Scientists around the world are investigating the disease-fighting potential of blueberries – and the quantity of this research is growing by leaps and bounds. Studies of these antioxidant-rich super berries and the bioactive phytonutrients that give them their deep-blue color reveal a wide range of potential health benefits. From brain health, gut and heart health to cancer prevention, improved urinary tract function and a reduction in diabetes risk, blueberry research is changing the way we all look at this tiny, potent berry!
In 1999, James Joseph, Ph.D., and his team at the USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University first reported that a diet of blueberries may improve motor skills and reverse short-term memory loss. The research team continues to demonstrate protective effects against Alzheimer’s disease and memory decline. Recent studies led by Dr. Robert Krikorian at University of Cincinnati, suggest that regular consumption of Wild Blueberries may slow the loss of cognitive function and decrease depression in the elderly. Related research entries »
A good deal of research is focused on the cancer prevention potential of Wild Blueberry compounds. Researchers investigating breast cancer include Lynn Adams, Ph.D. and her team at Beckman Research Institute of City of Hope, Duarte, CA, who have demonstrated the potential of blueberries to inhibit the growth of Triple Negative Breast Cancer (TNBC), a particularly aggressive and hard to treat form of breast cancer. Related research entries »
The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of Wild Blueberries may have heart protective benefits. Recent animal studies conducted by Dr. Xanli Wu and colleagues at the Arkansas Children’s Nutrition Center in Little Rock focused on inflammation and atherosclerosis. Blueberries have also been shown to protect against cardiovascular disease, reduce cholesterol, lower blood pressure, protect against stroke and reduce oxidative stress. Related research entries »
A number of researchers have reported on the anti-diabetic effects of blueberry-supplemented diets. A study led by Dr. April Stull and Dr. William Cefalu of the Pennington Biomedical Research Center at Louisiana State University found that daily consumption of whole blueberries helped people with a risk for Type 2 diabetes reduce that risk. Related research entries »
Described as a combination of disorders that includes high blood pressure, high cholesterol, abdominal obesity and impaired glucose tolerance, metabolic syndrome is a risk factor for diabetes and cardiovascular disease. In a study led by Mary Ann Lila, Ph.D., North Carolina State University, blueberry phytochemicals were shown to help alleviate hyperglycemia, a condition associated with metabolic syndrome. Related research entries »
Deep-blue Wild Blueberries may be “one of the best age-proofing foods in your diet,” according to James A. Joseph, Ph.D., co-author of The Color Code. Dr. Joseph was lead researcher at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging until his death in 2010. He was a firm believer in the “Pigment Power” of colorful fruits and vegetables. Another believer is Martha Stewart, who recently demonstrated the health benefits of “eating by color” on the TODAY Show. Related research entries »