Blueberries, as one of the most popular temperate-zone fruits in the world, are also Mother Nature's wonderful blessings to humanity. These berries are juicy and flavorful when consumed in season, which is during summer from early June through early August.
But first, what exactly are blueberries? Let's find out.
Blueberries, a close relative of cranberries, are small fruits with a diameter of less than a centimeter that grow on a small, modest shrub. These little wild fruits have traditionally been used as toppings or as a confiture or filling for pies, pastries, and even desserts!
Blueberries come in two varieties: wild blueberry (low-bush) and farmed blueberry (high-bush). While both are tasty, the wild ones are slightly more flavorful and nutritious, so keep an eye on those when it's their season.
This little "fruit of the woods" has a lot of potential nutritionally. In recent years, several studies have been published that have proven these blueberries' excellent nutritional and therapeutic properties.
Of course, blueberries are no stranger to the "juicing" trend nowadays. Many people have enjoyed using them as ingredients for their juices, smoothies, and healthy cereals and salads. It's not only because they have an intensely sweet and tangy flavor. It's also because these tiny fruits contain a lot of antioxidants and important vitamins and minerals that play an important role in one's health.
In this article, we will discuss the scientifically-backed benefits and risks of this so-called “superfood” and share helpful tips on making your blueberry fruit juice at home, too!
Table of Contents
What's Inside the Blueberry?
Blueberries are pleasing to our taste buds and contain a lot of nutrients that allow them to be considered a superfood. According to the Nutrition Value, an 8-oz serving of natural blueberry fruit juice contains the following:
Each 8-ounce glass of blueberry juice contains 3.6 grams of dietary fiber, which is equivalent to 13% of the recommended daily intake. In fact, 16% of the total carbohydrate content in blueberry juice is fiber.
Soluble fiber, which dissolves in water, can help lower blood sugar levels and cholesterol levels. Oatmeal, almonds, beans, lentils, apples, and blueberries are all high in soluble fiber.
Insoluble fiber, or fiber that does not dissolve in water, can aid in the movement of food through your digestive system, improving regularity and preventing constipation. Wheat, whole wheat bread, whole grain couscous, brown rice, lentils, carrots, cucumbers, and tomatoes are all high in insoluble dietary fiber.
While blueberries have large amounts of antioxidants, the vitamins found in them also play an essential role in promoting good health. Here are the significant vitamins in blueberries.
- 4.54 mcg (1% DV) of Vitamin A - (retinol, retinoic acid) is vital to vision, growth, cell division, reproduction, and immunity.
- 0.054 mg (5% DV) of Thiamin - The B1 vitamin allows the body to utilize carbohydrates for energy.
- 117.94 mcg of Lutein - It is thought to function as a light filter, protecting the eye tissues from sunlight damage.
- 0.061 mg (5% DV) of Riboflavin - Also known as vitamin B2, aids in the digestion of proteins, lipids, and carbs. It is essential for the body's energy supply to be maintained.
- 0.617 mg (4% DV) of Niacin - It supports the health of your nervous system, digestive system, and skin.
- 0.077 mg (6% DV) of Pyridoxine - Also known as vitamin B6. This is important for normal brain development and for keeping the immune system healthy.
- 9.07 mcg (2% DV) of Folate - It supports healthy cell division and promotes proper fetal growth and development, which lowers the risk of birth defects.
- 14.3 mg (16% DV) of Ascorbic Acid - Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant and one of the most beneficial vitamins.
- 0.84 mg (4% DV) of Vitamin E - Helps maintain healthy skin and eyes, and strengthens the body's natural defense against illness and infection.
- 28.4 mcg (24% DV) of Vitamin K - It is helpful for maintaining our blood clotting and bone health.
Copper is the most notable mineral in blueberries. An 8-oz serving of blueberry juice contains 0.091 mg of copper, which is equivalent to 10% of the daily intake requirement.
Copper is a trace mineral that the human body requires for survival. It is found in all bodily tissues and is involved in the production of red blood cells, as well as the maintenance of nerve cells and the immune system. It also aids in the formation of collagen and the absorption of iron and energy production.
The liver, brain, heart, kidneys, and skeletal muscle are the organs that store the most copper in the body. Copper levels in the brain can be affected by both too much and too little. Diseases like Menkes, Wilson's, and Alzheimer's disease have all been linked with diets that are either rich in this mineral or lacking it. Although the deficiency is uncommon, it can lead to cardiovascular disease and other complications.
