The blueberry — it is the tiny fruit that could.
“I’ve really had the opportunity to see interest in blueberries and health expand over the past decade,” said Dr. Wilhelmina Kalt, a research scientist with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada.
Early blueberry buzz swirled around the fruit’s antioxidant potential. Recent research is unveiling some potential new powers in this superberry’s arsenal.
A blueberry’s antioxidant potential comes from compounds called flavonoids. Now, however, it seems flavonoids don’t stay in our bodies long enough to act effectively as antioxidants. “They’re not really absorbed that well,” says Kalt.
What flavonoids are doing, however, is acting as anti-inflammatory agents. They’re there long enough to trigger “cell-signalling cascades,” which stymie inflammation. “Think about it as flipping switches,” Kalt explains.
“Flavonoids are around just long enough to flip switches and have some anti-inflammatory benefit.”
This has exciting repercussions, says Kalt. Chronic inflammation is at the root of several degenerative diseases, like Alzheimer’s and diabetes.
Dessert Waffles with Spiced Blueberry Sauce