Blueberry; Types, Nutritional Value, Recipes, Health Benefits

Blueberry; Types, Nutritional Value, Recipes, Health Benefits

Blueberry are perennial flowering plants with blue or purple colored berries. They are classified in the section Cyanococcus within the genus vaccinium. Vaccinium also includes cranberries, bilberries, and huckleberries. Commercial “blueberries” including both wild (‘lowbush’) and cultivated (‘highbush’) blueberries – are native to North America. [1]Blueberries are packed with antioxidants and phytonutrients which have powerful health benefits. These include the ability to reduce DNA damage, prevent aging, control cholesterol levels, and treat cancer. They also help strengthen bones, reduce acne, lower blood pressure, control diabetes, and improve heart health. Considered a superfood, they can also help improve brain health, promote weight loss, and soothe inflammation.[2]

Nutritional Value of Blueberry

Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
Energy 240 kJ (57 kcal)
14.49 g
Sugars 9.96 g
Dietary fiber 2.4 g
0.33 g
0.74 g
Vitamins Quantity%DV
Vitamin A equiv.

lutein zeaxanthin

32 μg

80 μg
Vitamin A 54 IU
Thiamine (B1)

0.037 mg

Riboflavin (B2)

0.041 mg

Niacin (B3)

0.418 mg

Pantothenic acid (B5)

0.124 mg

Vitamin B6

0.052 mg

Folate (B9)

6 μg

Vitamin C

9.7 mg

Vitamin E

0.57 mg

Vitamin K

19.3 μg

Minerals Quantity%DV

6 mg


0.28 mg


6 mg


0.336 mg


12 mg


77 mg


1 mg


0.165 mg

Other constituents Quantity
Water 84 g
Percentages are roughly approximated using US recommendations for adults.  Source: USDA Nutrient Database

