Scientific name: Vaccinium corymbosum L.1 (“ordinary blueberry” or highbush blueberry), Vaccinium angustifolium Aiton2 (“wild blueberry” or lowbush blueberry)

Description: Blueberries are popular not only for their versatility in cooking and baking but also for their antioxidant3 content and health benefits. There are two primary types of blueberries: the highbush blueberry (also known as “huckleberry” or “swamp blueberry”)4 and the lowbush blueberry (“wild blueberries”).4 The highbush variety is the most commercially available and, therefore, the most familiar to consumers in North America.

Highbush blueberries

Highbush blueberry bushes grow 5 to 12 feet tall in sunny, hot climates.5 Flowering occurs from February to June; fruiting occurs from April to October, about 62 days after flowering.6 The fruit itself is made up of ¼- to ½-inch diameter, circular, blue-black berries with many seeds.6 

Lowbush (wild) blueberries

Lowbush blueberry bushes range from 6 inches to 2 feet tall and favor colder climates,7 often growing in unexpected areas such as roadsides, woods, and gravelly areas.7 The flowers are bell-shaped and white in color. The leaf color changes with the seasons.7 The berries are smaller than their highbush cousins and usually have a more intense, even tangy flavor.8

Glossary of Terms:

  • Antioxidant: A natural or human-made substance that may prevent or delay some types of cell damage 
  • Anthocyanin: A blue, red, or purple pigment found in plants
  • Apoptosis: Cell death
  • Bioactive Compound: A substance that functions in living organisms to promote better health conditions
  • In vitro: Referring to research conducted in a test tube or culture dish, outside a living organism
  • In vivo: Referring to research conducted on living organisms, whether animal or human
  • Oxidative Stress: An imbalance of free radicals and antioxidants in the body, which can lead to cell and tissue damage
    • Free Radicals: Unstable atoms that can damage cells, causing illness and aging
  • Phytochemicals (also known as Polyphenols): Chemical compounds naturally occurring in plants, including flavonoids and phenolic acids

Nutrients: Blueberries are rich in several vital nutrients and antioxidants including fiber, vitamin C, vitamin K, and manganese.

According to the USDA,9 one cup of raw blueberries (including both highbush and lowbush varieties) contains:

  • 84.4 calories
  • 0.327g fat, including 0.041g saturated, 0.07g monounsaturated, 0.216g polyunsaturated, and 0g trans-fatty acids
  • 21.5g carbohydrates, including 3.55g dietary fiber (12.68% DV) and 14.7g sugar
  • 1.1mg of protein
  • 0mg of cholesterol

Noteworthy vitamins and minerals in one cup of blueberries include: 

  • 28.6mcg vitamin K (23.83% DV)
  • 0.497mg manganese (21.61% DV)
  • 14.4mg vitamin C (16% DV)
  • 114mg potassium (2.43% DV)
  • 0.414mg iron (2.3% DV)
  • 8.88mcg folate (2.22% DV)
  • 8.88mg magnesium (2.11% DV)

Blueberries are also known for being high in anthocyanins,10 which give them their blue pigment and are known to have various health benefits.11

Geographic origin: Highbush blueberries are native to North America6 and were first cultivated for commercial production in the early 1900s in New Jersey.12 Today, the highbush blueberry is grown commercially in 26 states13 and on every continent except Antarctica.14 The top growing countries now are the United States, Canada, Chile, and Peru.14 

The lowbush blueberry is also native to North America and is found primarily in New Hampshire and Maine, as well as eastern and central Canada.4

History of use as medicine: Blueberries were used by Indigenous peoples in North America for a variety of purposes15 including as food (both fresh and dried or otherwise preserved), pigment for dying cloth, and for medicinal purposes. The medicinal uses of blueberries were numerous, including as a treatment for digestive issues,16 as a muscle relaxant15 (especially during childbirth), and as a soothing remedy for sore throats15 when cooked down to a syrup.

Current Uses and Scientific Literature Review: Blueberries contain various classes of bioactive compounds17 that contribute to their many health benefits. The polyphenols18 in blueberries, particularly anthocyanins, have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that reduce oxidative stress3 and inflammation,19 two precursors of many chronic diseases including cancer, cardiovascular disorders, diabetes, and neurodegenerative (brain-deteriorating) diseases. 

