system. Your body’s immune cells use free radicals to fight off infections.

It is necessary to have inflammation after an injury.  Free radicals released from inflamed cells are essential for the regeneration of tissue.  Having the right balance of antioxidants and free radicals are important for maintaining overall health.

To keep free radicals under control, you need to consume more antioxidant-rich foods. If your body is overrun by free radicals, oxidative stress sets in.  This oxidation can damage your DNA and lead to cell death. Cancerous cells may develop as a result.

WHAT CAUSES OXIDATIVE STRESS? Environmental toxins like air pollution or inhaling toxic chemicals from a job site… Addictive behavior such as cigarette smoking or excessive drinking of alcoholic beverages… Radiation exposure as in tanning beds… Out of control blood sugar levels… Overdoing exercise (damaging tissues)… Too much vitamin C or vitamin E or… Too much copper, zinc, magnesium, or iron (you can actually overdo essential nutrients!).

Balance is the key to optimum health. Too much or too little oxygen is even worse for you.  Having a ph balance is also extremely important. Just keep in mind to take it easy and be careful of addictive behavior.

 

 

Are Blueberries the Key to the Fountain of Youth?

Well.  I doubt that you will ever find the fountain of youth… but, it is true that eating the right kind of foods (and avoiding other food groups) help slow your body’s aging process. Poor food choices lead to an early death.  This should be common knowledge.  BUT, many people love staying in DENIAL.  It is comfortable and convenient.

Fighting back oxidative stress is one of the most important things to do if you want to fight back the effects of aging. So, whatever works well for your immune system carries forward with staying young.  Healthy cells are everything.  When your organs fail, you can bet there is a problem within the cells of that particular organ.

So, the bottom line… consume foods high in antioxidants help keep Father Time at bay for a little while longer. Antioxidants help keeps cells healthy and aids in their regeneration.  Blueberries are a superfruit that will help you get there.

Stay home Father Time… I am not ready for you yet!

 

Does Cancer Still Scare You to Death?

I don’t spend my days worrying about cancer.  I watched my dad whither away with lung cancer. I never developed a passion for cigarettes… thank GOD! I am somewhat vain and am more concerned about aging. I am 57 and doing pretty good at looking and feeling youthful.

I spend a great deal of time and research searching for the best ways to maintain optimum health.  I had a period of my life when I let myself go when I started suffering from chronic pain.  It turns out it was sciatica. I have been successful at keeping this in remission. The internet is the greatest TOOL ever for finding answers to problems. I just wish ego would step aside and actual facts could be presented to the general populous and lives could be enriched. But, in the meantime, you can sort through abundant sources of info to find solutions.  Once you are able to network into the right resources, you are home free.

There are food choices you can make to turn your health around (if you heading towards ill health), or if you want to obtain optimum performance in sports. You can increase your chances of avoiding degenerative diseases by paying close attention to what you put into your body. We, as a society, eat foods without looking at the ingredients. You have no idea what restaurants are even putting in your food. I’m not trying to preach here.  I am just trying to get people to at least think about what they are consuming.

Blueberries are not a cure for cancer, but they are one of the better food choices for maintaining healthy cellular health with their potent antioxidant power from phytonutrients.. As well as antioxidants, blueberries are high in vitamin C and vitamin A.

Research has shown antioxidants slowing down numerous cancers. You should proceed with caution in taking antioxidant supplements.  They could have a negative impact on tumors. It would be wise to stick with whole foods to obtain your antioxidants.

Something magic happens in nature.  Eating whole foods, rather than scientifically altered supplements, are your best bet in achieving optimal health.  Powdered forms are fine if they are not heated up during the manufacturing process (heat alters the chemical structure of pretty much everything).

Blueberries also contain vitamin B9… folate or folic acid.  This powerful B vitamin plays a role in DNA synthesis and repair. This is helpful in cancer prevention since cancer is a result of a mutation in the DNA and cells.

Eat Your Heart Out! as long as it is Blueberries.

A few years ago I was really SCARED. I was having chest pains. One night I decided to head to the local VA and had myself checked out. I was already aware that my blood pressure would get too high during certain activities like hiking steep hills. Anyway, I had all these tests done to try to locate the source of my pain.

I have always felt fortunate in being able to use my veteran’s medical benefits otherwise these tests would have cost me a pretty penny! After undergoing all of these tests, the end result was, my heart was functioning well. I asked the doctors if it was muscular pain.  I then figured it must have been an injury caused by overdoing resistance band workouts or karate. The doctor agreed that I may have torn a muscle.

Any way, the pain came back 6 months ago.  I had been on a plant-based diet for a whole year at this point, and my blood pressure had returned to normal. I googled sternum pain... I just love the internet.  I found out I had Costochondritis.  This was the cause of my chest pain and required a specially made device from New Zealand to push my ribs back into place.

My point.  Chest pain scared the bejesus out of me.  A heart attack sounds like a really bad way to go. I will do anything healthwise to avoid cardiovascular disease.

