The humble little fruit that is the Blueberry is not only for bringing some excitement to your pancakes and a little colour to your smoothies but is also a nutritional powerhouse. Don't let their small size and delicately sweet flavour fool you, Blueberries are loaded with vitamins, minerals and antioxidant micronutrients that can improve, metabolism, blood sugar levels, brain and heart function. here are some Blueberry nutrition facts.
Blueberry nutrition facts:
Blueberry macronutrients (1 cup serving).
- 85 Calories
- 1g Protein
- 0.5g Fat
- 21.5g Carbohydrate
- 15g Total sugars
- 3.5g Dietary fibre
- 0g Cholesterol
Vitamins(% of daily recommended amount).
- 25% Vitamin C
- 5% Vitamin B6
- 35% Vitamin K
- 10mg Calcium
- 115mg Potassium
- 20mg Phosphorus
- 0.25mg Zinc
- 10mg Folate
- 0.4mg Iron
- 10mg Magnesium
- 1mg Sodium
Antioxidants And Blueberries.
Responsible for most of the health benefits, as well as the colour of Blueberries is a flavonoid called anthocyanin. Flavonoid is the given name to a group of plant compounds that often contain potent antioxidant properties. Flavonoids are often referred to as "micronutrient antioxidants". Micronutrients are the vitamins and minerals that we consume that we only need in tiny amounts. Despite only needing these micronutrients in "micro" quantities, they are equally important to our health and well-being as macronutrients, which are the Proteins, carbohydrates and fats that make up our diet.
The benefits of Blueberries
- First and foremost, blueberries are one of the best antioxidant foods. Antioxidants help to protect healthy cells from free radicals in the body. These free radicals are created naturally by our metabolism and are very much manageable by the body under normal circumstances, however, adding additional free radicals to the body through carcinogens (alcohol, cigarettes, drugs) the body can start to see a decline in health. Antioxidants can help to fight this effect.
- Blueberries are low in calories, yet high in nutrients, so no need to eat a whole load of them to receive all the benefits. Dense with loads of essential vitamin and minerals, as well as being an excellent source of both soluble and insoluble fibre.
- The Antioxidant properties of Blueberries make them excellent for heart health and preventing cardiovascular diseases. Oxidisation of LDL or bad cholesterol is a crucial step in the development of heart disease. The intake of adequate amounts of antioxidants can greatly reduce the risk of developing heart disease and symptom-related complications, such as high blood pressure, heart attack and stroke.
- Oxidative stress not only affects your body but also your brain. It has been found that older adults who consumed Blueberries regularly showed a notable improvement in brain function and a reduced onset of cognitive decline.
- Despite Blueberries being relatively high in sugar, regardless of it being fructose derived, it is widely thought that the bioactive compounds found in Blueberries, outweigh the negative impact of sugar on blood sugar levels. If there is minimal spike in blood sugar, Blueberries show little effect on the development of diabetes and may actually improve insulin sensitivity.
- The antioxidants found in abundance in Blueberries are also linked to a reduced amount of inflammation throughout the body. Oxidative stress is a major cause of inflammation, which can lead to multiple adverse effects in regards to general health. If antioxidant reduces inflammation, Blueberries can most certainly be seen as an anti-inflammatory.
Macronutrients ; Micronutrients- What Does It All Mean.
There are 3 major food groups that make up our diets, fats, proteins and carbohydrates. There are usually varying amounts of all 3 in everything that we eat, with very few exceptions. It is essential that we consume enough of each of the 3 macronutrients in order to feel fit and healthy.
Someone may look to adjust their macronutrient intake depending on their specific lifestyle and fitness goals. A weight-lifter may look to increase their protein and carbohydrate intake to aid with energy levels and muscle development. Whereas a long-distance runner may look to increase carbohydrates and fat, which the body uses as an energy source when exerting itself over a long period of time.
Proteins can be found in both animal and plant-based sources, including:
- Red meat - Beef, lamb, pork, venison.
- Poultry - Chicken, turkey, pheasant, grouse.
- Fish (both oily and non-oily) - Salmon, Trout, haddock, plaice.
- Dairy - Milk, cheese, yoghurt, whey protein.
- Nuts and seeds - Almonds, pistachios, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds.
- Legumes - Black beans, soybeans, peanuts, Marrowfat peas.
Fats are usually split into 2 categories, healthy fats and unhealthy fats. When talking about nutritionally valued fats it is most likely in referral to healthy fats. Excellent sources of healthy fats include:
- Oily fish - Mackerel, salmon, tuna, anchovy.
- Nuts and seeds - Walnuts, cashews, Brazil nuts, pecans.
- Plant-based oils - Olive, rapeseed, coconut, flaxseed oil
Carbohydrates, similarly to fats are usually split into 2 categories, simple carbohydrates and complex carbohydrates. Simple carbohydrates are made up of simple sugars, and they have a high glycemic index. This means that whilst they are quick to metabolise and provide energy very quickly, they also spike blood sugar levels and can lead to weight gain. Complex carbohydrates, on the other hand, are made up of long-chain sugars, or complex sugars. These types of carbohydrates take much longer to metabolise, followed by gradually released energy, resulting in very little effect on blood sugar.
Carbohydrates are the bodies primary source of energy. Sources of complex carbohydrates include:
- Starchy vegetables - Potatoes, yams, parsnip, swede.
- Non-starchy vegetables - Broccoli, cabbages, asparagus, eggplant
- Grains - Oats, barley, quinoa, brown rice
- Legumes - Peas, beans, soybeans, lentils
Unlike macronutrients, where we need them in large quantities, micronutrients are only needed in tiny amounts. This does not make them any less of an important aspect of our diets, and play as crucial of a role in growth, development and general well-being.
Micronutrients refer to both the vitamins and minerals that the body needs in order to maintain health.
Minerals and what food they're found in.
- Magnesium - Dark chocolate.
- Selenium - Brazil nuts.
- Iron - Red meat.
- Zinc - Shellfish.
- Phosphorous - Poultry.
- Sodium - Salt.
- Potassium - banana.
Vitamins And examples of their role in the body.
- Vitamin A - Aids in immune function.
- Vitamin B6 - Forms haemoglobin which carries oxygen in the blood.
- Vitamin C - Promotes and protects healthy cells.
- Vitamin D - Essential for bone, teeth and muscle health.
- Vitamin E - Maintains healthy skin, eyes and immune system.
- Vitamin K - Essential for the clotting of blood and healing of wounds.
Other Foods High In Macronutrients.
Although every food item contains a certain degree of macronutrient level, not all foods are created equal. Best practice would see somebody following a balanced diet, comprised mostly of whole foods that meet their specific calorific needs, without consuming any food group in either excess nor insufficiency.
A balanced diet consisting of foods high in macronutrients would include:
- Ample amounts of high-quality protein derived from both animal and plant-based sources. These include meat, fish, poultry, lentils, nuts, soybeans etc.
- Regular intake of healthy fats found in nuts and seeds, oily fish, plant-based oils, avocados etc.
- An intake of complex carbohydrates to maintain energy levels incoherence to activity output, most commonly sourced from whole grains, legumes, and both starchy/non-starchy vegetables.