Wild blueberry found to improve gut health
(NaturalHealth365) Many nutrition studies remind us that our digestive tract and gut health is the foundation of a strong immune system. In fact, an ideal balance of positive gut bacteria is crucial in keeping us healthy, especially as we age. Which is why we’ll talk about the health benefits of wild blueberry – today.
One of the most beneficial bacteria types for gut health is bifidobacteria. This helpful gut bacteria colonizes the digestive tract shortly after birth and helps to support the immune system. Reduction in bifidobacteria levels can occur with age, increasing the risk of improper bowel functioning, infections, and general ill health.
So, what does this have to do with wild blueberry? (I’m glad you asked … keep reading)
It’s important to be proactive about your gut health
Proper eating habits and nutrition are key to continued gut health. Research is now showing that one of the top foods for intestinal health and optimal balance in gut flora is the wild blueberry.
Blueberries are already well known for their high content of antioxidants and other life-sustaining compounds and vitamins. The benefits of eating blueberries regularly include improved vision, weight loss, cardiovascular health, urinary tract health and better brain functioning. However, 2013 research has found that consuming wild blueberries can also help to support ideal levels of the important bifidobacteria in the gut.
This study of wild blueberry consumption on gut health included 15 males between ages 37 and 55 who were healthy except for having one or more risk factors for cardiovascular disease. These men ate either the equivalent of one cup of wild blueberries (25 grams freeze-dried wild blueberry mixed in a drink), or a placebo daily for 6 weeks.
Daily wild blueberry consumption supports healthy bifidobacteria levels
Wild blueberries contains around 375 milligrams of a type of antioxidants called anthocyanins. After an additional six week flush out period, the groups switched their intake. (wild blueberries vs. placebo)
The men studied maintained their previous lifestyle and diet patterns throughout the study, but abstained from other foods containing the anthocyanin compound. The participants’ bifidobacteria levels were measured before and after each six week study period.
The blueberry benefits to gut health quickly became clear. Bifidobacteria levels rose significantly within the digestive tract when subjects were consuming the equivalent of one cup of wild blueberries per day. After six weeks, bifidobaceterium levels were raised by 6.7 percent in the wild blueberry eaters compared with a 1.7 percent decrease in the placebo group.
A closer look: Blueberry benefits just keeps growing
Bifidobaceterium gut bacteria has numerous benefits for overall health, including reducing inflammation and improving digestion, even in persons afflicted with celiac disease. Wild blueberries contain the beneficial compounds prebiotics, which help to nourish healthy intestinal bacteria and support and sustain gut health.
With the highest antioxidant content of all fruits and numerous other blueberry benefits, this potent superfood should be on everyone’s grocery list. Favor organic, wild blueberries whenever possible, and strive to eat them (or add them to your smoothie) at least four times per week.
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