Fruits and vegetables are exceptionally high in antioxidants.
The vibrant colors of fruits and vegetables indicate the phytochemicals they contain.
Blueberries contain many powerful antioxidants. Antioxidants are natural substances that prevent or delay cell damage that can cause disease and illnesses.
When the body’s cells undergo oxidative stress, free radicals are the result. Free radicals result under the pressure of exercise and while converting food to energy. While these are a necessary part of life, free radical production occurs when exposed to cigarette smoke, carcinogens, direct sunlight, and air pollution.
Antioxidants act as a network that reduces the free radicals’ action and the damage they cause. Oxidative stress plays a role in various diseases, including cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, and Parkinson’s disease. It is of particular interest to know that oxidative stress plays a big part in eye diseases such as cataracts and age-related macular degeneration, which people with diabetes are particularly prone to develop.
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Bluberries: An Overview
Blueberries contain a large number of phytochemicals, including the abundant anthocyanin (purple) pigments. Blueberries are the most nutrient-dense of all the berries. They also contain Vitamin C, Manganese, and dietary fiber. In just one serving, you can get almost 16% of your daily requirement of Vitamin C. Vitamin C is necessary for the growth and development of tissues, promote wound healing, and preventing infections.
Vitamin C acts by oxidizing polypeptides and appears to have a mainly antioxidant action in the human body. This oxidation pathway is the primary stimulus for insulin secretion, making the pancreas more effective. In effect, consumption of blueberries cuts diabetes risk significantly.
According to the American Diabetes Association, one fruit exchange for blueberries is equal to ¾ cup of raw blueberries. Three-fourths of a cup contains 63 calories, 0.82 grams of protein, and 15 grams of carbohydrate. It is an excellent source of fiber with 2.7 grams. Many people are concerned about losing memory function as they grow older. Research has shown eating blueberries helps to improve memory function and slow cognitive decline.
Blueberries and diabetes
There is a strong positive correlation between blueberries and diabetes prevention. Increasing fruit consumption, particularly blueberries, is directly associate with cutting the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Consuming fresh blueberries is associated with optimizing glucose metabolism.
Once a carbohydrate is eaten and digested, it turns into glucose. The cells require glucose uptake within the cells; it fuels our body for everyday tasks and all body functions. Our cells need insulin to open the cells to allow the glucose inside. If insulin is not sufficient, as in diabetes, the cells starve.
Blood glucose circulates in the bloodstream causing high blood glucose levels. Insulin sensitivity describes how the body utilizes and reacts to insulin. Some are very sensitive to insulin and require small amounts of administered insulin to respond to glucose. As in Type 2 diabetes, those who have insulin resistance or prediabetes need more insulin to regulate their blood sugar level.
Assessing glucose tolerance is completed through laboratory testing. Metabolic syndrome is a combination of insulin resistance, overweight, hyperlipidemia, and high blood pressure levels. This combination makes the development of heart disease and Type 2 diabetes even higher. Unfortunately, ⅓ of Americans and adults in the U.K. have it.
What the research says
The American Diabetes Association calls out berries as a good choice for people with prediabetes. They say that diets with higher intakes of berries, nuts, yogurt, coffee, and tea are associated with less risk of type 2 diabetes. Eating blueberries regularly for just two weeks can help reduce damage to your cells by as much as 20%. Animal research shows blueberries can decrease pre-cancerous changes in many types of cancer, including estrogen-positive breast cancer and colon cancer.
One study in Finland found that middle-aged and older men who consumed the most berries had a 35% lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes. This study, in particular, highlighted the phytochemicals in blueberries. “It is the Anthocyanins found in Epidemiological studies in which regular, moderate intake of blueberries with reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, death, and type 2 diabetes.”Also, it found improved weight maintenance and neuroprotection”. Neuroprotective factors protect against trauma to the brain. Which may, in turn, delay or prevent Alzheimer’s or dementia.
