Have You Heard? Blueberries Touted as a “Secret Weapon” Against Pre-Diabetes

Blueberries truly earn their superfood status when it comes to fighting Type II Diabetes.

Blueberries are a healthy, nutritional choice for everyone, but they are especially good for those who may become Type II Diabetics, labelled as “pre-diabetics,” according to an article on DiabetesHealth.com. In the study, which was conducted by the Pennington Biomedical Research Center (PBRC), blueberries were shown to “improve factors related to pre-diabetes,” according to the article. Type II Diabetes is accompanied by a host of serious health consequences, such as blindness, poor circulation, organ failure, and premature death. In the article, Type II Diabetes is labelled as a “public health crisis” in the U.S. See details of the study below, and links to recipes for blueberry smoothies, the blueberry delivery method of choice used in the study.

Blueberries and Type II Diabetes

Diabetes is a condition whereby the body does not process the sugars found in all foods as well as non-diabetics. In Type I Diabetics, or Juvenile On-set Diabetes, it is believed that an autoimmune problem caused the body's cells to attack the pancreas, which makes the insulin needed to process sugar to usable energy. Type II Diabetics on the other hand, are believed to suffer insulin resistance due to poor diet and exercise. Often, changes in diet, exercise, and excess body fat can reverse Type II Diabetes. This is where blueberries can be so effective, according to the study.

Published in the October edition of The Journal of Nutrition, the study utilized subjects with insulin resistance, one of the symptoms of pre-diabetes. Half of the study’s 36 obese subjects were instructed to consume a blueberry smoothie twice a day, and the other half were given non-blueberry smoothies that were as “equally nutritious.” After six weeks, the subjects consuming the blueberry smoothies showed improved insulin sensitivity. Researchers believe that the blueberries work to lower the chronic low-grade inflammation related to obesity that contributes to insulin resistance in the first place.

While the study doesn’t show that blueberries will reverse Type II Diabetes, it is a step in the right direction. Steven Heymsfield, PBRC Executive Director, is quoted in the article as saying “This is an excellent example of the importance of clinical trials to building our knowledge-base in helping to improve public health.”

Healthy Blueberry Smoothies

Smoothies are an excellent way to get more blueberries in your diet, and they are enjoyed by people of all ages. They also allow for the use of frozen blueberries, which is important during the winter months when blueberries are expensive because they are being imported. Make sure you choose smoothie recipes that avoid sugar or unnecessary calories, such as those that use ice cream or have a lot of additional sugar in the ingredients. You can always use a sugar substitute in any recipe you choose.

Try this Blueberry Oat Smoothie recipe from the U.S Highbush Blueberry Council, or one of the many smoothie recipes on the Blueberries from Florida Pinterest recipe boards. Enjoying blueberries is one of the best, and tastiest, steps anyone can take towards better health.