The Subtle Power of Blueberries
The blueberry is known as the “longevity fruit” and is considered one of the greatest sources of antioxidants amongst all fruits and vegetables. They are a rich source of essential nutrients such as vitamin K, vitamin C, and the mineral manganese which helps the body process cholesterol and nutrients like carbohydrates and proteins. Vitamin K is a key nutrient in preventing blood clotting and maintaining healthy bones. Vitamin C is an antioxidant and essential nutrient needed to form blood vessels, cartilage, muscle and collagen in the bones, and is essential in the body’s healing process .
This fruit is also rich in bioactive compounds such as flavonoids (Anthocyanins), tannins, and phenolic acids. Besides its eye health benefits, Anthocyanins, a polyphenolic compound, has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects which have been associated with increased neuronal signaling in brain centers, improved glucose disposal and memory function, and the slowing down of neurodegeneration. In addition, studies have suggested reduced depressive symptoms and lower glucose levels after consuming blueberries on a regular basis.
Blueberries and Vision Health
Blueberries have been used to treat eye disorders for many years. There are hundreds of studies demonstrating the positive effects of consuming blueberries on different eye disorders and conditions such as cataracts, retinopathy, macular degeneration, dry eye syndrome and night vision. Studies show positive effects, including improvement in retinal abnormalities, increased capillary resistance, delayed progression of lens opacity and myopia, and improved dark adaptation.
Studies have shown that blueberries can protect against photooxidation of pyridinium disretinoid A2E, an autofluorescence pigment that damages specific cells in the eye. They also promote physiological renewal and homeostasis on cultured corneal limbal epithelial cells, and can reduce symptoms of asthenopia and contrast sensitivity.
Anthocyanins have multiple benefits for vision health due to their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory mechanisms that act as restorative molecules for the development of nutraceuticals to prevent damage to the blood vessels of the light-sensitive tissue in the retina. Blueberry anthocyanins’ predominant constituents are malvidin (Mv), malvidin-3-glucoside (Mv-3-glc), and malvidin-3-galactoside (Mv-3-gal) .
Dry Eye Disease and Blueberries
Environmental factors are often implicated in dry eye syndrome including exposure to pollutants, ultraviolet (UV) radiation and ozone as well as the chronic use of eye drops containing preservatives. These factors increase oxidative stress and ocular surface inflammation which are related to dry eye syndrome.
Blueberries can bolster collagen structure in the retina and provide extra vision protection through its antioxidant mechanisms. Blueberries therefore can reduce oxidative stress, making it a perfect treatment superfood for dry eye disease.
Multiple Health Benefits of the Blueberry
There are numerous other health benefits associated with consuming blueberries on a regular basis. Blueberries neutralize free radical damage to the collagen matrix of cells and tissues that can lead to cataracts, glaucoma, varicose veins, hemorrhoids, peptic ulcers, heart disease and even cancer (15). Anthocyanins improve the composition of support structures in the veins and entire vascular system and have been shown to enhance the effects of vitamin C.
Blueberry Gummies are sweetened with extract of Monk fruit , a natural fruit that grows primarily in Southern China which has no calories and is rich in nutrients. It’s zero glycemic index makes this sweetener suitable for diabetics and people with hypertension as it won’t raise blood sugar levels ; it is also great for those who need to control their weight and/or are fighting obesity. Monk fruit contains essential oils, saccharides, proteins, vitamins and flavons, and is rich in several triterpene glycosides know as antioxidant mogrosides that have been proven to reduce disease-prone oxidative stress. The fruit has been used for centuries in traditional Chinese medicine, and in folk medicine for the treatment of several common diseases. In recent years, pharmacological studies have shown several health protective properties of monk fruit such as liver protection, anti-oxidative, anti-hyperglycemic, antiasthmatic, anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory action.
Monk fruit and Blueberries work together to potentiate the health benefits of the gummy, and ultimately become greater than the sum of its parts.