Blueberries, polyphenols and gut health

Blueberries appear to offer a wide range of benefits including supporting guthealth.

Blueberries polyphenols and gut health
Polyphenol rich blueberries aid gut health

Being a meditation scientist I often write about lifestyle choices that support augmented brain function and structure. As a general rule food that is associated with a healthy brain also positively correlates with improved general health and well-being. So having just blogged an article explaining how blueberry consumption can reduce effective brain age by up to 2.5 years I looked up potential relationships between blueberries and the gut microbiome.

Berries in general and blueberries in particular are good natural sources of polyphenols and therefore limit the effect of oxidisation, a cause of cell damage. But we also know that polyphenols lead to a healthier gut through the creation of metabolites which in turn support communities of beneficial bacteria.

As we age, chronic diseases become more likely1, when low grade inflammation is an underlying factor scientists refer to this as the “inflammaging” syndrome. In gut health inflammaging is linked to a weakening of a number of internal systems (homeostasis) including a reduction in the efficiency of the immune barrier. In experiments with mice it was suggested that polyphenols reduced intestinal inflammation and led to the modulation of the gut microbiota. The evidence is that berries are rich sources of polyphenols and so are likely to have a positive impact upon chronic diseases linked to gut health, particularly in older populations.

According to the Blueberry Council the benefits of blueberries extend beyond inflammaging.

  • Experiments have demonstrated an improved insulin response in blueberry-fed mice when compared to controls.
  • Further evidence for augmented cognitive function in animals and humans has been found.
  • There are also preliminary studies supporting a relationship between blueberry consumption and reduced growth in cancerous cells.

assorted sliced fruits in white ceramic bowl

Polyphenol is found in a wide range of fruit and vegetables as well as nuts and pulses. Here are some of the top 100 food sources of polyphenol according to a study published in 20102.

  • Cloves – 15,188mg per 100g serving
  • Cocoa powder – 3,448mg per 100g serving
  • Lowbush blueberry – 836mg per 100g serving
  • Black olive – 569mg per 100g serving
  • Plum – 377mg per 100g serving
  • Soy, tempeh – 148mg per 100g serving
  • Apple – 136mg per 100g serving
  • Spinach – 119mg per 100g serving
  • Pumpkin – 60mg per 100g serving
  • Soy milk – 18mg per 100ml serving

 

Notes

https://academic.oup.com

2 https://www.researchgate.net

Header Photo by Olga on Pexels.com, fruit photo by Trang Doan on Pexels.com.