From avocados to salmon, superfoods and supplements have taken over modern food culture. The health claims are like something from a dream – superfoods may prevent cancer, improve your memory, and help you manage your weight. All berries are generally under the superfood umbrella, but blueberries stick out. Are blueberries a superfood based on their compounds and health benefits? Read on to find out!
(This post includes affiliate links for which I may earn a commission at no extra cost to you should you make a purchase)
What are superfoods, and are they real?
All foods provide nutrients in varying densities and varieties. A leafy green salad, bowl of rice, a cup of blueberries, and a bar of chocolate include necessary macronutrients, vitamins, minerals, and more for healthy humans – but not in equal value. “Superfood” is a category meant to highlight the most nutritious options on the market, providing much of what you need to survive. It usually refers to plants, but there are exceptions.
These foods have well-researched, consistently beneficial properties. Including superfoods like blueberries in your diet is suspected to improve wellness and longevity. They deliver rich sources of:
- Antioxidants, like polyphenol flavonoids
- Mono- and polyunsaturated fats
The reality is superfoods do not genuinely exist in the way people perceive. There is no single food that offers it all. The term is not regulated in the U.S., allowing companies to place the word “superfood” on powders and supplements without ramifications. Other nations – like Japan – have a similar concept called “functional foods,” which the country does regulate.
Where did the term “superfood” come from?
Surprisingly, the term did not come from dieticians or the FDA. It came from an advertising campaign during World War I, making bananas the first classified superfood.
After convincing the public it was illness-proof, inexpensive, and accessible for the ideal diet, medical professionals began researching the claim’s validity. Eventually, journals backed up this claim, inciting curiosity about whether other foods could be as super as bananas.
Why is it essential to know the superfood backstory?
This history is vital because it helps you contextualize your food journey. Food sellers are not health or dietary experts, yet they widely publicize these claims. It should invite reasonable skepticism before heading out in spring to buy what you need to grow your blueberry bushes.
Sometimes, publications inflate headlines to increase food sales, and misinformation spreads through TikTok. Always fact-check and ask professionals questions about what is and isn’t true about what you eat. Relying too much on superfoods may cause an unbalanced diet.
Question if increasing nutrient consumption from a specific superfood is helpful for your lifestyle, current diet, and health circumstances. It may be the best decision you’ve ever made, or it may not be the right time. So, are blueberries considered a superfood worth exploring in the same detail as bananas?
What are the nutritional facts of blueberries?
Many health professionals include blueberries in their list of superfood recommendations, alongside other berries. The nutritional details make their healthfulness quite clear. For 100 grams of raw blueberries, you get:
- 57 calories
- 84.2 grams of water
- 9.7 milligrams of vitamin C
- 15 grams of carbohydrates
- 2.4 grams of fiber
- Less than half a gram of fat
- 77 milligrams of potassium
- Other vitamins and minerals, like vitamin K, manganese and phosphorus
Blueberries have even more going for them than this, but their superfood designation mostly comes from their mind-blowing amounts of antioxidants. Antioxidants are responsible for mitigating the impact of oxidative stress, which is crucial for your metabolism and cells to stay healthy.
A well-regarded 2004 study discovered that cultivated and wild blueberries can have anywhere between 9,019 and 13,427 total antioxidants in a cup. This is one of the few circumstances where more usually means better.
Blueberry’s claim to fame – anthocyanins
It’s impossible to hone in on each of the thousands of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that make blueberries a superfood. However, anthocyanins are some of the most evidence-backed players.
Anthocyanin – an antioxidant flavonoid – is the first superfood ingredient in blueberries. It’s the pigment that gives blueberries their delightful color when ripe. Low and highbush blueberries have a much higher anthocyanin concentration than other fruits. Are blueberries a superfood because of anthocyanins alone? They do result in consistent health benefits in research, including:
- 25% reduced risk of coronary artery disease
- 32% decreased chance of heart attack
- Up to 10% lower hypertension likelihood
- Reduced vascular stiffness
- 13% reduced risk of cardiovascular disease
- 23% risk reduction of prediabetes by increased insulin management
- Improved cognitive function
- Reduced risk of Parkinson’s disease
Other vitamins and minerals complement anthocyanin’s benefits. Blueberries have more vitamin C than blackcurrants, cranberries, and raspberries. A serving of blueberries provides almost a quarter of most people’s daily recommended consumption of the vitamin, which is necessary for immune system support.
Based on these facts, are blueberries considered a superfood?
So, are blueberries a superfood? Blueberries are it if there is a real superfood, mainly when they tackle so many health risks. They will not take care of your entire preventive health care regimen, but making them a more consistent part of your recipe book won’t hurt.
The beauty of blueberries is there are little to no deterrents to eating as many as you want, so long as it coincides with a macronutrient-sensible, nutritional diet. The research on blueberries is overwhelming and diverse, making it one of the most well-known potent sources of antioxidants and nutrients in any food.
What else should you do to maximize the benefits of blueberries?
Eat blueberries raw for maximum benefits. Cooking blueberries doesn’t remove their superfood status, but influences like heat reduce antioxidant potential. This doesn’t mean you should never cook them, but raw is how to get the most bang for your buck.
Additionally, it’s best to wash blueberries before consuming them. Attentive rinsing in filtered, purified water is fine. Still, a lemon juice and baking soda soak is even better for removing bacteria and residual pesticides if you buy non-organic food. Invisible health deterrents from chemical-based agriculture should not make you second-guess if blueberries are considered a superfood.
How can you incorporate more blueberries into your diet?
You can always eat blueberries alone, but if you’re determined to make them a daily staple, you can incorporate them in a smoothie or acai bowl for breakfast. These are ideal opportunities to include other superfoods like chia seeds. Blueberries and oats also make a delicious breakfast bar or traditional oatmeal combo. A blueberry muffin or pancake is excellent for a powered-up version of the sweet morning classics.
At lunch, make a delicious vegetarian or vegan berry, nut, and cheese salad with your dressing of choice. Some more creative options include a blueberry-infused salsa or topping pulled pork or jackfruit with blueberries.
For dinner, a blueberry-infused sauce or compote is the way to dress everything from tenderloin to glazed tofu. You could pair blueberries with white cheese, onion, and fresh herbs to make an irresistible flatbread.
Throughout the day, snacks of blueberries with Greek yogurt or cottage cheese are a way to sneak in dense protein. Don’t forget delicious desserts because blueberry-lemon pound cake and blueberries with vanilla ice cream are too good to ignore.
The verdict – Are blueberries a superfood?
By now, you understand the word “superfood” is not consistent worldwide. Regardless, the question of “Are blueberries a superfood?” should not matter because their health benefits speak for themselves.
These berries are an easy, delicious way to make your daily diet more comprehensive and wellness-focused. It’s unknown if superfoods will eventually get universal standardization, but blueberries will likely ascend to the top of the list if they do.
If you enjoyed this article, find out whether olives, soy, avocado oil, or fermented foods are superfoods! You may also like learning about other plant-based superfoods, such as cacao, golden berries, sea moss, pili nuts, and sacha inchi.
Disclaimer: This article contains affiliate links. This means that if you make a purchase after clicking on one of these recommended service provider links, like an insurance broker, or a travel agent, I may earn a commission – at no extra cost to you. [For my full disclosure, please see my DISCLAIMER page].