British blueberries 'mini nutritional powerhouses'

22 August 2019

British blueberries

The British blueberry season is now in full swing, with shoppers spending just over £400m on blueberries in the UK. More than 41,000 tonnes of blueberries were sold between June 2018 and June 2019. But what are the benefits of eating British blueberries, and can they help us to age well? 

A new collection of articles published in The Journal of Gerontology (the study of the aging process) have revealed how blueberries can help us to age well as they rank as one of the best fruits for their antioxidant activity.

The studies show that consuming blueberries has been linked to reducing oxidative stress, a process strongly linked to ageing-related diseases.

As we get older, the risk of certain age-related diseases rises. These include Alzheimer’s disease, arthritis, cancer, cardiovascular disease, cataracts, hypertension and type 2 diabetes. Globally, we're an ageing population. In 2015 there were 901 million people aged 60 years and over globally, and by 2050 this is predicted to surge to 2.1 billion or one-fifth (21.3%) of the global population.

Did you know?

  • Blueberries have been found to have ‘anti-inflammatory’ mechanisms with can help promote healthy ageing.
  • Emerging clinical trials suggest that blueberry-supplemented diets could improve flow-mediated dilation (arterial blood flow) which appears to be attributed to blueberry anthocyanins which give them their distinct colour
  • Other research suggests that blueberries could benefits memory in older populations, possibly due to their polyphenol profile. Ongoing research in this area is needed.

British blueberries

Dr Emma Derbyshire, Public Health Nutritionist and adviser to British Summer Fruits, said: “This is a very interesting collection of work. We know that blueberries are mini nutritional powerhouses providing vitamin C, calcium, potassium, magnesium, folate and manganese, as well as anthocyanins and a diverse range of polyphenolic compounds such as quercetin, so it makes good sense to eat them regularly as we age.

“Since the 1990s, research relating to blueberries and their health benefits has grown exponentially.”

British blueberries

Did you know?

  • Blueberries are full to the brim with antioxidants, nutrients and vitamins.
  • Blueberries are often labelled as a superfood, and eating them is one of the easiest ways to add nutrients to your diet and give your immune system a boost.
  • They are one of the most nutrient dense berries with fibre, Vitamin C, Vitamin K and Manganese. They also have one of the highest levels of antioxidants, specifically anthocyanins.
  • When blueberries have been frozen they still contain all of their antioxidant properties.
  • Blueberries increase the brain’s production of feel-good dopamine, a natural neurotransmitter that makes you feel happy.
  • In recent years there is has been a growing body of science that berries could help to offset cardiovascular diseases and help to preserve heart health. Also studies have shown that eating blueberries can help to improve mood and aspects of cognition.

Do you love British berries? Get more berry facts at Love Fresh Berries

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