Aside from copper, blueberry juice contains other essential minerals such as iron, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and zinc — all of which are responsible for the claimed benefits of this super drink.
Top 10 Benefits of Blueberry Juice
Blueberry juice is not only the most delicious berry drink, but it is also one of the most beneficial fruit drinks out there! Aside from the vitamins and minerals we mentioned earlier, blueberries contain large amounts of other beneficial nutrients.
Without further ado, let us discuss each of the claimed blueberry juice benefits, and we’ll see if there is evidence to support these claims.
1.Rich in Antioxidants
According to Healthline, berries have the highest antioxidants among fruits next to pomegranate juice. And since blueberries have the most pleasing taste among berries, drinking blueberry juice might just complete your health regimen.
In a study conducted by the National Center for Biotechnology Information, blueberries contain the following phenolic compounds, listed here with their brief descriptions.
- Gallic acid - Known for its antioxidant, anticancer, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial properties.
- Protocatechuic acid - Is an important antioxidant ingredient in teas.
- Vanillic acid - Known to ease inflammatory pain.
- Caffeic acid - Known for relieving swelling and muscle soreness.
- Coumaric acid - Has an anti-aging effect on the skin as it effectively blocks UV rays.
- Ferulic acid - Helps another antioxidant in action. When used in skincare, this helps remove fine lines, wrinkles, and hyperpigmentation.
- Ellagic acid - In the skin, this acts as an inhibitor for melanin production, therefore helping lighten the skin.
- Cinnamic acid - Used as a conditioning agent and is widely used in shampoos, conditioners, and even for skincare products.
2. Lowers Bad Cholesterol
Cholesterol is a naturally occurring chemical produced by the human body. The liver produces most of the cholesterol in our bloodstream (75%), with the remaining 25% coming from the food we eat. Although we all know that a high cholesterol level in your blood is bad for your health, the appropriate levels of cholesterol are necessary for maintaining cell membranes and manufacturing hormones.
However, Low-Density Lipoprotein (LDL) is branded a "bad cholesterol" for a reason. It is the sort that builds up on the insides of arteries. The LDL cholesterol combines with white blood cells to produce artery-narrowing plaque, which inhibits blood flow. For most people, an LDL cholesterol level of 100 mg/dL or less is ideal. If you have heart disease, you should try to keep your LDL levels below 70 mg/dL.
Why is this significant? When left untreated, too much bad cholesterol creates buildup in the blood vessels and prevents normal blood flow. This heart disease is called atherosclerosis and is responsible for 30% of global deaths yearly.
Luckily, blueberries contain a lot of substances that lower bad cholesterol. Anthocyanin, an antioxidant molecule that gives blueberries and other fruits their rich, bluish-purple hue, has been shown to be effective in reducing LDL oxidation.
A study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition was done on 120 patients with unbalanced cholesterol levels. They were given 160 mg of anthocyanin for 12 weeks. At the end of the study, the berry-derived supplements were proven to lower bad cholesterol and increase High-Density Lipoprotein (HDL), which is considered good cholesterol.
3. Lowers Blood Pressure
Most of the time, high cholesterol levels and abnormally high blood pressure go together. Once your cholesterol is skyrocketing, it affects your blood pressure as the build-up of fats along the arteries restricts blood flow, causing the pressure to rise.
And since blueberries are rich in antioxidants, they have also been proven to lower blood pressure. An article published by Harvard Health Publishing advised that "eating a cup of blueberries every day may help your blood pressure."
A study mentioned in that article found that "consuming 200 grams of blueberries (about one cup) daily can improve blood vessel function and decrease systolic blood pressure (the top number in a blood pressure reading)."
As the study has revealed, the effect is due to high levels of anthocyanins found in blueberries. After one month of ingesting fresh blueberries, cholesterol levels were measured and it was concluded that the intake had widened the arteries, which increased blood flow and prevented heart disease.
4. Anti-Cancer Properties
In the United States, blueberries are one of the most popular berries. Berries are high in phenolic chemicals, which are recognized for their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties — vital weapons in the fight against cancer. Let's take a look at some of the anti-carcinogenic effects of blueberries.
