7 Delicious Blue Fruits with Powerful Health Benefits
By Makayla Meixner
Blue fruits get their vibrant color from beneficial plant compounds called polyphenols.
In particular, they're high in anthocyanins, which is a group of polyphenols that give off blue hues (1Trusted Source).
However, these compounds provide more than just color.
Research suggests that diets high in anthocyanins may promote heart health and reduce your risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, certain cancers, and other diseases (2Trusted Source).
Here are 7 delicious blue fruits with powerful health benefits.
Blueberries are tasty and packed with nutrients.
These delicious berries are also high in anthocyanins, which are potent antioxidants that help defend your cells against harm from unstable molecules called free radicals (4Trusted Source, 5Trusted Source, 6Trusted Source).
According to one study in 10 healthy men, the antioxidants provided in about 2 cups (300 grams) of blueberries may immediately protect your DNA against free radical damage (7Trusted Source).
Additionally, research indicates that diets high in anthocyanins from blueberries and other fruits and vegetables may help prevent chronic illnesses, such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, cancer, and brain conditions like Alzheimer's (8Trusted Source, 9Trusted Source, 10Trusted Source).
Blueberries are rich in essential nutrients and antioxidants, which play a role in preventing cell damage and may reduce chronic disease risk.
Blackberries are sweet and nutritious dark-blue berries that offer several health benefits.
A single cup (144 grams) of blackberries packs nearly 8 grams of fiber, 40% of the recommended Daily Value (DV) for manganese, and 34% of the DV for vitamin C (11).
The same serving also provides 24% of the DV for vitamin K, making blackberries one of the richest fruit sources of this essential nutrient (11).
Though the relationship between vitamin K and bone health is still being researched, scientists believe that a lack of vitamin K may contribute to osteoporosis, a condition in which your bones become weak and fragile (13Trusted Source).
While leafy green vegetables are highest in vitamin K, a select few fruits, such as blackberries, blueberries, and prunes, also contain ample amounts to help you meet your daily needs (3, 11, 14Trusted Source, 15).
Blackberries are loaded with fiber, manganese, and vitamin C. They're also one of the few fruits that are high in vitamin K, which plays an essential role in blood clotting and bone health.
This blue-purple fruit may help defend against the cold and flu by boosting your immune system. It's also been shown to help people recover from these illnesses faster (18Trusted Source).
Research suggests that the beneficial plant compounds in elderberries may activate healthy immune cells that help fight off cold and flu viruses (19Trusted Source).
What's more, test-tube studies indicate that concentrated elderberry extracts may fight the flu virus and prevent it from infecting cells, though this is still under investigation (20, 21Trusted Source).
In one 5-day study, taking 4 tablespoons (60 ml) of a concentrated elderberry syrup daily helped people with the flu recover an average of 4 days quicker than those who did not take the supplement (22Trusted Source).
These berries are also high in vitamins C and B6, two nutrients known to promote a healthy immune system. Just 1 cup (145 grams) of elderberries provides 58% and 20% of the DVs for vitamins C and B6, respectively (23Trusted Source, 24Trusted Source, 25).
Keep in mind that it may be best to eat these berries cooked. Raw elderberries may cause an upset stomach, particularly if eaten unripe (26).
Elderberries are a nutritious purple-blue berry popularly used as a natural remedy for cold and flu symptoms.
4. Concord Grapes
Concord grapes are a healthy, purple-blue fruit that can be eaten fresh or used to make wine, juices, and jams.
Though more research is needed, some studies show that Concord grapes and their juice may boost your immune system (28Trusted Source).
For example, one 9-week study that had people drink 1.5 cups (360 ml) of Concord grape juice daily observed increases in beneficial immune cell counts and blood antioxidant levels, compared with a placebo group (29Trusted Source).
Additionally, several smaller studies suggest that drinking Concord grape juice daily may boost memory, mood, and brain health (30Trusted Source, 31Trusted Source, 32Trusted Source, 33Trusted Source).
Purple-blue Concord grapes may boost immunity, mood, and brain health, though more studies are needed to confirm this.
5. Black Currants
Black currants are very tart berries with a deep, bluish-purple hue.
They can be eaten fresh, dried, or in jams and juices. You may also find them in dietary supplements.
Black currants are especially high in vitamin C, which is a well-known and potent antioxidant.
A single cup (112 grams) of fresh blackcurrant supplies more than two times the DV for this vitamin (34).
As an antioxidant, vitamin C helps protect against cellular damage and chronic disease. In fact, some population studies note that diets rich in this nutrient may offer significant protection against heart disease (35Trusted Source).
Blackcurrants are packed with vitamin C, a potent antioxidant that plays a vital role in your immune system and helps maintain healthy skin, bones, and teeth.
6. Damson Plums
They're high in fiber, with 1/2 cup (82 grams) packing an impressive 6 grams of this nutrient (15).
Plums also contain certain plant compounds and a type of sugar alcohol called sorbitol, which may help loosen your stools and promote more frequent bowel movements as well (42Trusted Source).
