Berries, including blueberries, are the healthiest fruits—in part due to their plant pigments. They evolved to have bright, contrasting colors to attract fruit-eating critters to help disperse their seeds. Colorful foods are often healthier because they contain antioxidant pigments, whether it’s the beta-carotene that makes carrots and sweet potatoes orange, the lycopene antioxidant pigment that makes tomatoes red, or the anthocyanin pigments that make blueberries blue. The colors are the antioxidants.
Second only to herbs and spices as the most antioxidant-packed food category, berries, as a group, average nearly 10 times more antioxidants than other fruits and vegetables (and exceed 50 times more than animal-based foods). In my Daily Dozen, I recommend a daily serving of berries, in addition to three servings a day of other fruits.
Berries offer potential protection against cancer, a boost to the immune system, and a guard for the liver and brain. An American Cancer Society study of nearly one hundred thousand people found that those who ate the most berries appeared significantly less likely to die of cardiovascular disease.
Some of their antioxidant properties may traverse the blood-brain barrier, potentially providing neuroprotective effects by defending against free radicals—that is, protecting against the “rusting” of the brain. Indeed, blueberries appear to improve memory abilities in older adults exhibiting early cognitive deterioration and may protect against Parkinson’s. Blueberries have also been shown to reduce the oxidative stress in athletes caused by long-distance running and doubling the counts of their natural killer cells, white blood cells that are vital members of the immune system’s rapid-response team against virus-infected and cancerous cells.
The information on this page has been compiled from Dr. Greger’s research. Sources for each video listed can be found by going to the video’s page and clicking on the Sources Cited tab. References may also be found at the back of his books.
Image Credit: Pxhere. This image has been modified.
Popular Videos for Blueberries
All Videos for Blueberries
Berries for Inflammation & Osteoarthritis Treatment
Double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trials on berries and the first clinical study on the effects of berries on arthritis.
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Blueberries are put to the test against insulin resistance, oxidation, and DNA damage.
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Randomized controlled studies put nuts, berries, and grape juice to the test for cognitive function.
Benefits of Blueberries for Mood & Mobility
Randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trials of… blueberries!
Benefits of Blueberries for the Brain
Blueberries can significantly improve cognitive performance within hours of consumption.
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What are the effects of açai berries, cooked and raw blueberries, grapes, cocoa, green tea, and freshly squeezed orange juice on artery function?
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Why is the field of nutrition often more about marketing products than educating people about the fundamentals of healthy eating?
Berries vs. Pesticides in Parkinson’s Disease
Berries counteract the neurotoxic effects of pesticides in vitro, potentially explaining why berry consumption is associated with lower risk of developing Parkinson’s disease.
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Sprinkling vinegar on greens may augment their ability to improve endothelial function.