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 Joe Roman and Taylor Ricketts
The COVID-19 pandemic in the United States is the deepest and longest period of malaise in a dozen years. Our colleagues at the University of Vermont have concluded this by analyzing posts on Twitter. The Vermont Complex Systems Center studies 50 million tweets a day, scoring the "happiness" of people's words to monitor the national mood. That mood today is at its lowest point since 2008 when they started this project.
The Hedonometer measures happiness through analysis of key words on Twitter, which is now used by one in five Americans. This chart covers 18 months from early 2019 to July 2020, showing major dips in 2020. hedonometer.org<p>These same tweets also indicate a potential salve. Before pandemic lockdowns began, doctoral student <a href="https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=0P0ZYbIAAAAJ&hl=en" target="_blank">Aaron Schwartz</a> <a href="https://doi.org/10.1002/pan3.10045" target="_blank">compared tweets before, during, and after visits to 150 parks, playgrounds and plazas</a> in San Francisco. He found that park visits corresponded with a spike in happiness, followed by an afterglow lasting up to four hours.</p><p>Tweets from parks contained fewer negative words such as "no," "not" and "can't," and fewer first-person pronouns like "I" and "me." It seems that nature makes people more positive and less self-obsessed.</p><p>Parks keep people happy in times of global crisis, economic shutdown and public anger. Research has also shown that transmission rates for COVID-19 are <a href="https://www.sfchronicle.com/news/article/Is-risk-of-coronavirus-transmission-lower-15287602.php" target="_blank">much lower outdoors than inside</a>. As scholars who study <a href="https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=yFzb2EUAAAAJ&hl=en" target="_blank">conservation</a> and how nature <a href="https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=CCnUeN8AAAAJ&hl=en" target="_blank">contributes to human well-being</a>, we see opening up parks and creating new ones as a straightforward remedy for Americans' current blues.</p>
Park Visits Are Up During the Pandemic<p>According to the Hedonometer, sentiments expressed online started trending lower in mid-March as the impacts of the pandemic became clear. As lockdowns continued, they registered the lowest sentiment scores on record. Then in late May, effects from George Floyd's death in police custody and the following protests and police response once again could be seen on Twitter. May 31, 2020 was the saddest day of the project.</p><p>Recent surveys of park visitors around the University of Vermont have shown people <a href="https://osf.io/preprints/socarxiv/sd3h6" target="_blank">using green spaces more</a> since COVID-19 lockdowns began. Many people reported that parks were highly important to their well-being during the pandemic.</p>
<div id="4c7e4" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="bc0ac146ab2a94228f32d973fc2ab272"><blockquote class="twitter-tweet twitter-custom-tweet" data-twitter-tweet-id="1289428912879964160" data-partner="rebelmouse"><div style="margin:1em 0">#Goldengatepark #sf #quarantinemood https://t.co/9l3ufnbkt6</div> — Suvd (@Suvd)<a href="https://twitter.com/Suvd19486406/statuses/1289428912879964160">1596258783.0</a></blockquote></div><p>The powerful effects of nature are strongest in large parks with more trees, but smaller neighborhood parks also provide a significant boost. Their impact on happiness is real, measurable and lasting.</p><p>Twitter records show that parks increase happiness to a level similar to the bounce at Christmas, which typically is the happiest day of the year. Schwartz has since expanded his <a href="https://arxiv.org/pdf/2006.10658.pdf" target="_blank">Twitter study</a> to the 25 largest cities in the U.S. and found this bounce everywhere.</p><p>Parks and public spaces won't cure COVID-19 or stop police brutality, but they are far more than playgrounds. There is growing evidence that parks contribute to mental and physical health in a range of communities.</p><p>In a 2015 study, for example, Stanford researchers sent people out for one of two walks: through a local park or on a busy street. Those who walked in nature showed <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.landurbplan.2015.02.005" target="_blank">improved moods and better memory performance</a> compared to the urban group. And a team led by <a href="https://penniur.upenn.edu/people/eugenia-gina-south" target="_blank">Gina South</a> of the University of Pennsylvania showed in a 2018 study that greening and cleaning up blighted vacant lots in Philadelphia <a href="http://dx.doi.org/10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2018.0298" target="_blank">reduced local residents' feelings of depression, worthlessness and poor mental health</a>.</p>