Note: Before reviewing the literature, it is important to note that many peer-reviewed studies may be biased because of industry-funded research to promote product sales, and a conflict of interest is not always disclosed. See information from biologist and nutritionist Marion Nestle on sponsored research here. Nestle recently stated, “Blueberries set the standard for industry-funded studies.” In this article, we have done our best not to include any industry-funded studies. As discussed in the Food as Medicine Report (on page 158, specifically), there is a need for more government funding for food as medicine initiatives. 

Bone Health

When it comes to keeping our bones strong and preventing bone problems as we age, blueberries might be a tasty solution. Blueberries contain nutrients like vitamin K, calcium, and magnesium, which are important for bone health.

  • Calcium Retention in Post-Menopausal Women (animal study and interventional): Hodges et al (2023)20 determined that, in both rats with their ovaries removed (an animal model for menopause) and 14 post-menopausal women, low doses of freeze-dried blueberry powder increased net bone calcium retention. This benefit was not observed with high doses of blueberry powder. 
  • Prevention of Osteocyte (bone cell) Apoptosis (in vitro): Domazetovic et al (2019)21 demonstrated a significant relationship between blueberry consumption, in both powder and juice form, and bone health in an in vitro study. Blueberry consumption prevented a type of bone cell (osteocyte) from dying or undergoing apoptosis (cell death), which is often related to chronic bone loss. Blueberries were also found to be activators of sirtuin type 1,22 a compound that helps prevent bones from being broken down by the body.
  • Anthocyanins and Bone Loss Prevention (review): Jones (2016)23 reviewed multiple studies of blueberries and bone health performed with humans, animals, and in laboratory models, and found a general consensus that anthocyanins from blueberries helped to prevent bone loss. 

Eating blueberries can be beneficial for bone health. They help the body hold on to calcium, protect important bone cells, and contain compounds that fight bone loss. 

Brain Health 

Recent studies have suggested that consuming blueberries, which are rich in antioxidants, may have a positive impact on brain health. These antioxidants are believed to play a protective role against age-related cognitive decline, improve memory, and enhance overall brain function. 

  • Enhancing Cognitive Processing Speed in Older Adults (interventional): Cheatham et al (2022)24 conducted a six-month study of adults between 65 and 80 years old with mild cognitive decline. Participants were randomly assigned to consume either a wild blueberry powder (n = 44) or a placebo powder (n = 42) twice a day. Outcomes revealed that the group consuming blueberry powder experienced improvements in cognitive processing speed, which measures the time it takes to complete mental tasks. Notably, the oldest participants in the study showed the most significant improvements.
  • Improving Cognitive Function in Middle-Aged Adults (interventional): Krikorian et al (2022)25 studied middle-aged men and women (50 to 60 years old) with self-reported cognitive decline. Participants consumed either a placebo (n = 18) or a dosage of blueberry powder (n = 15) equivalent to a half-cup of whole blueberries, once a day for 12 weeks, and they were not allowed to consume any other berries during the study period. The researchers observed several positive outcomes among the blueberry-treated group, including improved executive control (the ability to control thoughts, emotions, and behaviors), reduced recall intrusion errors (including items not on the original list to memorize), and fewer memory complaints. 

The following study is the only one of its kind regarding blueberries’ impact on post-traumatic stress disorder. More research is needed to determine if these results are definitive. 

These studies provide promising evidence that blueberries may positively influence brain health in various populations, but further research is needed to confirm and expand upon these findings.

Cancer Prevention

Blueberries have special natural compounds that lab studies suggest might help fight cancer.29 However, more research is needed to be sure if giving concentrated forms of blueberries to cancer patients in high amounts is safe and effective. There seems to be little harm,30 though, in encouraging cancer patients to consume blueberries regularly. 

  • Blueberry Phytochemicals and Cancer (review)Davidson et al (2017)30 reviewed several studies of the actions that blueberry phytochemicals31 have on different types of cancer and found strong evidence that various compounds in blueberries may protect against breast, colon, and liver cancer. They found varying levels of evidence regarding blueberries’ effect on oral, prostate, lung, cervical, and ovarian cancers and melanoma. 