Health Benefits of Blueberry

  • Anti-Diabetic Effect of Blueberries – Increasing insulin sensitivity (i.e., improving insulin resistance and glucose tolerance) is important in preventing or improving T2DM. A number of animal studies have demonstrated the anti-diabetic effects of blueberry anthocyanins. Obese rodents that were diet-induced and genetically manipulated consumed a 45%–60% high fat-diet (HFD) with blueberries for 3–12 weeks and their insulin resistance (i.e., assessed using the homeostatic model assessment-estimated insulin resistance  [6,7] and glucose tolerance (assessed using the glucose tolerance test) [4,5] were improved. Similar results were observed when an intraperitoneal insulin tolerance test (ITT) was used to measure insulin sensitivity. DeFuria found that C57BL/6 mice that consumed a 60% HFD + 4% blueberries for 8 weeks had a lower plasma glucose area under the curve (AUC) (i.e., increased insulin sensitivity) during an ITT compared with the mice fed the HFD alone. The mice on the HFD + blueberries had similar results to the 10% low-fat diet fed mice.
  • Anti-Diabetic Effect of Blueberries – The improved insulin sensitivity after blueberry supplementation that is exhibited in studies could possibly be due to the observed body weight and adiposity reduction in rodents. It is known that obesity is a major contributor to insulin resistance and changes in adiposity can greatly alter insulin sensitivity [8]. As seen in obesity, accumulation of lipids in tissues is a key step in the initiation and progression of insulin resistance to T2DM [9]. Increasing insulin sensitivity is important in preventing the development of T2DM. When blueberries are added to the diet, some studies have reported that obese rodents display a decrease in body weight gain and/or lipid accumulation in tissues with increased insulin sensitivity [10,12]. Contrarily, Prior et al. [13] observed increases in body weight gain and adiposity with blueberry consumption and this could possibly explain why blueberries did not influence insulin sensitivity in the obese mice. However, protection against obesity was observed when the obese mice were fed purified anthocyanins from blueberries [14,15].
  • Strengthen Bones – Blueberries are rich in calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorous, manganese, zinc, and vitamin K, which help improve bone health. They also increase bone density and elasticity and contribute to maintaining the bone structure.
  • Skin Care – Anthocyanin in blueberries is responsible for preventing oxidative DNA damage, while the abundance of vitamin C is a big factor in building collagen. [16] [17] This is why they prevent wrinkles, age spots, and acne. [18] Additionally, they also prevent skin damage caused by dust, pollution, smoke, and UV rays.
  • Lower Bad Cholesterol – The high fiber content and abundant antioxidants in blueberries help dissolve the LDL (bad) cholesterol. This makes them an ideal dietary supplement to cure many heart diseases, while also strengthening the cardiac muscles. [19] They also contain potassium, calcium, and magnesium, which help in reducing blood pressure. A study conducted by Dr. [20] Arturo Figueroa, Kinesiology and Sports Management, Texas Tech University, US, shows that daily consumption of blueberries helps improve blood pressure and arterial stiffness in postmenopausal women.
  • Treat Diabetes – Blueberries juice and extract improve insulin sensitivity. Blueberry is a high fiber food that is an essential part of the diabetic diet and helps lower the blood sugar levels. A research by Dr. [21] JoAnn Manson, a professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School, proves that consumption of berries is associated with lower risk of type 2 diabetes.
  • Protect Heart Health – Blueberries help in preventing atherosclerosis, heart attacks, and strokes. This is due to the presence of fiber, anthocyanin, potassium, folate, vitamin B6, and vitamin C in them. [22] Fiber and anthocyanin reduce cholesterol, improve blood fat, and prevent clogging of arteries. Vitamin B6 and folate prevent blood vessel damage by inhibiting homocysteine build up and potassium regulates the working of heart muscles.
  • Prevent Cancer – Blueberries can prove to be extremely valuable for cancer patients, as per a study published in the Cancer Research journal. [23]They contain certain compounds like pterostilbene (an excellent remedy for colon and liver cancer) and ellagic acid. [24] These two in harmony with anthocyanin and other antioxidants like vitamin C and copper can do miracles to both help prevent and cure cancer. [25] 
  • Improve Brain Function – The vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients in blueberries can heal nervous disorders by preventing the degeneration and death of neurons. [26] These essential nutrients also protect brain cells and help restore the health of the central nervous system. The berries can lower your risk of suffering from disorders like Alzheimer’s disease to a great extent, according to a study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. [27]They can even heal damaged brain cells and neuron tissues to keep your memory sharp.
  • Weight Loss – The high fiber content present in them promotes digestion and weight loss. They also promote satiety, help you feel full, and reduce belly fat. [28] One cup of blueberries contains only 15 g of carbohydrates and 84 calories. [29] Thus, frozen or dried blueberries are great low-calorie snacks.
  • Rich in Antioxidants – The antioxidants along with other phytonutrients and flavonoids present in blueberries are responsible for the free radical scavenging activity in the body. [30] [31] The group of flavonoids, in particular, anthocyanin, prevents the body from all types of damage due to free radicals.  A number of studies published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry establish that high amounts of antioxidants are beneficial to the body in a number of ways. [32] [33] This includes cellular structure damage, DNA damage, early aging, and various types of cancer.
  • Soothe Inflammation – The antioxidants in blueberries have anti-inflammatory properties. [34] They reduce the activity of markers of inflammation. [35] Thus, they help prevent chronic inflammatory diseases including arthritis, atherosclerosis, Alzheimer’s, and even cancer. [36]
  • Antidepressant – Flavonoid-rich wild blueberries help enhance mood and act as an effective antidepressant.
  • Promote Digestion – The roughage (fiber) present in blueberries prevent constipation. [37] Also, the vitamins, sodium, copper, fructose, and acids improve digestion by stimulating secretion of correct gastric and digestive juices. This helps the food move smoothly through the gastrointestinal system.
  • Treat Urinary Tract Infection – Blueberries can kill bacterial colonies like E. coli which are responsible for the urinary tract infection. They have a compound formed of large, polymer-like molecules, which inhibit the growth of such bacteria. They also have certain antibiotic properties which add to this effect. So far, this compound has only been found in cranberries and blueberries.
  • Eye Care – Blueberries can prevent or delay all age-related ocular problems due to their antioxidant properties. These include macular degeneration, cataracts, myopia and hypermetropia, dryness, as well as infections pertaining to the retina. They contain special antioxidants called carotenoids (lutein, zeaxanthin etc.), flavonoids (like rutin, resveratrol, quercetin etc.), and other antioxidant compounds, which are all very beneficial for ocular health.[38]
  • Boost Immunity – Antioxidants in blueberries can boost your immune system and prevent infections. Once your immune system is strong, you won’t catch colds, fever, pox, and countless other communicable diseases spread by bacteria and viruses.
  • Reduce Muscle Damage – Blueberries help reduce the muscle soreness and fatigue that occurs after a strenuous exercise or activity. [39] They also help in muscle regeneration. This is confirmed by a study published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition. [40]
  • Hair Care – They help promote hair growth. Mix blueberries and olive oil, apply the blend to hair and roots and rinse with warm water to enhance hair growth.
  • Alleviate IBS – Blueberry husks consumed along with probiotics show potent anti-inflammatory properties which can treat inflammatory bowel syndrome (IBS) and Crohn’s disease. [41] [42] [43] They can alleviate symptoms such as bleeding and pain caused by ulcerative colitis. [44] [45]
  • Promote Detoxification – Anthocyanin in blueberries helps detoxify heavy metals from the body including lead, mercury, cadmium, and arsenic. [46] [47]





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