Prunes made from damson plums supply fiber, beneficial plant compounds, and the sugar sorbitol — all of which may help relieve constipation.
7. Blue Tomatoes
Blue tomatoes, also known as purple or Indigo Rose tomatoes, are grown to be high in anthocyanins (43Trusted Source).
Their high anthocyanin content gives off a purple-blue tint (44Trusted Source).
Several studies suggest that diets high in anthocyanin-rich foods may reduce inflammation, protect against heart disease, and promote eye and brain health (45Trusted Source, 46Trusted Source, 47Trusted Source, 48Trusted Source, 49Trusted Source, 50Trusted Source).
Blue tomatoes are grown to be rich in anthocyanins while retaining high amounts of other beneficial plant compounds that have been associated with a reduced risk of heart disease, stroke, and prostate cancer.
The Bottom Line
Aside from their delicious taste, blue fruits offer a wide array of health benefits.
They're nutrient-dense sources of powerful antioxidants, including vitamin C and beneficial plant compounds called anthocyanins.
To boost your health, eating a variety of blue fruits regularly may be worthwhile.
Reposted with permission from our media associate Healthline.
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By Harry Kretchmer
By 2030, almost a third of all the energy consumed in the European Union must come from renewable sources, according to binding targets agreed in 2018. Sweden is helping lead the way.
Sweden is a world leader in renewable energy consumption. Swedish Institute/World Bank
Naturally Warm<p>54% of Sweden's power comes from renewables, and is helped by its geography. With plenty of moving water and 63% forest cover, it's no surprise the <a href="https://sweden.se/nature/energy-use-in-sweden/#" target="_blank">two largest renewable power sources</a> are hydropower and biomass. And that biomass is helping support a local energy boom.</p><p>Heating is a key use of energy in a cold country like Sweden. In recent decades, as fuel oil taxes have increased, the country's power companies have turned to renewables, like biomass, to fuel local 'district heating' plants.</p><p>In Sweden these trace their <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0360544217304140#fig3" target="_blank">origins back to 1948</a>, when a power station's excess heat was first used to heat nearby buildings: steam is <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/engineering/district-heating-system" target="_blank">forced along a network of pipes</a> to wherever it's needed. Today, there are around 500 district heating systems across the country, from major cities to small villages, providing heat to homes and businesses.</p><p>District heating used to be fueled mainly from the <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0360544217304140" target="_blank">by-products of power plants</a>, waste-to-energy plants and industrial processes. These days, however, Sweden is bringing more renewable sources into the mix. And as a result of competition, this localized form of power is now the country's<a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0360544217304140#fig3" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"> home-heating market leader.</a></p>
Sweden is using smart grids to turn buildings into energy producers. Huang et al/Elsevier
Energy ‘Prosumers’<p>But Sweden doesn't stop at village-level heating solutions. Its new breed of energy-generation takes hyper-local to the next level.</p><p>One example is in the city of Ludivika where 1970s flats <a href="https://www.buildup.eu/sites/default/files/content/transforming-a-residential-building-cluster-into-electricity-prosumers-in-sweden.pdf" target="_blank">have recently been retrofitted with the latest smart energy technology</a>.</p><p>48 family apartments spread across 3 buildings have been given photovoltaic solar panels, thermal energy storage and heat pump systems. A micro energy grid connects it all, and helps charge electric cars overnight.</p><p>The result is a cluster of 'prosumer' buildings, producing rather than consuming enough power for 77% of residents' needs. With <a href="http://www.diva-portal.org/smash/get/diva2:1232060/FULLTEXT01.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">high levels of smart meter usage</a>, it's a model that looks set to spread across Sweden.</p>
<div id="d7bf9" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="8757b138d5570bec9d6aad18074a429a"><blockquote class="twitter-tweet twitter-custom-tweet" data-twitter-tweet-id="1273556364263071744" data-partner="rebelmouse"><div style="margin:1em 0">Read more about Western Harbour and book a visit: https://t.co/ujSmVs9rNK 🏡🌳🌊 https://t.co/C5PuPziqIM</div> — Smart City Sweden (@Smart City Sweden)<a href="https://twitter.com/SmartCitySweden/statuses/1273556364263071744">1592474473.0</a></blockquote></div>
Scaling Up<p>A recent development by E.ON in Hyllie, a district on the outskirts of Malmö, southern Sweden, <a href="https://www.eonenergy.com/blog/2019/February/sweden-smart-city" target="_blank">has scaled up the smart grid principle</a>. Energy generation comes from local wind, solar, biomass and waste sources.</p><p>Smart grids then balance the power, react to the weather, deploying extra power when it's colder or putting excess into battery storage when it's warm. The system is not only more efficient, but bills have fallen.</p><p>Smart energy developments like those in Hyllie, Ludivika, and renewable-driven district heating, offer a radical alternative to the centralized energy systems many countries rely on today.</p><p>The EU's leaders have a challenge: how to generate 32% of energy from renewables by 2030. Sweden offers a vision of how technology and local solutions can turn a goal into a reality.</p>
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