Blueberries add color and flavor to dishes from fruit salad to oatmeal, but they also deliver numerous health benefits. To partake of these benefits without eating numerous helpings of berries, you can drink blueberry juice, which is concentrated and more quickly absorbed by the body. When selecting blueberry juice, look for one that is all natural with no added sugars and few preservatives. You may even want to try making your own. If you are diabetic or have special dietary needs, speak to your physician before adding blueberry juice to your daily diet.
Lowers Blood Pressure
High blood pressure can lead to stroke, heart disease, vision problems, kidney trouble and even death, according to the American Heart Association. Drinking blueberry juice will help lower your blood pressure and risk factors associated with hypertension. When researchers at Oklahoma State University tested the effects of blueberry supplementation on obese adults, they found that blood pressure levels were reduced by 4 to 6 percent. Published in the September 2010 issue of "The Journal of Nutrition," the study reports that both diastolic and systolic pressures were lowered, and that these results could be achieved by adding blueberries to the diet.
Blueberries get their color from compounds in their skin called anthocyanins, but their benefits go beyond the shade of the berries. The June 9, 2012, issue of the "European Journal of Nutrition" reports that blueberry anthocyanins also lower cholesterol levels. Researchers at the University of China state that after supplementing the diet of hamsters for six weeks with blueberry anthocyanins, total cholesterol levels were up to 12 percent lower than at the beginning of the study.
Improves Cognitive Function
An unfortunate, but common, side effect of aging is cognitive decline. The brain begins to lose its ability to function as highly as it once did, often resulting in memory loss and impairment of judgement and language. Knowing that blueberry anthocyanins can cross the blood/brain barrier, researchers at the University of Cincinnati tested the effects of blueberry juice supplementation on adults who had begun experiencing memory decline. The results of the study, published in the April 14, 2010, issue of "Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry," show that after 12 weeks of consuming blueberry juice subjects showed improved learning ability and memory recall. Researchers conclude that not only did blueberry juice exhibit brain protection ability, it also lowered blood sugar levels and improved symptoms of depression.
Blueberries may protect your eyes, according to a study in the July 23, 2012, issue of the "Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry." Retinopathy is a condition in which damage is done to the tissues in the retina. Researchers in Canada found that rats who had their diet supplemented with blueberry juice resisted retinal damage brought on by bright light, as opposed to those who did not have the juice. The positive effect on the eyes was noticed after only two weeks of supplementation.
- American Heart Association: Why Blood Pressure Matters
- European Journal of Nutrition: Blueberry Anthocyanins at Doses of 0.5 and 1 % Lowered Plasma Cholesterol
- Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry: Blueberry Supplementation Improves Memory in Older Adults
- Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry: Prophylactic Neuroprotection by Blueberry-Enriched Diet in a Rat Model of Light-Induced Retinopathy
A certified nutritionist who majored in health, fitness and nutrition, Traci Vandermark has been writing articles in her specialty fields since 1998. Her articles have appeared both online and in print for publications such as Simple Abundance, "Catskill Country Magazine," "Birds and Blooms," "Cappers" and "Country Discoveries."