While it is true that carbohydrate raises blood sugar levels more than other nutrients, it is not true that fruit elevates blood sugar more than other carb-containing foods. Many believe it to be the opposite. Fruit that contains a decent amount of fiber acts in the intestines to slow down glucose absorption. The effect continues throughout the body and affects glucose metabolism and increases insulin sensitivity. Because blueberries are fiber-filled fruit, they also interact with our gut microbes.
These phytonutrients likely exert both short-term and long-term actions. Our gut microbiota contains tens of trillions of microorganisms, with at least 1000 known species. The food we eat plays a vital role in the balance of good and bad bacteria. When one has a high-fat, high sugar diet, it feeds the harmful bacteria, allowing them to colonize more quickly, without as many helpful bacteria to prevent it from doing so. The harmful bacteria will enable you to absorb more calories making weight gain imminent.
Blueberries are high in bioactive compounds. These compounds are nutritional constituents found in foods providing health benefits beyond the foods’ primary dietary value. Studies are evaluating their effects on health. Bioactive compounds appear to have beneficial physiological, behavioral, and immunological effects. Blueberries are a source of bioactive compounds used in treating obesity, type 2 diabetes, and chronic inflammation.
How to add blueberries to your diet
Increasing your blueberry consumption can provide lifelong health benefits and is relatively simple. Blueberries come in so many different forms, making culinary application endless.
Eating fresh fruit is the easiest and fastest way to incorporate all of the crucial vitamins and nutrients into your diet. Eating blueberries regularly for just two weeks can help
reduce damage to your cells by as much as 20%. One can grab fresh blueberries on the go, thrown into a smoothie. Try incorporating them into overnight oats and increase your fiber intake twofold.
Freeze-dried blueberries retain all of the powerful phytonutrients when they take this form. The vitamin C content is slightly lower than fresh or frozen. Try Freeze-dried blueberries portioned for a quick snack (¼ cup) thrown on top of yogurt, muesli, or granola. Blueberries are relatively low in sugar, making them a healthy snack for people with diabetes and won’t increase blood sugar levels.
Dried blueberries last for a long time by simply drying them out in your oven or using a food dehydrator. If doing this at home, you have control over the preparation. If purchasing these, a person with diabetes may need to be careful of the added sugar. When sold like this, it becomes more like candy than a piece of fruit. You can use any dried fruit, including blueberries, in preparing bread, pies, trail mix, or even rehydration.
While drinking fruit juice is not generally recommended to the general adult due to the concern over added sugars. Drinking blueberry juice helps in numerous ways-Blueberry juice aids in weight reduction, brain health, and even muscle fatigue following a workout. The properties in Blueberries benefit insulin control and sensitivity. Drinking blueberry juice can help you quickly achieve the desired outcomes.
Frozen blueberries have the most antioxidants retained. They can be stored endlessly. Try throwing frozen blueberries into a salad. Replace high sugar and high fat desserts with Greek yogurt and blueberry parfait.
Dried and fresh fruits have a low glycemic index. The glycemic index of food measures and ranks food on a scale of zero to 100. Foods with a high glycemic index, or GI, are quickly digested and absorbed, causing a rapid rise in blood sugar. Often high glycemic index foods are processed and refined foods. Blueberries are a low glycemic food, meaning they have a small or negligible effect on glucose levels with a score of 53.
The glycemic load is a measurement of its impact on blood sugar. Calculating the Glycemic load is calculated using the glycemic index score and the number of digestible carbohydrates found in the food. Blueberries have a low score of 9.6, making them an optimal choice for a person with diabetes.
Consuming blueberries as part of a heart-healthy diabetic diet is a clear choice. They are rich in fiber, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, and Manganese. Blueberries also have high water content making them the optimal tool for hydration. A bowl of blueberries only has about 84 calories and 15 grams of carbohydrates, making blueberries a filling, fiber-filled choice. These berries are a great source of antioxidants; it has the highest antioxidant levels of all common fruits and vegetables.
Because of the low glycemic impact, blueberries are the optimal fruit choice for lowering the risk of a spike in blood sugars and body weight. Research has shown that diabetes prevention and optimizing glycemic control include Blueberries. Blueberries being portable on-the-go snacks makes incorporating them into your diet makes an easy task.