Breast Cancer

  • Polyphenols and Breast Cancer Stem Cells (in vitro): Mallet et al (2021)32 studied breast cancer stem cells treated with either a polyphenol-enriched blueberry preparation or blueberry juice. They determined that tumor suppression was increased when using the polyphenol-enriched blueberries, indicating a possible cancer-preventing effect. 
  • Blueberry Powder and Triple Negative Breast Cancer (animal study): Kanaya et al (2014)33 examined blueberries’ impact on an aggressive type of breast cancer called triple negative breast cancer.34 Mice with tumors that were fed a high-fat Western diet supplemented with blueberry powder had smaller tumors and significantly fewer additional cancerous growths than mice fed the same diet without blueberry powder. 
  • Pterostilbene and Breast Cancer Cells (in vitro and animal study): Mak et al (2013)35 investigated the impact of pterostilbene, a natural compound in blueberries, on breast cancer cells in vitro and validated their findings in a mouse model. The results showed that pterostilbene reduced the formation of tumors and their spread in both cancer stem cells and mice. 
  • Blueberry Extract and Breast Cancer Cells (in vitro and animal study): Adams et al (2010)36 studied the effects of a blueberry extract on breast cancer cells in vitro and in vivo with mice. In a lab setting, blueberries were able to suppress cell growth among the most aggressive breast cancer cells without affecting normal cells. In live mice, those given blueberries before and after receiving cancer cells had significantly smaller tumors than control mice. Additionally, there was greater suppression of tumor cell growth and increased tumor cell death among blueberry-treated mice compared to controls. 

Cervical Cancer – more research needed

  • The Impact of Blueberries on Cervical Cancer Cells (in vitro): Pan et al (2019)37 used blueberries to understand the effects that anthocyanins and two related compounds, anthocyanidins and pyranoanthocyanidins, have on human cervical cancer cells. All three compounds were able to slow down the growth of cervical cancer cells, indicating that these compounds may be good candidates for cancer treatment.
  • Blueberry Extracts and Radiation Therapy (in vitro): Davidson et al (2019)38 examined cervical cancer cells treated either with radiation therapy alone or in combination with blueberry extract. The blueberry extract helped more than radiation therapy alone both to inhibit proliferation of the cancer cells and to promote cell death.

Colon Cancer

  • Blueberry Extracts and Colon Cancer Cells (in vitro): Holkem et al (2020)39 examined extracts of two berries, blueberries and jabuticaba (Brazilian grapetree),40 prepared in four different ways. The extracts were studied alone and in combination with the probiotics (good bacteria) Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus. In vitro findings revealed that the extracts of both types of berries, alone or combined with probiotics, had protective effects against colon cancer. A blueberry extract with high levels of anthocyanins had the strongest preventive effects compared to the other blueberry extracts. 
  • Lin et al (2019)41 observed the effects of blueberry extracts and oxaliplatin, a chemotherapy drug,42 both separately and combined, on colon cancer cells. The combination treatment was especially effective at stopping the growth of cancer cells, more so than using either treatment on its own. Importantly, the treatments did not harm normal, healthy colon cells.  
  • Sezer et al (2019)43 evaluated the effects of natural polyphenolic compounds44 in blueberry extracts – specifically quercetin, kaempferol, and gentisic acid – on colorectal cancer cells. Quercetin and kaempferol appeared to have a remarkable ability to damage cancer cells and trigger cell death while reducing oxidative stress levels. Gentisic acid did not cause cell damage or death, but it did have antioxidant effects on the cancer cells. 

Liver Cancer

  • Anthocyanin and Liver Cancer (in vitro and animal study): Wang et al (2019)45 explored how malvidin-3-glucoside (M3G, the primary anthocyanin in blueberries) works to suppress liver cancer development. Both in lab and animal studies, M3G caused cancer cells in the liver to self-destruct, especially when higher doses were used. 
  • Yi et al (2006)46 evaluated the phenolic compounds of blueberries and grapes on liver cancer cells. Anthocyanins – from both blueberries and grapes – had the most prominent effects on inhibiting cancer cell growth and causing cell death, indicating a potential role for these compounds in liver cancer prevention and treatment. 
  • Blueberry Juice in Rats (animal study and in vitro): Zhan et al (2016)47 fed rats varying amounts of blueberry juice, then collected and studied the rats’ blood serum. The researchers determined that blueberries had strong anti-tumor and therapeutic effects on liver cancer cells as compared to a control group. The highest doses of blueberries were associated with greater rates of cancer prevention and cancer cell death than lower dosages, indicating a dose-dependent response. 