Creative Strategies<p>It isn't easy to create new parks on the scale of San Francisco's Golden Gate Park or the Washington Mall, but smaller projects can expand outdoor space. Options include greening vacant lots, closing streets and investing in existing parks to make them safer, greener and shadier and support wildlife.</p><p>These initiatives don't have to be capital-intensive. In the University of Pennsylvania study, for example, renovating a vacant lot by removing trash, planting grass and trees and installing a low fence cost only about US$1,600.</p><p>Urban green space is most needed in neighborhoods that have lacked funding for parks, especially given <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/08/nyregion/coronavirus-race-deaths.html" target="_blank">COVID-19's disproportionate impact on Black and Latinx people</a>.</p><p>Cities can also create parklike spaces by <a href="https://theconversation.com/with-fewer-cars-on-us-streets-now-is-the-time-to-reinvent-roadways-and-how-we-use-them-140408" target="_blank">closing streets to cars</a>. Many cities worldwide are currently retooling their transportation systems for the post-COVID-19 world in order to <a href="https://thecityfix.com/blog/bicycles-slower-speeds-livable-city-paris-mayor-anne-hidalgo-plans-ambitious-second-term-dario-hidalgo/" target="_blank">reallocate public space</a>, widen sidewalks and make more space for nature.</p><p>Urban designers, artists, ecologists and other citizens can play a direct role, too, creating pop-up parks and green spaces. Some advocates <a href="https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-09-15/a-brief-history-of-park-ing-day" target="_blank">transform parking spaces into mini-parks</a> with grass, potted trees and seating for just the time on the meter, to make a larger point about turning so much public space over to cars.</p><p>Or cities can invest a little more. Minneapolis, Cincinnati and Arlington, Virginia, have won <a href="https://www.tpl.org/parkscore" target="_blank">national recognition</a> for their ambitious investments in public park systems. These areas could serve as models for neighborhoods that lack access to parks.</p>
<div id="25fd0" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="383f0d2df0237e9359c30dcce6cd6c42"><blockquote class="twitter-tweet twitter-custom-tweet" data-twitter-tweet-id="1276558744835379201" data-partner="rebelmouse"><div style="margin:1em 0">Looking to safely get outside? Check out the best parks for social distancing in this year's top ten ParkScore citi… https://t.co/HJjEtDsrTD</div> — The Trust for Public Land (@The Trust for Public Land)<a href="https://twitter.com/tpl_org/statuses/1276558744835379201">1593190296.0</a></blockquote></div>
A New Park Deal?<p>The United States has historically driven economic recovery with major infrastructure investments, like the New Deal in the 1930s and the 2009 <a href="https://www.investopedia.com/terms/a/american-recovery-and-reinvestment-act.asp" target="_blank">American Reinvestment and Recovery Act</a>. Such investments could easily include nature-positive spaces.</p><p>Parks are not panaceas, as evidenced by the widely publicized <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/06/nyregion/amy-cooper-false-report-charge.html" target="_blank">racist confrontation between a white woman and a Black birder</a> in New York's Central Park in early July. But Hedonometer data add to a <a href="https://advances.sciencemag.org/content/5/7/eaax0903?utm_source=miragenews&utm_medium=miragenews&utm_campaign=news" target="_blank">growing body of evidence</a> that they provide <a href="https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1807504116" target="_blank">clear mental health benefits</a>. Creating and expanding parks also <a href="https://www.nrpa.org/contentassets/f568e0ca499743a08148e3593c860fc5/economic-impact-study-summary.pdf" target="_blank">generates jobs and economic activity</a>, with much of the money spent locally.</p><p>We believe investments in nature are well worth it, offering both short-term solace in difficult times and long-term benefits to health, economies and communities.</p>
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