Consumers are left confused when it comes to adding fruits in their diet especially blueberries.
We catch up with Dr Monica Flora MD MACM (certified in family medicine) with answers on blueberry benefits.
1. Is blueberry intake a result of media hype or have we really understood to fruit benefits and watched its results?
Answer: Blueberries contain a flavonoid called anthocyanin which are responsible for its many benefits. Flavonoids contain antioxidant effects. Blueberries also contain many vitamins and minerals in addition to antioxidants. They are known to have calcium, iron, sodium, magnesium, zine, folate, copper, and vitamins A, C, E, and K. Blueberries are known to have the highest antioxidant value of all the fruits and vegetables.
A study by Dr. Rimm was done that showed females who consumed berries were 34% less likely to suffer a heart attack.
2. How much blueberry one needs to consume to see health benefits? Have they to be consumed daily?
Answer: Ideally, you should consume about 1 cup of blueberries per day to get the antioxidant benefits. This is exclusive of other sources of antioxidants.
3. Alternates to blueberry in case of unavailability?
Answer: Berries that are a good alternative to blueberries are raspberries, goji berries, strawberries, acai, biliberries, grapes, and cranberries. Other sources are spinach, pomegranates, almonds, salmon, plain yogurt, and green tea.
4. Do the health benefits last if they are consumed or are, they long-lasting?
Answer: I don’t know the answer to that question.
5. Did the benefits become instant or after how long especially in case of psoriasis?
Answer: There are little studies of eating blueberries and psoriasis but there is some evidence showing that diet can help. Examples include increasing the consumption of antioxidants and decreasing gluten intake. The results vary from person to person, but there have been many patients who see effects from changing their diet and their skin conditions.
6. Can you elaborate on blueberry assistance in weight loss?
Answer: Some studies state that blueberries may work on genes that regulate how fat is burned and stored. This can help lower cholesterol levels as well as abdominal fat. When incorporated with a healthy overall lifestyle, one may see possible changes in their weight.
7. Combination of foods it can be consumed with to get best results? First thing in the morning or before bedtime?
Answer: Fruit is healthy no matter what time it is or when it is consumed.
8. In which health issues do your advice blueberry intake? Raw, cooked, jam or smoothie?
Answer: I believe everyone should incorporate fruit in general to their diet. Blueberries as with all antioxidants should be eaten in moderation. Too many antioxidants can also cause an opposite effect and act as pro-oxidants. The best way to eat blueberries is raw. When they are frozen or cooked, they lose some of their properties.
9. How does blueberry help in blood pressure regulation?
Answer: Blueberries were found to help lower blood pressure and lead to improvement of your blood vessel function. These were seen usually two hours after their consumption and lasted for a month. Anthocyanins lead to improvement of the function of the endothelial cells of the blood vessel wall.
10. In what cases one should avoid blueberry intake?
Answers: Allergies to the fruit
11. How do you go about convincing clients to add blueberry to their diet?
Answer: I am a huge proponent of eating healthy. Blueberrries can be added to oatmeal or a parfait for breakfast, tossed in a salad for lunch and as a dessert after dinner. There are so many ways to use fresh berries. Another way I remind patients to add berries to their diet is to always pick up a container of berries when they are in the produce aisle.
12. Your input on Blueberry month?
Answer: I think Blueberry month is a great way to celebrate the food that carries the most antioxidants. We shouldn’t forget the others though! I feel like adding them to a well-balanced diet and healthy lifestyle is a great way to improve our overall health.
Provided by Monica Flora MD MACM
Adventist Health Simi Valley
Dr. Flora is board certified in family medicine with special interest in obesity medicine.