Lung Cancer – more research needed

  • Blueberry and Blackberry Intake in Mice (animal model): Aqil et al (2016)48 determined that dietary blueberry intake by mice reduced tumor size by more than 40 percent in non-small-cell lung cancer cells, and this effect was increased when blueberries were combined with blackberries. 
  • Berry Anthocyanins Fighting Lung Cancer (in vitro and animal study): Kauser et al (2012)49 examined the effects of natural compounds in berries, called anthocyanidins (sugar-free anthocyanins), individually and in combination, on non-small-cell lung cancer cells. In combination, as they exist naturally in berries such as blueberries, bilberries, and blackberries, these compounds were very effective in slowing cancer cell growth more than any one anthocyanidin by itself. The results suggest that berries containing a mix of anthocyanidins may be beneficial for lung cancer treatment.
  • The Effects of Pterostilbene (in vitro): Schneider et al (2010)50 studied lung cancer cells treated with pterostilbene, an antioxidant in blueberries, and found that it significantly reduced the viability of cancer cells, slowed down their growth, and even triggered apoptosis, or cell death.  

Melanoma – more research needed

  • Anthocyanin Extracts and Metastatic Melanoma (in vitro and animal study): Wang et al (2017)51 prepared blueberry anthocyanin and anthocyanidin extracts to treat metastatic melanoma cells. Both anthocyanin and anthocyanidin extracts effectively reduced the vitality and growth of melanoma cells, while also triggering apoptosis. Notably, the anthocyanidin extracts were even more potent in killing the cancer cells compared to anthocyanin extracts.  
  • Bunea et al (2013)52 also studied the effects of blueberry anthocyanin extracts on a mouse model of metastatic melanoma and observed stimulation of cell death, as well as a reduction in the melanoma cell’s ability to multiply and grow.

Ovarian Cancer – more research needed

  • Anthocyanins and Ovarian Cancer Cells (in vitro): Aqil et al (2017)53 examined the impact of berry anthocyanins on drug-sensitive and drug-resistant ovarian cancer cells. The anthocyanin treatment had a dose-dependent effect in inhibiting the growth of cancer cells. When combined with the chemotherapy drug cisplatin, the effect was even more pronounced, leading to significantly more cell death than using cisplatin alone. 
  • Pterostilbene and Ovarian Cancer Cells (in vitro): Pei et al (2017)54 investigated the effects of pterostilbene, a compound in blueberries, on human ovarian cancer cells, and concluded that pterostilbene treatment reduced the release of a protein called tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α), which helps cancer cells survive and multiply.
  • Blueberries and Ovarian Cancer Cell Proliferation (in vitro and animal study): Lin and Li (2017)55 discovered that blueberries inhibited ovarian cancer cell proliferation by lowering levels of two primary biomarkers of ovarian cancer, COX-1 and COX-2. Dietary intake of blueberries in mice with ovarian cancer significantly reduced tumor size compared to mice that did not consume blueberries.

Blueberries contain potent bioactive compounds that have demonstrated promising anti-cancer effects in laboratory studies across various types of cancer, including breast, cervical, colon, liver, lung, melanoma, and ovarian cancers. These studies indicate that blueberries, along with their extracts and compounds like anthocyanins and pterostilbene, exhibit inhibitory effects on cancer cell growth, promote apoptosis (cell death), and enhance the effectiveness of chemotherapy drugs. Incorporating blueberries into one’s diet may hold potential benefits in cancer prevention and treatment.

Cardiovascular Health 

Blueberries have gained recognition for their potential benefits for heart health.56 The antioxidants in blueberries may help lower blood pressure, reduce LDL cholesterol levels, and improve overall blood vessel function.