Eating blueberries may help you lower your blood pressure. The anti-inflammatory effects of blueberries help make your arterial walls more flexible so your blood can move more smoothly through your body. Blueberries will also help you lower your LDL cholesterol which also plays a role in heart disease.

The nutritional components of blueberries support heart health. It contains fiber, vitamin C, vitamin B6, folate and phytonutrients  Fiber helps reduce the amount of cholesterol flowing through your bloodstream. Vitamin B6 and folate help prevent homocysteine buildup. (an amino acid from eating meat). Too much homocysteine may lead to heart disease.

Certain minerals can help you lower blood pressure if consumed on a regular basis. Calcium, potassium, and magnesium. Blueberries provide these minerals.

I start my day off with a bowl of fruit.  I usually have bananas, dates, and blueberries in the mix. I am also diabetic and believe it or not fruit does not raise my blood sugar to out of control levels. This is only because I am on a plant-based diet with very little plant-based fats. My blood pressure is now in the normal range and was high before I changed the way I eat.

 

Are Blueberries Good for Digestion and Weight Loss?

Losing weight is actually quite simple.  I tried every fad diet available for years and bought too many so-called-weight-loss-pills. Hard to follow diets worked for a moment.  I actually had success with food combining (Fit-for-Life) when I was young. But when I tried it later on in life, when I was becoming OBESE, it didn’t seem to have its magic anymore.  My metabolism was different at 26 years of age. In my late thirties, it just didn’t work.

The Paleo diet worked some, but I plateaued. My bloodwork also was horrendous.  This way of eating is the express lane to a heart attack.  It also made my diabetes worse.  At first, it lowered my sugars… that is why I started the diet in the first place.  To be honest, I had to add more meat to my diet, because their recommendations left me ravenous.  I was always hungry.

After receiving my bloodwork about 19 months ago, I felt hopeless. My health was getting worse. I was scared to say the least. I am not easily defeated by life. I have made many turnarounds from hopeless situations. Fortunately, I came across a website that changed my life… or at least my health.

This leads me to where I am today. I am not worried about Covid.  My immune system is strong.  I put this blog together to share my journey and my dedication towards research so I may offer hope to others.

My diet changed that day in the doctor’s office, and I have not looked back. The secret to a better you (health and physical appearance) is through the plant kingdom. Most people don’t care to listen to this, but some will. If your health is failing and you are overweight, a whole-food plant-based diet will change your life.

Weight loss is so easy this way.  Just go to youtube and look up plant-based eating. You will find a plethora of testimonials to back this up.  There are also many smart and wise doctors getting on board.

Your digestion will improve drastically when you eat plants loaded with fiber. It is always best to eat the whole food to get your nutrients. Blueberries are loaded with fiber to help in your digestion. They support healthy gut function, digestion, and better bowel movements. Nutrients that are present in blueberries will help keep the natural bacteria in your stomach thriving and healthy.

Blueberries are full of water and will help you stay full.  You won’t notice this right away because you may be used to eating heavier.  It seems when I start with some raw nutrient-rich foods, it takes less starchy foods to fill me up. When I just eat starchy foods alone, I tend to overeat.

Is Eating Blueberries the SMART Thing to do?

Blueberries are wonderful for brain function and improving memory. Antioxidants do you a solid again and help reduce harmful oxidation on your brain. As we all know, when we age, brain function and memory begin to decline. Flooding your body with antioxidant potent foods is the SMART thing to do.

Blueberries may help you keep your brain operating at youthful levels and may even improve your memory function. Blueberries’ anti-inflammatory properties allow for better blood flow to your brain.

Mental-health population-based studies have been able to demonstrate that blueberries have been effective in slowing cognitive decline in older women (look in resources below). Another study shows blueberries as helping to prevent neurodegenerative diseases. Blueberries are definitely certifiable brain food!

Should Diabetics Eat Blueberries?

ABSOLUTELY!  I briefly explained earlier in this post my experience in fruit consumption as a diabetic. If you keep fat out of your bloodstream, you can gobble all the carbohydrates you want.  This includes fruit. You really can on a plant-based diet.

However, if you choose to eat the Great American diet (or any Western-style diet), blueberries are on the ok-to-eat list for diabetics… in small amounts.  They contain less sugar than other fruits… as most berries.  But, if you eat my way, you can gorge on fruit.

If you add sugar to your diet, make sure it is encased in fruit.  Since fruit is packed with fiber, your body will absorb natural sugars inside fruit without horrendous spiking. There is something magical when you consume whole foods in raw form the way nature intended.

Chemicals (anthocyanins) found in blueberries may help you with insulin sensitivity and your glucose metabolism. The key to treating diabetes lies in treating insulin sensitivity.  If you don’t, carbs will raise your blood sugar.

 

Are Wild Blueberries Better than Cultivated?

Wild Blueberries are smaller. They have double the antioxidant capacity of cultivated blueberries.  Wild blueberries vary in color.  They have different shades of blue to an almost black in color. They can also vary in taste… from extremely sweet to a more tart flavor.

