Blue is the new black for slimming effects. Blueberries, that is. Research from the University of Michigan Cardiovascular Center found a diet rich in blueberries helped obese rats lose belly fat — the kind tied to heart disease and metabolic syndrome. The berry-loving rats also experienced lower cholesterol and improved glucose control and insulin sensitivity. These factors are related to diabetes risk.
While these results were seen even when rats consumed a high-fat diet along with the blueberries, the benefits were even greater when combined with a low-fat diet. Those fed the low-fat blueberry diet also lost body weight and fat mass.
The high levels of antioxidants such as anthocyanins in blueberries may be to thank for the health benefits. Based on data from the USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging, blueberries are among the fruits with the highest antioxidant activity. Other plant foods providing rich sources of anthocyanins include cranberries, blackberries, blackcurrants, red currants, cherries, and purple grapes.
A related study showed men with risk factors for heart disease who drank wild blueberry juice for three weeks experienced slight improvements in glucose and insulin control.
Putting the Squeeze on Cancer
Research shows a host of other health benefits from blueberries, too, including cancer-fighting power. A University of Illinois study looked at flavanoids, a compound that inhibits an enzyme involved in promoting cancer. Flavanoids are found in blueberries and other fruits. Of the fruits tested, wild blueberries showed the greatest anti-cancer activity. Blueberries also contain resveratrol, another potential anti-cancer agent.
Add These to Your Bucket List
Clearly blueberries should be on your grocery list for better health and potential weight loss. Plus an entire cup of fresh blueberries only has 84 calories and nearly 4 grams of fiber. With summer here, all berries are plentiful and at peak flavor. Enjoy!
To maximize your weight loss efforts, try Reliv’s Fit3 program and products. Combined with better food choices — such as blueberries — and exercise, it can help you burn fat, maintain lean muscle and lose weight. It’s a great way to get on a healthy track.