  • Anthocyanins and Arterial Function (interventional): Rodriguez-Mateos et al (2019)57 conducted four studies in adult men to understand the effects of blueberry anthocyanins on flow-mediated vasodilation,58 which measures changes in arterial diameter in response to stress. The results consistently pointed towards improved vascular function, indicating that the anthocyanins in blueberries contribute positively to arterial health. Consuming whole blueberries proved more beneficial than isolated anthocyanins, suggesting a synergistic effect with other polyphenols present in the fruit. 
  • Freeze-Dried Blueberry Powder and Blood Pressure (interventional): Johnson et al (2015)59 analyzed the impact of daily freeze-dried blueberry powder consumption among 48 postmenopausal women with pre- or stage 1 hypertension (high blood pressure) over a period of eight weeks. Subjects who consumed the blueberry powder had an increase in nitric oxide60 (an important molecule for blood vessel health) levels. This rise in nitric oxide likely contributed to the observed reduction in blood pressure compared to the control group. 
  • Blueberry Smoothies and Metabolic Syndrome (interventional): Stull et al (2015)61 explored the impact of blueberry consumption on blood pressure, endothelial function62 (functioning of cells inside blood vessels), and insulin sensitivity (how responsive cells are to insulin) among adults with metabolic syndrome63 (a group of conditions that raise the risk of coronary heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and other serious health problems). Participants were divided into two groups, one receiving blueberry smoothies (n = 23) and the other a placebo (n = 21) twice a day for six weeks. The study found improved endothelial function in the group consuming blueberry smoothies. However, blood pressure and insulin sensitivity did not change significantly. 
  • Anthocyanins and Heart Attack Risk (observational): For 18 years, Cassidy et al (2013)64 followed 93,600 women who participated in the Nurses’ Health Study II to explore the relationship between anthocyanin intake and the risk of heart attack. Women who consumed more than three servings per week of blueberries and strawberries combined were less likely to experience a heart attack than those who did not eat as many berries. 

The body of research presented here underscores the potential benefits of regular blueberry consumption for heart health. The antioxidants and anthocyanins in blueberries demonstrate positive effects on blood pressure, arterial function, and overall cardiovascular well-being.

Diabetes Management

Berries have been recommended65 by the American Diabetes Association for inclusion in diabetic diets due to their rich content of vitamins, fiber, and antioxidants. It is important to note, however, that conclusive clinical evidence supporting these claims is limited, as stated in reviews by Calvano et al (2019)66 and Stull (2016).67  

  • Blueberry Smoothies and Blood Sugar Response (interventional): Bell et al (2017)68 observed the post-meal blood sugar response of 17 healthy young adults who consumed smoothies containing freeze-dried wild blueberry powder or a placebo powder. Blueberry smoothies extended the postprandial glycemic response (the effect of a meal on blood sugar levels) – that is, blood glucose remained elevated two hours after consumption and there was lower risk of a hypoglycemic (low blood glucose) episode – compared to smoothies with an equivalent dose of sugar but no blueberries.   
  • Flavonoids and Type 2 Diabetes (observational): Wednick et al (2012)69 followed participants from the Nurses’ Health Study (n = 70,359), the Nurses’ Health Study II (n = 89,201), and the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study (n = 40,420) who did not have diabetes, cardiovascular disease, or cancer at baseline. They examined data from Food Frequency Questionnaires spanning from 1984 to 2003. The research found that individuals who consumed foods rich in anthocyanins, including blueberries, apples, and pears, had a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes. 
  • Blueberry Supplements and Insulin Sensitivity (interventional): Stull et al (2010)70 gave a blueberry smoothie or a placebo to 32 obese adults with insulin resistance71 (a condition in which muscle, fat, and liver cells do not respond well to insulin and, therefore, do not easily receive glucose from the blood). The results showed that the blueberry smoothie improved insulin sensitivity more than a placebo.

The studies presented here show promising results, indicating potential benefits for blood sugar control and insulin sensitivity, but further research is needed to provide definitive guidance on the use of blueberries in diabetes management.


