Blueberries have gained a lot of attention as a super food and rightly so. One study has shown that blueberries came top of the list for their antioxidant activity, when compared to forty other fruits and vegetables. Other berries such as strawberries, raspberries and blackberries also score great, but blueberries take the lead. The classification chart for the antioxidant capacity of foods is called ORAC – Oxygen Radical Absorption Capacity. The higher the score the greater the foods’ ability in fighting free radicals, which are harmful molecules that speed up aging and increase our risk of disease.
ORAC Score – Per 100g:
Dark Chocolate – 13120
Blueberry – 2400
Blackberry – 2036
Strawberry – 1540
Spinach – 1260
Broccoli – 890
Red Grapes – 739
Anthocyanins are the most abundant of blueberry nutrition antioxidants and a major player in its high ORAC score. Anthocyanins have been shown to be effective at protecting blood vessels from free radical damage, reducing the risks of developing atherosclerosis and therefore heart disease. They also have anti-inflammatory properties and like other antioxidants they reduce the risk of developing cancers. Anthocyanins are also responsible for giving blueberries their dark blue coloring.
Proanthocyanidins are another blueberry antioxidant. They are not present in the quantities that anthocyanins are, but are still an important constituent in the health benefits of blueberries. Proanthocyanidins antioxidant activities promote the stability of collagen and help maintain its elasticity. Collagen is a connective tissue that plays a vital part in maintaining healthy artery walls and reducing our risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Collagen is also important for supporting our joints, muscles and organs. Research indicates that proanthocyanidins may also be beneficial for lowering blood pressure and reducing high cholesterol levels.
Blueberry nutrition includes good levels of vitamin C, 1 cup providing 14.1mg. Vitamin C is also a powerful antioxidant that helps reduce the risk of heart disease and cancers. It is a vital part of the immune system and protects us from viruses like cold and flu. Vitamin C, like proanthocyanidin, is important for maintaining healthy collagen. Where as proanthocyanidins and vitamin C both protect collagen from free radicals, vitamin C is also a necessary constituent in the molecular makeup of collagen. If our intake of vitamin C is too low, then cholesterol is used in place of vitamin C to create collagen, which results in a hardening of the arteries.
Blueberry Nutrition Vitamin Profile
As well as containing a good level of vitamin C, blueberry vitamins also include good amounts of vitamins A, E, B1, B2, B3, B6, folate, pantothenic acid and vitamin K.
Blueberry Nutrition Mineral profile
Blueberry is a good source of the minerals potassium, phosphorous, calcium, magnesium, manganese, selenium and zinc.
Darren and Veronica Haynes