You may know blueberries as those tiny, blue fruits you add to smoothies or yogurt. But did you know blueberries are actually one of the healthiest fruits you can eat? They fall into the nutrient-dense food category, meaning they have high amounts of vitamins and minerals, with very little calories. Some of the vitamins include vitamin K, vitamin C, vitamin B6 and vitamin E. They also contain magnesium, copper, iron, protein and lots of fiber. These nutritional elements, along with many others, are what make blueberries packed full with health benefits. So why should you eat them and what can they do to help you? In terms of disease prevention, blueberries help maintain bone strength, structure, and elasticity. This prevents arthritis and leads to lower risks of bone fractures. The potassium, calcium, and magnesium in blueberries also help to lower blood pressure and ultimately reduce the risk of diabetes. For those who currently have diabetes, eating blueberries can help regulate and improve blood sugar and insulin levels. Blueberries have also been found to reduce the risk of heart disease. The vitamin B6 and folate present in the blueberries help prevent buildup of the compound homocysteine, which has been linked to a blood vessel and heart problems. A study conducted at Harvard School of Public Health found that consuming blueberries reduced the risk of heart attacks by 32% in middle-aged women. Incredibly enough, blueberries also seem to have cancer-fighting properties. Certain compounds found in blueberries, such as pterostillbene, ellagic acid and anthocyanin are thought to be the active ingredients to cancer prevention. Several studies conducted found blueberries to stop the growth of breast cancer cells as well as stomach, prostate and intestine cancer. Eating blueberries is also a great way to lose weight and maintain healthy, youthful skin. The fiber in blueberries promotes healthy digestion which is an important factor when trying to lose weight. Fiber also helps you feel more full and reduces appetite. The vitamin C in blueberries is essential to producing collagen which is the main component in healthy skin. Collagen improvement leads to smoother and fuller looking skin. Antioxidants in blueberries also help protect your skin from free radical damage that leads to wrinkles and age spots. If you want to improve your mental health and boost brain functions, then blueberries can help. The antioxidants present in blueberries protect the brain from free radicals and also promote healthy aging. The antioxidants have also been shown to interact directly with areas of the brain associated with intelligence. By interacting with certain neurons they are able to slow aging and even improve cellular function. Studies have shown that eating blueberries can improve cognitive performance as well as slow down memory loss in older adults. As you can see, blueberries are a powerhouse of essential nutrients, vitamins and minerals. By consuming only a cup of blueberries per day you can drastically reduce your risk of common diseases such as heart failure, diabetes, arthritis, Alzheimer’s and even cancer. You can also improve digestion, stimulate weight loss, boost your mental health and improve the look and feel of your skin. The next time you’re at your local market, pick up a pack of blueberries and start your journey towards better health.