Grown in harsh environments (Maine and Canada), wild blueberries have adapted to their condition by developing more anthocyanins (antioxidant). This is why wild blueberries are better in taste and nutrition.

Cultivated blueberries are more homogeneous in size, taste and color. Cultivate berries may be genetically engineered (GMO). Cultivated blueberries are easier to harvest since you can plan how they are planted and grown. You can get machinery to harvest the crop. Wild blueberries depend on hand harvesting. So if you are trying to make a profit, cultivating blueberries would probably be your best choice.

Picking fresh blueberries

Are blueberries stil healthy when cooked?

Once you go over 350 degrees Fahrenheit, you will start losing the potency of the antioxidants. Microwaves and overboiling cause the most loss of nutritional value… don’t get me started on how I feel about microwaves!

Cooked berries also leach out vitamin C. However, the levels of niacin, thiamine, pantothenic acid, vitamin B6, Vitamin A, and carotene are similar to their natural form. Cooking seems to increase the amounts of riboflavin and vitamin E. Calcium, potassium, and phosphorus become more absorbable when heated. Cooking also DOUBLES the amount of calcium, zinc and magnesium are essentially the same cooked as raw.

 

What is the Difference Between Blueberry and Bilberry?

Bilberry is a European relative to the American blueberry. Bilberries actually have more anthocyanins.  This is the source of the antioxidant power of blueberries, The taste of wild blueberries and bilberries are similar, however; cultivated blueberries have a different taste. Bilberries are easy to find in Europe… not so much in North America.

 

Final Thoughts

What do you like about blueberries? Blueberry pancakes are my favorite as well as blueberry pie. Yummy! I eat blueberries a lot in my morning fruit bowl They can be a little mushy at times.  Depends. They are not overly sweet and are better (in my opinion) mixed with other fruits.

It is good to know that you can still reap nutritional benefits from cooked blueberries. I have to be careful of the added sugars in baked goods, but I am sure I kind find a healthier way to bake blueberries. There is a ton of info online on various ways to eat blueberries.  Have fun. Thanks for reading.

Many blessings, Brian.

 

 

Resources

Fighting cancer

Treating hypertension

Blueberries and brain function

Prevention of neurodegenerative disease

If you have diabetes… please check this out!

 

I am not an affiliate with anything on this post

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10 thoughts on “Is Blueberry a Fruit that offers Immune System Support?”

  1. Thank you for you article, Brian. Blueberries are amazing and I eat them 3-4 times per week. They have so many health benefits and you have managed to cover them all. They are excellent to stop ageing process, with weight loss and also to fight cancer.
    The problem is that in UK they are very expensive and we cannot just have a good amount of them. Worth every penny though.
    Kind regards, Yoana

    Reply
    • Do you have bilberries there? They are supposed to be similar. Blueberries have gotten cheaper here in the U.S. in recent years. I enjoy blackberries as well. I usually pick them in July, but I need a new place because they chopped all of the wild blackberries at Taylorsville Lake State Park. Thanks for sharing Yoana.

      Reply
  2. If I had to pick one fruit that I can eat for the rest of my life, it would definitely be blueberries. I know that they’re packed with vitamins and antioxidants, but the main reason I have them is because of the anti-inflammatory properties.

    I usually have a handful before training, and I’m sure that is one reason why my muscles never feel sore when I push myself.

    I loved your post, Brian.

    Keep it up!

    Reply
  3. Thanks, Brian, now I and my family are having breakfast for dinner over here at my house. I love blueberries and I love blueberry pancakes!
    My neighbor would go blueberry picking once a year here in Michigan. I would get fresh blueberries from them. The only bad part is they moved last summer and I did not get my yearly fix.

    Reply
    • Bummer. I missed blackberry season here (Kentucky). I wish blueberries grew around here (in the wild). Berries are very good for immune system health. We all need that these days. Thanks for sharing.

      Reply
  4. Hey Brian,

    Thanks for your wonderful and very interesting post on blueberries. I had no idea of most of what you wrote about.

    Have bookmarked this to share with some friends I think can really benefit.

    Cheers again. Awesome stuff 🙂

    Reply
  5. Blueberries were always my favourite fruit to eat probably because I grew up with them all around me. My grandmother used to take us all out to pick blueberries in the wild so she could cook all the deserts that you could never get enough of. Even today at age 55 I still love to eat blueberries and often when salmon fishing I would just put the pole down and snack on a bush of blueberries. Of course, I eat other fruits however nothing stands out as strong as the blueberry. I was always taught to eat only natural foods and nothing man-made if possible which I also still stick to, I figured my grandmother knew best and it turns out she was right. Great article I love it. mmmm I am hungry now.

    Reply
    • I wasn’t taught to eat natural foods, but I have certainly gone that route. I am inspired to spread the word. So many people microwave their meals and have no idea the damage they cause to their bodies. Cell death takes awhile, but it does happen. I believe in a whole-food diet for optimum health. Blueberries are welcome.

      Reply

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