Blueberries may be small, but they do pack a punch. In fact, the American Diabetes Association calls them a superfood. They are sweet and highly nutritious, and we can eat them fresh or as part of many recipes.
One of the reasons why they are so healthy is their anthocyanin content. It is a type of flavonoid that treats and prevents metabolic syndrome, thus reducing the risk of many chronic conditions.
Before explaining the effects of blueberries on metabolic syndrome, here’s what metabolic syndrome is.
What Is Metabolic Syndrome?
It is a group of health conditions rather than a single disease. These conditions increase the risk of diabetes, stroke, and heart disease, and they include high blood sugar, high blood pressure, abnormal cholesterol, excess fat around the waist, and high triglyceride levels.
We don’t have metabolic syndrome if we have one of these conditions, but each of them does raise the risk of serious diseases.
Unfortunately, the number of people with metabolic syndrome increases every day.
Hot to Reduce Risk Factors for Metabolic Syndrome
Changes in diet and regular physical activity can help reduce these biomarkers.
For example, we should eliminate hydrogenated fats and refined foods from our diet, and include more monounsaturated fats, lean proteins, and superfoods like blueberries.
Researchers discovered that wild blueberries could help improve and prevent pathologies associated with metabolic syndromes, such as cardiovascular illnesses and diabetes.
They provide these benefits thanks to the plant chemicals they contain – anthocyanins.
The Blueberry Research
Researchers gave two cups of wild blueberries a day to obese mice with metabolic syndrome, which resembled human metabolic syndrome, for 8 weeks.
The balance between relaxing and constricting elements in their blood vessel walls was significantly improved, thus enhancing their blood circulation and blood pressure.
Dr.Klimis-Zaca, one of the study’s authors, stated that wild blueberries improve the abnormal lipid profile, reduce chronic inflammation, and enhance gene expression related to metabolic syndrome.
Consuming wild blueberries regularly helps normalize blood vessel function and inflammatory and oxidative responses. This, in turn, improves metabolic syndrome-related pathologies.
This finding only confirms what was previously known – that consuming 1-2 cups of blueberries a couple of times a week can reduce the risk of blood sugar and vascular problems.
We can also supplement with 400 mg of standardized anthocyanin extract to lower the risk of these health problems.
The study was published in the NCBIjournal.
Blueberry Smoothie – Recipe
Here’s one delicious way to include blueberries in our diet – a blueberry/almond smoothie. We can also make blueberry tea.
- Fresh blueberries – 1 1/2 cups
- Slivered almonds – 1/4 cup
- Plain fat-free Greek yogurt – 1/2 cup
- Unsweetened almond milk or skim milk – 2 tablespoons
- Wheat germ – 2 tablespoons
- Honey – 2 teaspoons
- Ice cubes – 1 cup
Mix all ingredients in a blender until getting the desired consistency. Enjoy this healthy, delicious smoothie!
- 97 mg calcium
- 4 g protein
- 31 g carb
- 8 g total fat
- 34 mg sodium
- 0 g sat fat
- 0 mg cholesterol
- 225 calories
Other Facts About Blueberries
Blueberries are rich in vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients, including fiber, vitamin C, K, B6, calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, folate, copper, manganese, etc.
Also, they contain different phenolic compounds which are responsible for blueberries’ incredible antioxidant power. Some of them are quercetin, myricetin, kaempferol, and chlorogenic acid.
Besides improving the metabolic syndrome, they also improve digestion, help us feel full for longer, improve mental health, improve skin health, and maintain healthy bones.
We don’t think we need another reason to add more blueberries to our diet. Enjoy their sweet, refreshing taste while getting their incredible benefits at the same time.