If you are wondering whether blueberries are good for you, the answer is a resounding yes! From helping lower your blood pressure to aiding cognitive ability, easing aging-related depression, and even slowing the graying of your hair, there’s plenty this potent functional food can do!1 2 3 But if you’re more curious about what vitamins the berries contain and how far they’ll see you through to your daily nutrient targets, we break it down for you.
The good news is these little dark blue spheres of sweet tartness are loaded with the entire alphabet of vitamins, from A through K, including most of the B vitamins. Here’s a closer look at some of the major vitamins you can expect to find in a serving of blueberries.
Vitamin K: 23.8% DV
A cup of blueberries contains 28.6 mcg of vitamin K.4 The daily value (DV) requirement of vitamin K is pegged at 120 mcg, so this serving of blueberries meets an impressive 23.8% of the DV.5
Why you need the vitamin: Vitamin K is also known as the blood clotting vitamin, because of its role in helping your blood clot when you have a cut, accident, or undergo a surgery. It also plays a role in bone health, especially in the elderly. 6
Vitamin C: 16% DV
If it is vitamin C you are after, your serving of a cup of blueberries should get you to about 16% DV of the antioxidant vitamin.7 This serving size has 14.4 mg of vitamin C against the 90 mg of daily value earmarked for the vitamin.8
Why you need the vitamin: Vitamin C is required to keep your skin, bones, teeth, blood vessels, ligaments, and cartilage healthy. The vitamin helps wound healing and scar tissue formation. It is also believed to help overall immune health and may protect against arthritis, heart disease, and cancer.9
Vitamin E: 5.6% DV
A cup serving of blueberries has around 0.84 mg of vitamin E.10 This will get you about 5.6% DV of this fat-soluble vitamin, against a daily value pegged at 15 mg.11
Why you need the vitamin: This vitamin is needed for muscle and nerve function as well as for good vision, heart health, and immune function. Not getting enough can cause your hair to gray and your skin to wrinkle. You may also show other signs of aging prematurely. Vitamin E’s ability to fight oxidative stress, which is one factor responsible for aging, may have a role to play here.12
B Vitamins: 2.3–4.7% DV
A cup of blueberries has around 4 to 5% of most B vitamins and around 2.3% of the daily value of folate. Here’s how the numbers stack up:13
- Thiamin or vitamin B1: 0.055 mg, meeting 4.6% DV (DV = 1.2 mg)
- Riboflavin or vitamin B2: 0.061 mg, meeting 4.7% DV (DV = 1.3 mg)
- Niacin or vitamin B3: 0.619 mg, meeting 3.9% DV (DV = 16 mg)
- Pyridoxine or vitamin B6: 0.077 mg, meeting 4.5% DV (DV = 1.7 mg)
- Folate or vitamin B9: 9 mcg, meeting 2.3% DV (DV = 400 mcg)
Why you need the vitamins: Your body needs the arsenal of B vitamins to tap energy from the food you eat. They are also needed for the formation of red blood cells, making these vitamins vital to your good health.
In addition to catering to your energy needs, here’s what each of these vitamins is required for:
- Thiamin: Helps taps energy from carbohydrates. Is important for energy transmission to the brain and nervous system, muscular contraction, and conduction of nerve signals.14
- Riboflavin: Helps tap energy from proteins. Is needed for red blood cell production and normal growth.15
- Niacin: Helps normal functioning of the nervous system, digestive system, and skin16
- Vitamin B6: Helps tap energy from proteins. Is needed to produce antibodies to protect against infection. Also required for the production of hemoglobin and for normal nerve function. Keeps blood sugar in check.17
- Folate: Helps in growth and function of healthy tissues and cells. Is needed to produce DNA and red blood cells. Helps create, use, and break down proteins.18
Inadequate amounts of these vitamins can cause problems ranging from anemia (riboflavin deficiency), ulcers (folate deficiency), and diarrhea (folate deficiency) to peripheral neuropathy (vitamin B6 deficiency), and depression (vitamin B6 deficiency). Pellagra (niacin deficiency), with its digestive issues, skin inflammation, mental impairment, is also a possibility. So is beriberi due to thiamin deficiency, which causes, among other things, mental confusion, difficulty walking, loss of sensation in extremities, and shortness of breath. Inadequate folate can even cause birth defects in babies.19
Vitamin A: 1.6% DV
The vitamin A content in a cup of blueberries is 80 IU or 4 mcg RAE and covers 1.6% of the daily value. It is derived from beta-carotene.