Blueberries offer a rich source of dietary fiber and anthocyanins, both of which play a potential role in supporting a healthy gut microbiome.72 The gut microbiome refers to the diverse community of microorganisms, including bacteria, viruses, fungi, and protozoa, residing in the digestive tract. 

  • Blueberries and Gut Microbiota (interventional): Ntemiri et al (2020)73 performed a pilot study of the effects of blueberries on gut health among older (n = 6) and younger subjects (n = 11). The research revealed an increase in gut microbiota diversity among older subjects who consumed blueberry-enriched diets. This suggests that blueberries may have a positive influence on the gut microbiome, particularly in older individuals. 
  • Wild Blueberry Drink and Intestinal Health (interventional): Vendrame et al (2011)74 obtained results from a human intervention study with 20 participants. Half the participants consumed a wild blueberry drink for six weeks, while the other half served as the control group. The results indicated a significant increase in Bifidobacterium spp, a beneficial type of bacteria important for intestinal health, among those who consumed the blueberry drink. 
  • Blueberries and Inflammatory Bowel Disease (animal study): In a mouse model of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD),75 Paturi et al (2012)76 investigated the impact of broccoli and/or blueberries on the microbiota of the cecum, a section of the large intestine. The study found that blueberries led to lower counts of bacteria such as Clostridium perfringens, Enterococcus spp, and Escherichia coli, which are associated with negative effects on IBD. 

Blueberries, with their high content of dietary fiber and anthocyanins, show promise in supporting a balanced and healthy gut microbiome. Studies presented here highlight their potential to enhance gut microbiota diversity in older individuals, increase beneficial bacteria, and mitigate negative bacterial strains associated with inflammatory bowel disease. 

Eye Health

Blueberries, rich in anthocyanins and antioxidants, are believed to have potential benefits for eye health. Specifically, they may help reduce the risk of conditions such as dry eye, age-related macular degeneration,77 and diabetic retinopathy78 (the leading cause of preventable blindness). While evidence is promising, there are limited studies in vivo on blueberries and eye health in humans. More research is needed to provide conclusive evidence of these effects. 

  • Blueberry Anthocyanins and Retinal Cells (in vitro): Huang et al (2018)79 discovered that blueberry anthocyanin extract had a protective effect on human retinal cells by reducing oxidative stress, enhancing cell viability (the number of healthy cells in a sample), and inhibiting cell apoptosis. These results suggest that anthocyanins from blueberries may prevent or slow the progression of age-related macular degeneration. 
  • Prevention of Diabetic Retinopathy (in vitro): A separate analysis by Huang et al (2018)80 concluded that blueberry anthocyanins also protected against high glucose-induced injuries of human retinal cells, indicating that they may help prevent diabetic retinopathy.
  • Retinal Cell Protection (in vitro): Liu et al (2012)81 also investigated the impact of blueberry anthocyanins on human retinal cells. Their findings demonstrated that anthocyanins played a protective role in preventing deterioration and light-induced damage to retinal cells. 
  • Pterostilbene and Dry Eye (in vitro): Li et al (2016)82 investigated the protective properties of pterostilbene,83 the primary antioxidant in blueberries, on human corneal cells exposed to hyperosmotic stress84 (when the concentration of fluid outside the cell exceeds the concentration of fluid inside the cell). Their research revealed that pterostilbene reduced reactive oxygen species85 production and resulting inflammation, which could help prevent or treat dry eye symptoms.

There is promising evidence from in vitro studies suggesting that the compounds found in blueberries may offer protective benefits for various aspects of eye health, but further research involving human subjects is needed to establish conclusive evidence. The above findings provide a foundation for potential future treatments or preventive measures for various eye conditions.


The high levels of antioxidants and vitamin C in blueberries may contribute to a robust immune system, but there is not yet enough research in humans86 to prove that dietary blueberry consumption alone will improve immunity. 

  • T-Cell Production in Obese Mice (animal study): Lewis et al (2018)87 studied obese mice and observed that those fed a high-fat diet had an impaired immune response and a reduction in T-cell88 production. However, when blueberries were added to the diet, the reduction in T-cells was lessened by 10 to 50 percent, indicating that blueberries improved immunity functions in obese mice. 
  • Vitamin C and Infections: Blueberries are a good source of vitamin C.89 Carr and Maggini’s (2017)90 review demonstrates that vitamin C can both prevent and treat respiratory and systemic (circulatory) infections, while a vitamin C deficiency increases susceptibility to infections. 

