Sometimes foods that are healthy don't always appeal to a large number of people. Blueberries are an exception, however - they are both delicious and nutritious. Blueberries are truly one of the great superfoods for so many reasons. Although they can satisfy a sweet tooth, they are low in sugar and low on the glycemic index, so they will not cause blood sugar levels to spike up. They are full of healthy fiber to improve digestion and aid in weight loss for those who are trying to shed unwanted pounds. And they are incredibly rich in vitamins, minerals and bio-active compounds like anthocyanins which have powerful antioxidant properties. It is this strong combination of nutrients that lead to so many health benefits and, according to new studies, even a longer life span.
Longevity and DNA
While there are many diseases, illnesses and other conditions that can bring about premature death, the underlying cause of these problems involves DNA and its repair. There is DNA in every cell in the body and over the course of a lifetime, many things (such as illness, exposure to environmental toxins, or just the aging process) can damage that genetic material. At first, the cells are able to repair this DNA but as the body ages, they become less efficient at this. This results in DNA that is faulty or damaged, and this in turn can lead to problems like cancer that greatly shorten life expectancy.
However, the strong antioxidant properties of blueberries can help avoid this process and reduce the risk of DNA damage and flaws and thus improve the chances of avoiding many chronic diseases that can shorten life.
What blueberries can do
Because of their high antioxidant content, extracts of blueberries have shown the ability to help repair DNA damage and to reduce the oxidative stress to the cells that can bring about the damage to begin with. This means that, since the DNA damage is avoided from the start, then the chances of developing life-shortening diseases the cancer are likewise reduced.
Blueberries seem so incredibly effective at this that, in a joint study by the United States Department of Agriculture and other research organizations, scientists found that regular consumption of blueberries and their strong antioxidants can increase the lifespan about around 28 percent, or an average of 22 years. This is because blueberry plants evolved to be able to adapt to different environmental stresses like drought, high or low temperatures and other things that can threaten it. When humans consume these berries, they are also able to take advantage of some of the beneficial compounds in berries. And the benefits are truly amazing, including:
- Protect the nervous system, including the brain
- Protect cells throughout the body from DNA damage due to free radical activity
- Decrease the chances of chronic diseases like cancer and heart disease
In short, recent research has shown that regular blueberry consumption - which increases dietary intake of antioxidants - can reduce cellular and DNA damage and prevent the onset of many chronic diseases. The end result of this is a dramatic increase in quality and length of life.