Blueberries: Benefits, Side Effects, Dosages, and Interactions

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Blueberries are a fruit closely related to blueberries native to Europe. Blueberries, also known as cranberries, blueberries, or European blueberries, are often eaten fresh or in jams, juices, or tarts. Blueberries are also available in powder, juice, or supplement form.

What are blueberries used for?

Rich in antioxidants known as anthocyanins and polyphenols, blueberries are used medicinally, from eye conditions to diabetes .

Blueberries are often touted as a remedy for eye conditions such as glaucoma , cataracts , dry eyes , age-related macular degeneration, and retinitis pigmentosa.

As a source of antioxidants, blueberries are believed to reduce inflammation and protect against diseases associated with oxidative stress, such as inflammatory bowel disease, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, gingivitis, and age-related cognitive decline.

The anthocyanins in blueberries are believed to reduce inflammation and stabilize collagen-containing tissues such as cartilage, tendons, and ligaments.

Blueberries are believed to strengthen blood vessel walls and are sometimes taken internally for varicose veins and hemorrhoids .

So far, very few studies have tested the health effects of blueberries. However, there is some evidence that it shows promise for treating certain conditions. Here are some findings from the available research:

Tired eyes

Blueberries show promise for treating eye fatigue, according to a small study published in the Journal of Nutrition, Health and Aging . In a trial involving 281 people using video terminals, researchers determined that cranberry extract treatment could help improve both goals. and subjective measurements of eye fatigue.

Other eye diseases

Preliminary research suggests that bilberry extract may play an important role in treating retinal and other eye conditions. For example, in animal studies, blueberries have been found to protect retinal cells from degeneration .

Gingivitis (inflammation of the gums)

Blueberries may help control gum disease in people with gingivitis, according to a study published in the International Journal of Molecular Science . Study participants consumed 250 grams of blueberries, 500 grams of blueberries, or a placebo. or you received standard care for seven days. Researchers concluded that 500 grams of blueberries reduce gum inflammation.

Possible side effects.

Although blueberries are generally considered safe when consumed in amounts commonly found in food, allergic reactions can occur.

Blueberries naturally contain substances known as tannins (found in many foods such as coffee, tea, red wine, blueberries, blueberries, chocolate, and some nuts and beans). If you are allergic or sensitive to foods that contain tannin, you should avoid blueberries.

The safety of long-term or high-dose use of blueberry supplements is unknown. Some experts warn that consuming large amounts of highly concentrated blueberry supplements can lead to side effects associated with excess tannin consumption .

Blueberry fruit and leaf extracts can lower blood sugar levels.

Pregnant and lactating women should avoid blueberry extracts as the safety is unknown.

It is important to remember that supplements are not tested for safety, adverse reactions are often underreported, and dietary supplements are largely unregulated .

Anthocyanins can inhibit the effects of medications such as anticancer drugs, antibiotics, beta-blockers, and arthritis medications. Theoretically, a high intake of flavonoids from blueberry supplements could increase the risk of bleeding when taking blood-thinning medications such as warfarin, NSAIDs, and aspirin, or when taken by people with blood clotting disorders .

You can get more advice on supplement use, but it's important to note that self-medication for a disease and refusing or delaying standard treatment for any medical condition (such as glaucoma) can have serious consequences. If you are considering trying blueberry supplements, first speak with your doctor to weigh the pros and cons and discuss whether this is right for you.

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Dosage and preparation

There is not enough scientific evidence to determine the recommended dosage for blueberries. A typical dose of dried ripe berries is 20 to 60 grams per day. Sources also point out that some consumers drink blueberry tea made with 5-10 grams (1-2 teaspoons) of blueberry puree.

Various quantities have been studied in the course of research . The dose that is right for you may depend on factors such as your age, gender, weight, and medical history. Talk to your doctor for personalized advice

What to look for

You can find blueberries fresh, frozen, dried, powdered, or in packaged foods like jams. Aside from fresh berries, you can try adding frozen or grated blueberries to smoothies, or using them in a sauce or canned food.

Cranberry supplements and cranberry extract are sold in tablets, capsules, and drops. The berries are also sold dried and powdered. The teas are made from blueberry leaves.

If you decide to purchase a blueberry supplement, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) recommends that you look for the supplement label on the product you purchase. This label will contain important information, including the amount of active ingredients per serving and other added ingredients (such as fillers, binders, and flavors).

Finally, the organization invites you to search for a product that has been approved by a third-party quality testing organization. These organizations include the United States Pharmacopeia, ConsumerLab.com, and NSF International. A seal of approval from one of these organizations does not guarantee the safety or efficacy of a product, but does provide assurance that the product has been manufactured correctly, contains the ingredients listed on the label, and does not contain harmful levels of contaminants.

While blueberries should not be used as a substitute for standard treatment or preventive measures for any medical condition, in some cases, eating more blueberries (or other anthocyanin-rich fruits) can have some protective benefits.

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