Are blueberries good for your eyes? You bet. Blueberries are one of the healthiest foods for eyesight. They have important nutrients that protect your eyes and may even help ward off certain diseases.
If you need a reason to eat them more often, well, we have five. Read on to discover the health benefits of blueberries and why you should always have a fresh supply of them.
1. Blueberries Have Anthocyanins
Don’t let the name discourage you. Anthocyanins are powerful antioxidants that have several eye health benefits. They also happen to be the pigment that gives blueberries their color.
Anthocyanins help protect the retina at the back of the eye against damage caused by UV light from the sun. They also support the collagen structure of the retina, which is important for preserving normal vision as you age.
Anthocyanins may also help keep the delicate blood vessels in the eye healthy and reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration.
What’s more, there’s some evidence that they may improve vision after exposure to bright light in people with existing eye disorders.
Wild blueberries are one of the richest known sources of anthocyanins. Commercial or highbush blueberries are also a potent source of these antioxidants, providing more antioxidants than other berries.
Tip: Buy whenever possible lowbush or wild blueberries, which are usually smaller in size, and sometimes have a more intense color. They pack more antioxidants than highbush or commercially grown varieties.
2. Blueberries Have Other Flavonoids
Flavonoids are a type of antioxidant. More specifically, they are plant pigments that help regulate cellular activity. Anthocyanins are one type of flavonoids, but blueberries have others as well.
A study involving 10,054 men and women found that people with a high flavonoid intake had a lower risk of developing cataracts. A leading cause of blindness worldwide, cataracts occur when the normally clear lens of the eye begins to cloud.
Flavonoids have a host of other benefits for the entire body, including lowering blood pressure and possibly reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes, stroke, and heart attack. The health benefits of blueberries are in no way limited to eye health!
3. Blueberries Have Vitamin C
According to the Mayo Clinic, half a cup of blueberries packs 25% of the recommended daily value of vitamin C. And that’s important because vitamin C is one of the key nutrients for eye health.
The body needs it to make the protein collagen, one of the constituents of the eye. Vitamin C also helps protect your eyes from free radicals.
What’s more, a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition associated a regular intake of this vitamin with a lower risk of cataracts.
Good to know: Blueberries are less acidic than citrus fruits, which means they are less likely to damage the enamel that protects your teeth. Antioxidants in blueberries may actually help reduce tooth decay.
4. Blueberries Have Anti-Diabetic Properties and May Lower Blood Pressure
Blueberries and eyesight are linked in yet another way. Diabetic retinopathy is one of the leading causes of blindness worldwide. It’s a complication of type 2 diabetes that occurs when high blood sugar levels damage the retina.
Blueberries can reduce the rate of glucose entering the bloodstream. Bioactive compounds in blueberries have been shown to improve insulin sensitivity. More research is needed to understand how this occurs exactly.
If you don’t have diabetes, blueberries are a safe treat to eat compared to foods with a higher glycemic index. If you already have the condition, eating blueberries in moderation could help you better manage it.
These tiny little fruits may also help with managing blood pressure. A 2015 study on postmenopausal women concluded that daily blueberry consumption may reduce blood pressure. A previous study on overweight men and women had similar findings.
High blood pressure or hypertension often goes undiagnosed. It can damage blood vessels throughout the body, including the delicate blood vessels that provide nutrients and oxygen to the eyes.
5. Blueberries May Help with Dry Eyes
Blueberry benefits for the eyes don’t end there. A 2016 study found that Pterostilbene, a component in blueberries, helps protect from inflammation cells in the cornea at the front of the eye.
When introduced to epithelial cells, the blueberry component reduced oxidative damage levels. This, in turn, helped lower inflammation.
Inflammation is one of the contributing factors leading to dry eye disease, a condition that affects tear production and tear quality.
Tears naturally lubricate the surface of the eye and protect it from infection. In people with dry eye disease, the tear film evaporates too quickly, leaving the surface of the eye feeling dry and gritty.
Dry eye disease may occur at any age. Digital eye strain only makes it worse. More than 16 million Americans have dry eyes, according to the American Optometric Association.
How to Eat More Blueberries
Fresh blueberries make for an easy and healthy snack that gives you a good excuse to take a break from your computer. But there are plenty of other ways to incorporate these healthy fruits into your diet.
Fresh, frozen, or dried, blueberries are easy to add to all your meals. Add them to oatmeal and yogurt for breakfast. To cheese flatbread or healthy salads for lunch. Use them for savory dinner sauces you can enjoy with grilled fish. Or add them to salsas.
You can also bake blueberry pies, muffins, and breads. And mix them with nuts and dried fruits to create healthy homemade snacks.
Blueberries can also add color and flavor to smoothies. In the blender, they go smoothly with bananas, apple juice, and Greek yogurt or almond milk.
And don’t forget to try out the healthy and delicious 5-minute vegan blueberry and chia seed pudding recipe for eye health. It’s great for breakfast or as a treat at any time during the day.
Tip: Keep a fresh supply of blueberries in your kitchen and place them where you’ll see them. That way you can easily throw some into salads, add them to yogurt, or simply snack on them. With blueberries as with most other fruits, out of sight could mean out of mind!
Try Out Our Blueberry Gummies
Blueberry Gummies are a quick and easy way to enjoy the health benefits of blueberries. Our sugar-free gummies are made from Canadian freeze-dried blueberries and sweetened with monk fruit. A diabetes-friendly sweetener, monk fruit doesn’t raise blood sugar levels.
They’re rich in anthocyanins and other antioxidants to help support overall vision. Take them at the office, at home, and when you travel for a healthy dose of all the key blueberry benefits.
Keep your eyes happy with the Blueberry Gummies.