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Detox Food and Drink Series:
Blueberries for Detox

Blueberries are among a handful of readily accessible berries in the United States. They are packed with healthful polyphenols and other compounds that contribute to their ability to protect the body from toxins. (*1) 

Thanks to their delicious flavor and familiarity, blueberries are one of the simplest foods to add if you’re looking for foods that help your body to detox. They can be found fresh or frozen year-round in most grocery stores in the US, and they are easy to eat on their own, add to foods like yogurt or oatmeal, or include in a creative recipe. 

Blueberries: An Overview 

Blueberries are a crop grown throughout much of the United States, including California, Florida, Washington, and New Jersey.2 They are well-known for not only their sweet taste but also their impressive health benefits. 

When compared to extracts of spinach and strawberries, one study on animals found that blueberries were equally as effective at reversing age-related behavioral and mental decline, while exhibiting greater efficacy at improving motor function. (*1)

While often overlooked in favor of more exotic berries when it comes to health benefits, these tiny berries are packed full of nutrients that have been found to exhibit a wide array of healthful effects. 

Blueberries Protect the Liver and Enhance Detoxification

detox with blueberries

When it comes to promoting the removal of toxins and protecting against toxic damage, animal studies have found blueberries to be quite effective. (*1,3,4)

One study on mice found that blueberries increased the expression of numerous antioxidant components found in the liver, including Nrf2, a transcription factor that is important for the regulation of detoxification and antioxidant systems.3,5 This study suggests that blueberries can help protect liver health and function through boosting antioxidant potential in the liver. 

Another study on hamsters found that blueberry extract slowed the development of cancer through enhanced expression of Nrf2 and the upregulation of cytoprotective enzymes (those that protect cells from damage by chemical compounds). (*4) This study showed that blueberries encourage the development of compounds in the body that protect cells from toxic damage. 

How Many Blueberries Should I Eat?

antioxidants in blueberries

As an easy-to-access, tasty, and extremely healthful food, there is no reason to limit your blueberry consumption. One easy way to get them any time of year is to purchase frozen blueberries and include them in a variety of recipes. You can add them to yogurt or sprinkle them on cereal, make smoothies with them, incorporate them into baked goods, or even slightly defrost them and enjoy them on their own. 

Final Thoughts

Every year it seems like there is a new superfood berry that’s being touted for its impressive health benefits. Don’t let these exotic berries make you forget about one of the local berries that packs its own nutritional punch. Blueberries are easy to find, delicious, and can help protect your body from damage caused by toxins. Try adding blueberries to your daily menu as both a treat and a detox tool. 

antioxidants blueberries

Resourceshideshow
1. Blueberry polyphenols increase lifespan and thermotolerance in Caenorhabditis elegans

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1413581/

3. Effect of blueberry on hepatic and immunological functions in mice

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20382588/

4. Chemopreventive effects of diverse dietary phytochemicals against DMBA-induced hamster buccal pouch carcinogenesis via the induction of Nrf2-mediated cytoprotective antioxidant, detoxification, and DNA repair enzymes

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23707664/

5. Modulation of metabolic detoxification pathways using foods and food-derived components: a scientific review with clinical application

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4488002/