What, you may ask, do pain and a blueberry have to do with each other? I’m glad you asked! In this article I will discuss pain and the antioxidants in a blueberry. And why you might want to add blueberries to your daily diet.
I’m assuming you are here reading this article because you have pain. And are looking for ways to reduce this pain. I have pain also. Chronic pain. Every day. It interferes with my sleep and has seriously impacted my activities and routines.
Not a day goes by without pain. So naturally I think about pain a lot. You too? Well, I hope this article might give you some relief. Because apparently antioxidants can help relieve pain. And the blueberry is full of them. Let’s lay some groundwork.
What is an Antioxidant?
Antioxidants are molecules. They fight free radicals in your body. OK. Clear now? No? Me either.
A molecule is “a group of atoms bonded together, representing the smallest fundamental unit of a chemical compound that can take part in a chemical reaction”. (Lexico) H2O is a molecule. So are antioxidants.
For more information about antioxidants, here’s an easy to understand article from Healthline called Antioxidants Explained in Simple Terms.
What are Free Radicals?
Free radicals are compounds that harm your body if they are too numerous. Your body always has free radicals floating around, but if there are too many of them, things get out of balance and can lead to serious illness or other issues.
For instance when fighting an infection, your body utilizes the immune system which sends free radicals out. Those are helpful free radicals. But too many can lead to what is called oxidative stress and this can lead to possible cell death.
There is some science that says that free radicals cause inflammation. Inflammation in joints and other parts of the body is not good. Inflammation causes the pain of arthritis. It also causes nerve pain.
So you have free radicals causing pain and then you have antioxidants fighting the free radicals.
And where can you get some natural antioxidants? In the beautiful blueberry!
How Does the Blueberry Fight Pain?
Antioxidants fight free radicals. Inflammation is caused by free radicals. While some free radicals are helpful, too many are not good. This is the case with Rheumatoid Arthritis. Having a diet rich in fresh fruit and vegetables provides your body with natural antioxidants. One of those wonderful fruits is the blueberry.
There have been limited studies on the relation of antioxidants to pain. But the results of the one study I read were very promising. A study reported by the NIH stated that joint pain and swelling was decreased and health increased with the addition of antioxidants in the diet. (In this study; 20 grams of antioxidant enriched margarine.) See the abstract here.
On another scientific note, this article claims that in the future pain killers may contain antioxidants. Click here to view the article.
Antioxidants in blueberries.
According to WebMD, one cup of wild blueberries has over 13,000 total antioxidants. This is 10 times the USDA’s recommendation for Vitamin C, which is an antioxidant and which blueberries have. Cultivated blueberries have over 9,000, so you are still getting a great amount.
From what I can conclude through my research, blueberries have the most antioxidants of any food.
Because it is a fruit, the blueberry is a natural source of dietary fiber, which helps keep your intestinal tract working properly. One cup provides 14% of the RDA for fiber. Finally, they are a really tasty treat that can be eaten right off the bush! Or put in yogurt, or muffins or a pie!
What About Blueberry Juice?
While rich in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, you are getting more sugar without the benefit of the fiber. Consuming whole fruits is always preferable to fruit juice for those reasons.
It is further recommended that you get your vitamins and minerals from food instead of supplements. On that note, I wrote an article about a great cookbook called Happy Foods. The author is a nutritionist that provides recipes to help you feel better. Check out the link here.
What Other Foods are Rich in Antioxidants?
Although blueberries score the highest, other foods that are rich in them are:
- Dark chocolate
- Red cabbage
This is a small list. There are other foods that have antioxidants, but these top ones are the best sources. Making small changes is easy, and eating these foods will boost your antioxidants and hopefully help manage your pain.
How Do You Eat Your Blueberries?
I make a yogurt smoothie every day. I eat Greek yogurt because of the live bacteria, which help my tummy. (I have digestive issues also.) So of course I put blueberries in for my fruit. I add almond milk, a little natural peanut butter and real maple syrup for a sweetener.
I’m not recommending any recipes here, because I don’t bake much. And most recipes I find are high in sugar. Which I am trying to cut back on.
One way I eat them is with cantaloupe. The two different tastes go really well together. The other way I consume them is just to snack on them. They are a great treat all by themselves. And as I eat them I know I am providing maximum nutrition to my body.
How do you get your blueberry requirements?
I would like to know what you think of this information, or if you have something to add to it. We all need to help each other in our struggles with pain. If you have suggestions for other topics I am also open to that. Please comment.
I am not a medical professional. I just spend a good amount of time researching how to feel better despite my pain. And how to be healthier. Please speak to your doctor about what I have said before you make any changes to your diet or other changes.
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