Why you need the vitamin: Beta-carotene has antioxidant properties and is anti-inflammatory.20 This nutrient can help fight free radical damage and could even have the potential to protect against cancer.21
In addition to all the vitamins blueberries contain, they also have minerals like:22
- Potassium 114 mg or 2.43% DV
- Iron 0.41 mg or 2.3% DV
- Zinc 0.24 mg or 2.2% DV
- Magnesium 9 mg or 2.1% DV
- Phosphorus 18 mg or 1.4% DV
- Calcium 9 mg or 0.7% DV
How To Use Blueberries
You can use blueberries quite simply as a fruit or berry and eat it plain. But there’s also so much more you can do with it. Here are some ideas to get you started!
- Make a delicious berry smoothie or juice using a base of milk or a non-dairy milk like a nut or rice or soy milk. Even plain blueberry juice mixed with another fruit of your choice can be a treat!
- Add blueberries to your morning oatmeal or porridge for a burst of freshness and taste!
- Stir some blueberries through a cup of yogurt for a filling nutritious snack between meals or a healthy but light breakfast.
- Add the berries to a pie as filling or in a cake or muffins for some pops of tartness!
- Pancakes or french toast becomes instantly special with the addition of some blueberries, but if you want to up the ante a little more, pour over some homemade blueberry sauce made by slow cooking the berries until they melt into a gooey sauce.
- Make a gourmet grilled cheese sandwich that has blueberries cooked in balsamic vinegar along with some fresh spinach leaves.
- Make a sticky glaze for your grilled chicken with red wine and blueberries.
- Toss a few blueberries into a chicken salad along with some greens and nuts for a healthy meal.
- A roast rack of lamb served with a mustard, honey, and lemon-scented blueberry sauce makes for a hearty and special dinner.
- Blueberry glazed barbecue ribs are a real treat and the berries add another dimension of sweet tartness to the honey barbecue sauce slathered over the spice-rubbed ribs.
Now that you have some food for thought, why not head down to the market and stock up on those blueberries?
|↑1||Eat blueberries and strawberries three times per week. Harvard Health Publications.|
|↑2||Krikorian, Robert, Marcelle D. Shidler, Tiffany A. Nash, Wilhelmina Kalt, Melinda R. Vinqvist-Tymchuk, Barbara Shukitt-Hale, and James A. Joseph. “Blueberry supplementation improves memory in older adults†.” Journal of agricultural and food chemistry 58, no. 7 (2010): 3996-4000.|
|↑3||Lobo, Vijaya, Avinash Patil, A. Phatak, and Naresh Chandra. “Free radicals, antioxidants and functional foods: Impact on human health.” Pharmacognosy reviews 4, no. 8 (2010): 118.|
|↑4, ↑8, ↑10, ↑13, ↑22||Blueberries, raw. United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service.|
|↑5, ↑7, ↑11||Labeling Daily Values. National Institutes of Health.|
|↑6||Vitamin K. U.S. National Library of Medicine.|
|↑9||Vitamin C. U.S. National Library of Medicine.|
|↑12||Vitamin E. Office of Dietary Supplements.|
|↑14||Thiamin. U.S. National Library of Medicine.|
|↑15||Riboflavin. U.S. National Library of Medicine.|
|↑16||Niacin. U.S. National Library of Medicine.|
|↑17||Vitamin B6. U.S. National Library of Medicine.|
|↑18||Folic acid in diet. U.S. National Library of Medicine.|
|↑19||B vitamins. U.S. National Library of Medicine.|
|↑20||Vitamin A. The George Mateljan Foundation.|
|↑21||Beta carotene. National Center for Biotechnology Information.|