Prevents Chemical Inflammation
Chemical inflammation happens when there is an infection in the kidney, liver, skin and connective tissues, and immune system. When this happens, the body’s reaction is to release certain substances like histamine and prostaglandins that cause liquid to leak into the tissues, resulting in swelling. Blueberries act by preventing these infections and inflammations from occurring.
Prevents Oxidative Stress
Oxidative stress is due to excess free radicals in our bodies. Although oxidative stress is naturally occurring in our bodies, some conditions may cause too much oxidative stress and may result in premature cellular damage. A lot of medical conditions involve increased oxidative stress, including diabetes, cancer, cognitive decline, and other inflammations. Here are a few of the causes of long-term oxidative stress, as listed by the Medical News Today:
- Diets high in fat, sugar, and processed foods
- Exposure to radiation
- Smoking cigarettes or other tobacco products
- Alcohol consumption
- Certain medications
- Exposure to pesticides or industrial chemicals
Since blueberries are rich in antioxidants and phenolic compounds, they help in dealing with these conditions, which in turn, prevents oxidative stress and cellular damage.
Prevents DNA Damage
What is DNA damage? It is an alteration in the basic structure of DNA that is not reproduced when the DNA is replicated. A chemical addition or disruption to a DNA base or a break in one or both DNA strand chains are examples of DNA damage.
When DNA with a damaged base is replicated, a faulty base is frequently inserted into the complementary strand opposite the damaged base, resulting in a mutation in the following round of replication.
There are a handful of studies that confirm the anti-carcinogenic claims of blueberries. Studies (1,2) have been conducted on anthocyanin’s antioxidant activity against colon cancer, and some of its effects against breast cancer. Indeed, blueberries do not only quench your thirst, but also secure your health at a cellular level.
5. Anti-Diabetic Properties
Diabetes is one of the most common, and also one of the most avoidable, lifestyle diseases. If left untreated, diabetes can result in nerve damage, kidney damage, eye damage, cardiovascular disease, and even disruptive cognitive function.
Even though diabetes medication is well-established, regularly drinking blueberry juice provides people diagnosed with that condition with a natural way to treat diabetes while reaping all of the other benefits.
You might think that because blueberries are sweet, they might be bad for diabetes because they might push blood sugar levels to the roof. But the opposite happens when you make blueberry juice a part of your balanced diet.
In fact, blueberries are considered a diabetes superfood by the American Diabetes Association (ADA). While the word "superfood" has no precise definition, blueberries have the qualities of being one. They are rich in vitamins, antioxidants, minerals, and fiber — all of which are beneficial to overall health, especially in dealing with diabetes.
Anti-diabetic effects of blueberries have long been studied, and one study has revealed that taking blueberry extract supplements can be as effective as synthetic anti-diabetic medications.
Another study on mice confirmed that blueberries indeed prevent hyperglycemia and even increase insulin sensitivity. Insulin sensitivity refers to how fast the body reacts to insulin, the hormone that lowers glucose.
6. Boosts Brain Function
Our brain is what we are. When our brain does not function at its best, all of our activities are disrupted. Brain health is rarely talked about, yet it is crucial to maintain, especially among older adults. But worry not, for blueberries are here.
Recently, scientists discovered that among healthy older adults who drank concentrated blueberry juice every day, there's a significant boost in brain activity, blood flow, and even memory compared to the placebo group. Blueberries' powerful antioxidants, particularly flavonoids, have been found to boost these effects as well as provide additional brain health benefits, such as:
- Lowering dementia risk
- Reducing the effects of Alzheimer’s
- Preventing age-related memory loss
- Boosting brain cells
- Increasing concentration and focus
- Improving mental health
Adding blueberry juice to your diet will not only prevent any heart disease, but also a sound mind.
7. Anti-Aging Properties
Fruit flies are frequently used as a laboratory model of aging by scientists exploring the lifespan advantages of various substances. Fruit flies live 10% longer when fed a regular diet containing blueberry extract, according to researchers. Not only do the fruit flies live longer, but they also have higher levels of physical activity. These improvements are the result of higher oxidant stress tolerance as well as positive alterations in the expression of a few key genes.
Another aging model called C.elegans has exhibited even more remarkable life span extension. These organisms lived 28% longer after supplementation with blueberry extract, with a 14% increase in maximum life span. The supplement-fed animals had a 20% reduction in an age-related protein that impairs function, as well as a vastly improved tolerance to stress in their environment.