Skin Health – more research needed

There is limited evidence available about the effects of blueberries on skin health. The following is one study that demonstrates the potential preventive effects of a topical blueberry-derived treatment for skin damage. 

  • Infrared Rays, Topical Blueberry Treatment, and Sun Damage: Grether-Beck et al (2017)91 observed the effects of infrared A92 from natural sunlight on human skin cells treated with a topical blueberry-derived antioxidant treatment. The treatment was able to prevent MMP-1 mRNA expression in infrared-exposed cells, which means that the treatment may be beneficial for the prevention of photoaging (sun damage).  

Weight Management

Blueberries are low in calories and high in fiber, making them a filling and nutritious addition to one’s diet. Several studies highlight potential benefits of blueberries in relation to weight management, metabolism, and overall health. 

  • Blueberries, Weight, and Metabolism: Istek and Gorbuz (2017)93 conducted a 12-week study to investigate the impact of blueberry consumption on overweight and obese individuals. The group that replaced 50 grams of carbohydrates with 50 grams of blueberries every day (n = 27) had significant, positive changes in various health markers, including body mass index (BMI), insulin levels, insulin resistance, LDL cholesterol, total cholesterol, and uric acid levels. Compared to the control group (n = 27), weight and body fat reduction was 11 to 14 percent greater among men in the intervention group and three to 14 percent greater among women. 
  • Berry Consumption, Appetite, and Calorie Intake: James et al (2015)94 assessed the effect of berry intake on appetite and calorie consumption among 12 postmenopausal women. One hour before dinner, participants consumed a 65-calorie snack of either mixed berries or confectionary sweets. While subjective appetite levels were similar between the two groups, those who ate berries consumed fewer calories at their meal.
  • Blueberry Juice for Pre-Diabetic Mice (animal study): Vuong et al (2009)95 studied mice that consumed blueberry juice and found that it was protective against obesity and diabetes in young pre-diabetic mice.

These studies provide promising insights into the potential benefits of blueberries for weight management and metabolism.

Potential negative effects: In general, blueberry consumption is considered safe for most people, but there are a few exceptions. In particular, those with a rare genetic glucose-6 phosphate deficiency96 should avoid blueberry consumption completely due to the risk of hemolysis,97 the destruction of red blood cells. Additionally, blueberries contain a relatively high level of salicylates,98 which may cause an allergic reaction in those who are sensitive to the naturally occurring compound. Common symptoms of a salicylate reaction include rashes, swelling, and diarrhea. 

Purchasing, storage. and cooking tips: Blueberries are in season99 during the warmer months. During North America’s colder months, when blueberries are not being harvested in the United States and Canada, grocers receive fresh blueberries from farmers in South America. When purchasing them from the store, look for blueberries that are plump and not wrinkly100 or moldy. Fresh blueberries will keep for up to 14 days when stored properly100 in a breathable container in the refrigerator. Blueberries that have become too soft or mushy may be rotten and should not be eaten. 

Fresh blueberries can also be frozen100 to keep them longer. They should be washed and dried, then frozen in a single layer and stored in a freezer-safe sealable bag. Alternatively, frozen blueberries are also available in the freezer section of many grocery stores. Frozen blueberries can be used in recipes101 that require cooking or freezing, such as pies or ice pops, or in smoothies.  


Learn more: 

Informational Websites:

