What are blueberry antioxidants? Why are antioxidants good for my health? Where can I find good quality blueberries? These are questions many people ask on a daily basis worldwide. In this post, we will explain in a simple way what blueberry antioxidants are and why you should include them in your diet.
What are antioxidants?
The term “antioxidants” is used for a variety of natural or human-made substances that fight free radicals in our bodies. Free radicals are generated continuously in our body during food processing and energy production or when exposed to certain environmental factors such as smoking, air pollution, and sunlight.
Why are antioxidants important?
High amounts of free radicals cause a condition called “oxidative stress” in our body that damages our cells. As a result, oxidative stress plays a critical role in developing and progressing with many diseases. For example, such diseases include cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, and Parkinson’s disease. Therefore, our body needs a constant defending mechanism to fight free radicals and oxidative stress. The key player in this mechanism is the antioxidants. Overall, there are thousands of substances with antioxidant activity most commonly found in fruits and vegetables. For example, these are vitamins C and E, selenium, manganese, beta-carotene, flavonoids, coenzyme Q10, and anthocyanins.
How can you get them in your diet?
Antioxidants can be natural or human-made. The best way to get them is by consuming fruits and vegetables that are rich in antioxidants. Research studies have evaluated their health benefits when given in the form of pills without any conclusive findings regarding disease regression or prevention. On the other hand, several studies found that regular consumption of whole foods high in different antioxidants provides some health benefits, including protection against aging, cardiovascular risk, and vision loss. For example, fruits and vegetables that are high in antioxidants are wild blueberries, cranberries, raspberries, blackberries, goji berries, matcha green tea, walnuts, pecans, beans, broccoli, cilantro, red cabbage, and dark chocolate.
What are blueberry antioxidants?
Blueberry antioxidants mainly comprise two sub-groups of antioxidants: polyphenols and flavonoids. Although blueberries are known for their high amounts of anthocyanins, there are many more antioxidants in this super berry. Anthocyanins are part of the flavonoids group, and they are responsible for the dark blue color of blueberries. Additionally, other flavonoids in blueberries are quercetin, catechin, cyanidin, and maldivin. Also, polyphenols include gallic acid, vanillic acid, caffeic acid, ellagic acid, and cinnamic acid. Consumption of the berries can provide a good source of antioxidants and nutrients.
Wild vs cultivated blueberries
This is a question we get a lot! Do wild blueberries contain a higher amount of antioxidants than cultivated ones? Research shows that wild blueberries contain about four times higher amounts of anthocyanins. Therefore, we recommend that you try to get your anthocyanins from wild blueberries. In one of our blog posts, we discuss the difference in blueberry antioxidants between wild and conventional berries.
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