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Packed with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, blueberries are currently touted as one of summer’s super foods. They are now available at a few supermarkets in Pakistan and can also be found in muffins, pancakes, frozen yoghurt, cheesecakes and waffles at many cafés and bakeries.

Health benefits include:

  • Building Immunity. Blueberries are an excellent source of antioxidants, which neutralise harmful free radicals and are believed to boost the immune system, prevent infections and slow down the aging process.
  • A healthy brain. Recent research suggests that due to the presence of flavonoids, blueberries can prevent the degeneration and death of neurons and brain cells, thereby sharpening memory, preventing and healing neurotic disorders and optimising the central nervous system. Research also indicates that blueberries are beneficial in preventing/curing age related cognitive diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
  • Promoting heart health. Blueberries are packed with fibre, and therefore have the ability to lower bad cholesterol. Their high antioxidant count also has immense benefits for the heart, which includes strengthening the cardiovascular muscles.
  • Maintaining vision. Carotenoids and flavonoids along with other nutrients in blueberries make this little fruit beneficial in slowing down age related visual ailments including macular degeneration, cataracts, myopia, hypermetropia and myriad eye infections, particularly those pertaining to the retina.
  • Aiding digestion. Packed with digestion aiding fibre, blueberries can prevent constipation and are believed to reduce belly fat as well. Furthermore, the manganese in blueberries aids the body in converting carbohydrates, proteins and fats into energy, thus increasing your metabolism.

And that’s not all…. Blueberries regulate blood sugar levels which is particularly beneficial for diabetics. They have antibiotic properties which promote urinary tract health. And, better yet, they are believed to be natural antidepressants that will keep the blues away!

– Dr Samia Khan
The writer is Director, Health Awareness Society.

First published in the Health Advertiser Section of The DAWN National Weekend Advertiser on May 27, 2012.

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