Although human studies are yet to be performed, these results are promising. Not only because blueberries are rich in flavonoids, but also with essential vitamins and minerals that increase the cell’s lifespan.
8. For Great Skincare
While it is normal for our skin to age, the skincare industry nowadays tries its best to make products that promise a “wrinkle-free” appearance. And when I tell you they cost a lot, believe me, because they really do.
Bloggers and influencers rave about different brands that claim to provide the most protection and anti-aging properties. But what if I told you that there is actually a trick to spending less on something that does not just that, but more?
Yes, I am talking about blueberries. Here are the contents of blueberries that do wonders for your skin:
- Anthocyanins, a type of powerful antioxidant found in blueberries, are particularly potent. Anthocyanins prevent the breakdown of collagen, the protein that keeps skin supple and elastic, in addition to giving them their deep blue color.
- Vitamin C, like anthocyanins, is found in blueberries and helps to prevent collagen degradation. While we can't completely prevent collagen breakdown (we naturally make less as we age), eating blueberries can supplement our body's supply.
They have the highest antioxidant content of any fruit and are excellent for the skin. Aside from vitamin C, they also contain Vitamins A, B complex, and E, as well as potassium, zinc, copper, iron, and magnesium.
Smoothing the skin, preventing fine lines and wrinkles, removing scars, increasing elasticity, fighting pimples and acne, balancing oil levels in the skin, and helping to even out skin tone are all benefits of blueberries.
And yes, you can use blueberry juice as a topical treatment for your face! If you can't afford to eat a cup of blueberries every day, topical treatment is an excellent alternative, as extracts are designed to cram as many advantages as possible into a small amount of substance. Here’s how:
Blueberry Facial Mask
Many homemade facial mask recipes only require combining a few simple components. Simple items like plain yogurt, oats, honey, olive oil, sour cream, aloe vera, and lemon juice can be added to blueberries. Here are a few of my personal favorite blueberry mask recipes that you can do at home.
Blueberry Honey Mask
- ¼ cup blueberry juice
- 1 tablespoon organic honey
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Blend ingredients together to form a paste.
- Apply on a clean face and leave on your skin for 10 minutes.
- Wipe off with a wet towel.
Blueberry Yogurt Mask
- 5 tablespoons blueberry juice
- 1 tablespoon Greek yogurt
- Mix ingredients together to create a paste.
- Apply on a clean face and leave it on skin for 10-15 minutes.
- Wash off with clean water.
- Pat dry.
To prevent skin dehydration, we apply lotion. But making your own lotion with the ingredients that are safe for your skin is another level of skincare. Adding blueberries to your list of ingredients will not only make your skin lighter but also healthier. Here’s a quick tip on how to make your own blueberry lotion.
- ½ cup olive oil
- ¼ cup coconut oil
- ¼ cup beeswax
- 1 teaspoon vitamin E oil
- Essential oils:1 drop per 2 ounces
- Handful of blueberries
- Blend all ingredients and put them into a glass jar.
- Loosely place the lid on the jar. In a saucepan, heat a few inches of water and carefully place the jar in it.
- Have another glass jar ready to put the finished lotion in.
- The ingredients will begin to melt. You can stir now and again.
- When it is completely melted, pour it into another jar. Do not put in a pump bottle.
- Let the mixture cool to room temperature.
- This will last about 6 months.
Recipe source: Benefits of Blueberry
9. A Great Workout Drink
A strenuous workout is marked by inflammation and sore muscles. Anyone who exercises daily is quite familiar with that burning sensation in their muscles. As a result, there are dozens of synthetic athletic supplements on the market promising significant effects in reducing inflamed muscles and speeding up recovery time.
Mother Nature, on the other hand, provides a wide range of foods that do the same function as synthetic medications. So, I present to you: blueberries.
A study revealed that drinking blueberry juice has increased endurance while doing strenuous exercises. While another study revealed that drinking blueberry juice helps ease muscle soreness and shortened recovery time. This only adds up to the long list of reasons why you should start drinking fresh blueberry juice today if you haven’t already.
10. Treats Urinary Tract Infection
Cranberry juice and blueberry juice are known to be helpful in combating urinary tract infection (UTI). Blueberry may aid in the prevention and treatment of urinary tract infection by preventing bacteria from attaching to the lining of the urinary system. Blueberries have similar elements to cranberries and may help prevent bacteria from adhering to the bladder lining.
