It’s Blueberry Time: For Good Health and Good Memory

Blueberries Fam Health

The compounds that color blueberries and other fruits and vegetables are called flavonoids, which have been found to have many health benefits. In particular, flavonoids have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

Antioxidants neutralize free radicals, which are unstable molecules that can cause tissue destruction. While our bodies are equipped to handle small quantities of free radicals, environmental agents, such as cigarette smoke, radiation and pollution, are sources of additional free radicals. When the body’s natural defenses are exhausted, the unstable molecules become destructive.

The damage accumulates with age and has been implicated in diseases ranging from Alzheimer’s disease to cancer. Antioxidants help defuse free radicals, transforming them into inert stable compounds, which are harmless.

A study reported in the Annals of Neurology measured changes in cognitive function in over 16,000 participants who were at least 70 years old. After controlling for possible variables, they found that berry intake delayed cognitive aging by up to 2.5 years.

Blueberries are also a valuable source of vitamins. One cup supplies 14 milligrams of vitamin C, almost 25 percent of the daily requirement. Blueberries are also high in fiber, which helps one feel full longer and also promotes balanced cholesterol and heart health.

Fast Stats:

8 million+: Number of Americans who have signed up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act .

35 percent: Percentage of those between the ages of 18-34 who have enrolled under the ACA.

Source: Congressional Budget Office

Katherine Kopp is a freelance write and editor in Chapel Hill.

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