Is there anything this little superfood can’t do?
BY SARAH ILSTON
Porridge with blueberryMARINA JERKOVIC /PICTURE PRESS
Blueberries have long been touted as a superfood, thanks to their high nutritional value and substantial health benefits. Bursting with vitamin C, potassium and fibre, the humble berries can help boost your immune system, but did you know they can also help prevent your mental agility declining as you get older and fight anxiety?
Added to porridge, whipped into a smoothie or baked into a dessert, blueberries are a highly versatile fruit. But according to new research that proves consuming an increased amount of flavonoids (the component that provides their colour) helps prevent mental decline and improves brain health, we should all be ensuring we consume as many of the nutrient-rich fruits as we can.
HOW DO BLUEBERRIES HELP COMBAT ANXIETY?
Thanks to their high content of vitamin C (one cup contains 24% of our recommended daily allowance) and antioxidants, blueberries can help regulate and prevent spikes in cortisol levels, by repairing and protecting cells damaged by the stress hormone; thus helping to calm nervous disorders such as anxiety.
They also combat stress even further, by boosting serotonin levels (the happy hormone) and regulating our brain function, which can help counteract depression and anxiety.
HOW DO BLUEBERRIES HELP SLOW DOWN COGNITIVE DECLINE?
As the research shows, the same processes that cause signs of visible ageing (like wrinkles) also impact things like our brain function, so the antioxidants found in the superfood berries can also play a part in slowing mental decline. In other words, they could help prevent the onset of cognitive diseases associated with old age such as Alzheimers and Dementia, especially in women.
With all this in mind, we’ll be adding the versatile fruit to pretty much every meal from now on… Blueberry stew, anyone?