How to Make Blueberry Juice at Home
Although pure blueberry juice has many of the same nutritional benefits as fresh blueberries, some store-bought blueberry juices are combined with other fruit liquids, modifying the nutrient profile significantly. If fresh ones aren't available, frozen blueberries are still as good.
Juicing blueberries may provide a better vehicle for absorbing some of the anthocyanin's essential metabolites than mixing blueberries. Blueberries have numerous health advantages, whether eaten fresh or blended with other nutrient-rich ingredients. Surely, incorporating blueberries into your next drink can provide an additional bioavailability boost for your body.
Here’s a quick guide on how to juice blueberries.
Rinsing Them Well
A good rinsing should suffice for organic blueberries. However, if your blueberries aren't organic, there's a considerable chance that pesticides were used during their cultivation, so soak them first.
Make a simple soak by adding vinegar to the water in which you'll be soaking your blueberries. Allow the berries to soak for 10 minutes in a mixture of four parts water to one part vinegar (we normally use white vinegar). After that, give them another rinse.
You can puree your blueberries with or without sugar in a blender. Because blueberries can be a mixed bag in terms of sweetness and bitterness, enhancing the sweetness with something else can make the juice even more delightful. A dash of maple syrup is frequently added.
To improve the texture, add water to the blueberries before blending. When berries are blended without water, the result is more of a purée than a juice. For a comfortably drinking consistency, mix a cup of blueberries with a cup of water. Blend the juice until it is completely smooth.
If you still feel lumps in the mixture, use a strainer to get a smoother juice.
Blueberry juice can also be made by boiling blueberries in water. During the boiling phase, mash the juice out with a spoon, then filter. Alternatively, boil the blueberries until they are significantly softer. Then, let them cool before straining their juice through a cheesecloth laid over a basin.
Some people swear by this procedure because of its smoothness. However, it causes the berries to lose more nutrients.
Top 3 Blueberry Juice Recipes
Mixing blueberry juice with other ingredients will not only enhance the flavor but also add nutrients to this already amazing drink! Here are a few blueberry drink recipes that we have listed for you to enjoy!
Apple Blueberry Juice (4 servings)
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 2 oz blackberries
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1 tsp thyme leaves
- 2 cups ice
- 16 oz apple juice
- 8 oz blueberries
- Rinse blueberries and drain well. Put them in a blender and blend until completely smooth.
- Put a strainer over a bowl and cover with a cheesecloth. Pour the blended blueberries over the cheesecloth. Gather the edges of the cloth. Then, twist and squeeze to extract clear blueberry juice. Set aside and discard the skin.
- In a pitcher, combine all the ingredients. Stir well.
- To serve, divide the drink into four glasses filled with ice. Top with mint leaves.
Recipe Source: Healthy Recipes 101
- ¼ pineapple
- 1 cup blueberries
- 1 piece fresh ginger (¼ to ½ inch)
- Cut large produce into chunks, and remove any big seeds or pits. Don't worry about the core or seeds in fruits like apples and pears. The juicer will filter them out.
- To combine several fruits and vegetables, alternate between soft pieces and hard ones. Finish with the latter to push through anything that's stuck.
Recipe Source: Martha Stewart
Milk Blueberry Juice (8 servings)
- 1 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen
- ¼ cup sugar
- ⅔ cup water
- 2 cups milk
- Cook blueberries with sugar and water over medium heat. After boiling, let simmer for 10-15 minutes until the mixture thickens. Remove from heat.
- Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer. Refrigerate.
- Whisk the blueberry syrup with cold milk, and serve.
Although blueberries have very impressive benefits, they might not be good for some. Aside from the fact that blueberries may stain your teeth due to their natural blue color, they can also cause hypoglycemia since they naturally lower blood sugar levels, as discussed earlier. Moreover, blueberries also contain salicylates, which reduce pain, yet cause reactions to those allergic to it.
If you don't enjoy the taste of blueberries, you can take a supplement that contains blueberry powder or an extract of its beneficial compounds instead. However, before starting a blueberry supplementation, speak with your healthcare provider. Some blueberry supplements may also contain other ingredients that could mix with medications you're taking or aggravate medical issues.