  • Everything you need to know about blueberries102 (April 14, 2023 – Medical News Today)
    • “Many studies have suggested that increasing consumption of plant foods such as blueberries decreases the risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and overall mortality. Plant foods may also promote hair and skin health, increased energy, and overall lower weight.”
  • What Is Blueberry Extract?103 (February 22, 2023 – Verywell Health)
    • “A rich source of nutrients and antioxidants, blueberry extract contains beneficial plant compounds (including the flavonol quercetin) and anthocyanins, a class of compounds thought to reduce inflammation and protect against heart disease and cancer.”
  • Fresh or Frozen, Wild or Cultivated? What to Know About Blueberries and Health104 (July 28, 2022 – American Heart Association)
    • “Blueberries are a good source of vitamin C. … Blueberries also have abundant vitamin K and the mineral manganese. That all comes with a mere 84 calories and a healthy 3.6 grams of fiber per cup.”
  • The Power of Blueberries89 (July 22, 2022 – Mayo Clinic Health System)
    • “[Blueberries’] deep-blue hue comes from anthocyanin, a phytochemical whose abilities may help protect the body from heart disease and Type 2 diabetes, offering cancer-fighting benefits, promote gut health and reduce inflammation.”
  • Blueberries 101: Nutrition, Health Benefits, Recipes, and More105 (May 31, 2022 – Everyday Health)
    • “Blueberries are sweet and succulent, but that’s not the only reason to pick up a bunch on your next grocery run. … regularly consuming blueberries may boast a number of health benefits, research suggests.”
  • The Health Benefits of Blueberries106 (May 27, 2022 – Cleveland Clinic)
    • “A cup of cultivated blueberries (berries grown to eat) has 9,019 antioxidants. Lowbush (or wild) blueberries have 13,427 total antioxidants per cup.”
  • Blueberries could be key to treating non-healing wounds107 (April 3, 2022 –
    • “Blueberry extract could dramatically improve wound healing, and may ultimately reduce the massive cost of $50 billion that is spent on wound care each year.”
  • Health Benefits of Blueberries108 (March 7, 2022 – Eating Well)
    • “Even through ever-changing nutrition science and trends that come and go, blueberries continue to be viewed as a powerhouse.”
  • 7 Science-Backed Health Benefits of Blueberries, According to Nutritionists109 (Dec 9, 2021 – Insider)
    • “There are many science-backed benefits of blueberries, including boosting antioxidant levels, reducing cholesterol, and improving insulin activity.”
  • Blueberries Around the Globe – Past, Present, and Future14 (October 21, 2021- USDA Foreign Agriculture Service)
    • “Blueberry consumption has expanded beyond fresh, ranging from pureed to powdered forms. Blueberries are also being used as ingredients and additives in foods and beverages.”
  • Can Blueberries Help Lower Your Cholesterol?110 (October 19, 2021 – Verywell Health)
    • “Unfortunately, there are only a couple of studies that have examined the effect of blueberry consumption on lipids in people. These studies, involving healthy individuals and people with metabolic disease, did not see any significant changes when blueberries were consumed.”
  • Blueberries and Cancer, Increase Antioxidant Activity29 (April 4, 2021 – American Institute for Cancer Research)
    • “Several studies found that eating blueberries increases antioxidant activity in the blood as well as showing potential to prevent DNA damage. Studies are limited and results vary.”
  • 20 Evidence-Based Health Benefits of Blueberries111 (June 30, 2020 – Organic Facts)
    • The antioxidants and phytonutrients in blueberries have “the ability to reduce signs of aging, may improve heart health, help in controlling blood pressure and diabetes, and may even lower the risk of cancer.” 
  • Growing Blueberries in the Home Garden112 (2020 – University of Minnesota Extension Services)
    • “It takes a blueberry bush about 10 years to reach mature size, but this also means they will live a long, long time. It will be 2 or 3 years before you start getting large harvests, but it is definitely worth the wait.”
  • Fruits to Eat During and After Cancer Treatment113 (August 28, 2019 – Healthline)
    • “Blueberries are a nutritional powerhouse, packing plenty of fiber, vitamin C, and manganese into each serving.”
  • How blueberries help to kill cancer cells114 (January 3, 2018 – Medical News Today)
    • “The researchers explain that the blueberry extract does not only make cancer cells more sensitive to radiation, but it also reduces the abnormal cell growth that fuels cancer development.”
  • Blueberries and Health115 (August 13, 2016 – United States Department of Agriculture)
    • “Blueberries are an excellent source of essential nutrients, such as vitamins C and K and manganese, and a good source of dietary fiber. In addition, blueberries are abundant of phyto-components, such as flavonoids, which are responsible for berries’ antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities.”
  • Vaccinium Corymbosum116 (North Carolina State University Cooperative Extension) 

News articles:

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