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What are blueberries?

The blueberry (vaccinium myrtillus) was one of the first foods to be titled a ‘superfood’. There are many varieties growing in different regions of the world; the berries grow in clusters on shrubby bushes and can range in size.

Cultivated blueberries are sweeter than wild berries; however, they all share the same characteristic deep blue-purple colour, thin translucent skin and tiny seeds.

Discover our full range of health benefit guides and read about the about the health benefits of other berries, such as cranberry and cranberry juice, raspberries and strawberries. Then, check out some of our brilliant blueberry recipes and blueberry pancake recipes.

Read on to discover the health benefits of blueberries:

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  • Potential health-protective benefits
  • May help manage blood pressure
  • May reduce the risk of heart disease
  • May help regulate blood sugar
  • May help maintain eye health
  • May support immunity
  • May reduce gastrointestinal symptoms
  • May ease urinary tract infection symptoms
  • May reduce muscle damage after exercise
  • Could promote healthy ageing

Nutritional benefits of blueberries

80g of blueberries provides:

  • 32 kcals/135KJ
  • 0.7g protein
  • 0.2g fat
  • 7.3g carbohydrates
  • 1.2g fibre
  • 53mg potassium
  • 0.75mg vitamin E
  • 5mg vitamin C

An 80g serving of blueberries contributes one of your five-a-day.

Orange & blueberry Bircher in two glasses

What are the top 10 health benefits of blueberries?

1. May be protective

Blueberries have one of the highest antioxidant levels among commonly consumed fruit and vegetables. This is typically referred to as the ORAC score. They are extremely rich in naturally occurring plant compounds called phytochemicals, such as ellagic acid and anthocyanidins. These phytochemicals are responsible for the blue, indigo and red colouring of the berry. They have also been extensively researched for their protective properties.

2. May help manage blood pressure

Research has shown that anthocyanidins, which are found in berry fruits, may support the cardiovascular system. They appear to do this by supporting the health of blood vessels and reducing the arterial stiffness associated with ageing. This is especially useful for post-menopausal women.

3. May help reduce the risk of heart disease

In conjunction with helping manage blood pressure, the phytochemicals in blueberries have been seen to prevent oxidative damage to cholesterol.

Observational studies also suggest that diets rich in anthocyanins may help lower the risk of heart attacks. However, more studies are needed to confirm these findings.

4. May help regulate blood sugar

Blueberries are both low in sugar and a good source of fibre; as a result, they have a low glycaemic index (GI). This, together with their high flavonoid content, may help improve insulin sensitivity, which is important for managing blood sugar levels.

5. May help maintain eye health

Including blueberries in your diet regularly may improve vision and guard against age-related macular degeneration. This is thought to be thanks to the improved blood and oxygen flow to the eyes, and the antioxidant protection that may help reduce the likelihood of cataract and macular degeneration.

6. May support immune health

Being rich in phytochemicals, vitamins and fibre, blueberries support the health of the gut, which is home to 70 per cent of our immune system. Research demonstrates a beneficial effect on the gut microbiota, the community of beneficial bacteria that live in our gut and play an important role in the induction and training of the immune system.

7. May reduce gastrointestinal symptoms

Studies suggest the polyphenol and fibre content of blueberries may help relieve gut symptoms and improve general well-being in those with abdominal symptoms from gut disorders.

8. May ease urinary tract infection symptoms

Many people turn to berries such as cranberries to help prevent urinary tract infections (UTI). Blueberries contain similar compounds to those in cranberries. These compounds may help prevent the bacteria responsible for UTIs from adhering to the bladder wall; however, this is not effective for all people, and studies suggest there may be other mechanisms at play.

9. May reduce muscle damage after exercise

Strenuous physical activity or exercise may lead to soreness and inflammation. Consuming blueberries in a smoothie, for example, before and after such an event may help promote recovery and reduce inflammatory markers.

Try your own blueberry smoothie.

10. May promote healthy ageing

A number of studies suggest that both whole blueberries, their juice and the concentrated powdered form may help reduce oxidative damage. Such damage is an inevitable part of everyday life, but is a key driver in ageing and the development of disease.

Are blueberries safe for everyone to eat?

Blueberries, along with fruits such as apples, peaches, avocados and raspberries, contain natural chemicals called salicylates. Some people are sensitive to these compounds, and may experience an allergic reaction, including skin rash and swelling.

If you are concerned about food allergies, please consult your GP or registered dietitian for guidance.

Are blueberries good for you?

Nutrient-rich and low in calories, as long as you do not have an allergy to the fruit, blueberries make a valuable addition to your diet. Enjoy fresh when in season, or try frozen or dried.

Blueberry recipe suggestions

Apple & blueberry bircher
Chicken & avocado salad with blueberry balsamic dressing
Get up and go breakfast muffins
Instant frozen berry yogurt
Heart helper smoothie

This article was reviewed on 12 June 2023 by Kerry Torrens.

Jo Lewin is a registered nutritionist (RNutr) with the Association for Nutrition with a specialism in public health. Follow her on Twitter @nutri_jo.


All health content on is provided for general information only, and should not be treated as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or any other health care professional. If you have any concerns about your general health, you should contact your local health care provider. See our website terms and conditions for more information.

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