Blueberries Good, Wild Blueberries Better
Blueberries are healthy. We know this. They're a great source of phytochemicals called polyphenols, which is one of things that make most "super foods" so super.
Now researchers are breaking it down further and figuring out exactly what type of blueberries are the most healthful. Answer: wild or "neotropical" blueberries found in Mexico, Central and South America. They contain more of all the good stuff already found in blueberries, like antioxidants.
Inhibit Fat Cell Formation?
Now it gets more interesting. We know that blueberries can be helpful in the fight against metabolic syndrome: inflammation, glucose intolerance, insulin resistance, not looking very good naked, etc. Researcher Shiwani Moghe, MS, has gone a step further, investigating whether blueberry polyphenols play a role in adipocyte differentiation.
Adipocyte differentiation is the process in which an unspecialized cell acquires specialized features of an adipocyte, a cell specialized for the synthesis and storage of body fat. "I wanted to see if using blueberry polyphenols could inhibit obesity at a molecular stage," said Moghe. Plant polyphenols have been shown to fight adipogenesis (the development of fat cells) and induce lipolysis (the breakdown of lipids/fat).
Three groups of mice were given different amounts of blueberry polyphenols and a fourth group was used as a control. The mice that chowed down on polyphenols exhibited a suppression of adipocyte differentiation. The highest dose of blueberry polyphenols yielded a 73% decrease in lipids. The control group got nothin'.
In another study, researchers at the University of Maine concluded that eating wild blueberries reduced "chronic inflammation and improved the abnormal lipid profile and gene expression associated with metabolic syndrome." While this study was done on fat rats, the researchers said that two cups a day of wild blueberries could have the same benefits for humans.
Eat 2 Cups a Day or Supplement
More studies need to be done, as the lab coat guys and gals always say, but it's clear that eating blueberries is a good thing, and eating wild blueberries is even better.
If you can't get your hands on two cups of wild blueberries a day, you can always supplement. Biotest Superfood contains a hefty amount of wild blueberries, along with the freeze-dried extracts of 17 other berries, fruits, and veggies. Personally, I just add a serving of Superfood to a protein shake or glass of water once per day.
- Stefano Vendrame, Aleksandra S. Kristo, Dale A. Schuschke, Dorothy Klimis-Zacas. Wild blueberry consumption affects aortic vascular function in the obese Zucker rat. Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism, 2013
- Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. "Blueberries may inhibit development of fat cells."
- Keyvan Dastmalchi, Gema Flores, Vanya Petrova, Paola Pedraza-Peñalosa, Edward J. Kennelly. Edible Neotropical Blueberries: Antioxidant and Compositional Fingerprint Analysis. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 2011