By Natalie K Bell
Some of your favorite things to eat are also awesome for your skin. Summer is an especially good time to reap the benefits from nature as many fruits are in season — meaning you can much away. But even in the cold months of winter, fear not, fruits and vegetables often have merit when applied topically. Blueberries, for example, are a double threat — working from the inside and out in the war against free radicals. They also have many more benefits.
These little indigo berries have been called a super food. If you can, get the wild blueberries, they’re smaller and darker and pack more of a punch in terms of vitamins and antioxidants because of their size.
In your food
Eating blueberries gives you great doses of vitamins A and C, as well as fiber (The Cambridge World History of Food). They have antioxidants — such as anthocyanin — that can work against free radials as well as heart disease and stroke (Canadian Press). And they basically do a body good in many ways.
Studies have touted their positive effects for years, but one study found that they reversed some of the age- and behavior-related nutritional damage. Blueberries in particular helped with increasing calcium and lowering oxidative stress (The Journal of Neuroscience). Another study found that drinking concentrated fruit juice, such as blueberry juice, could help to repair DNA damage (Molecular Nutrition and Food Research). Yet another study found that a diet containing blueberry polyphenolic acid can help to target cancer progenitor cells (Carcinogenesis). Essentially, these help with aging from the inside, working with your body’s processes.
Still, it’s important to talk about the downside: If you don’t buy organic blueberries, you could be introducing pesticides into your body. Unlike oranges and bananas with thick, peel-away skins, blueberries get eaten skin and all, making them one of the fruits you should consider buying organic. They can also contain parabens as preservatives in the grocery store.
On your face
Blueberries antioxidant effects can be put to use in a topical cream. Their free-radical fighting abilities get put to work in anti-aging, but they have other benefits as well. A study with mice found that the Pycnogenol in plants like blueberries reduced the inflammation reaction after UV exposure (Journal of Pathology).
More than that, they’ve found that blueberries help to improve and strengthen collagen in skin. They stop collagen breakdown, stabilize the collagen matrix, work against oxidative stress, and improve microcirculation. In a study of women aged 45-61, scientists found “that the topical mixture significantly improved cracking, creping, and thinning of mature skin when it was applied daily for three months (Life Extension Magazine).”
There are a few products that make the most of blueberries:
Eminence Organics Blueberry Soy Night Recovery Cream ($53.50, Amazon.com) has a bevy of antioxidant rich ingredients including soy, raspberry juice, and bramble juice. Night is the best time to use antioxidants because the body’s basal temperature increases slightly, making for better absorption. It’s also when your body does its repairing.
Yes To Blueberries Intensive Skin Repair Serum, 1-Fluid Ounce ($15.73, Amazon.com) is full of blueberries, apples, black currants, oh my! The combination of antioxidant-packed fruits plus soothing aloe work to treat age damaged skin.
The Bottom Line
Whether in your face or on your foods, blueberries have plenty of benefits. They’re especially beneficial in the antioxidant and anti-aging category, but they have benefits all over the place. However, blueberries are one fruit that often carry pesticides that can be introduced into your body, so buy them organic if you can. You should also be cognizant that the grocery-store variety might be preserved with parabens. Finally, remember, you’ll get more benefits from wild blueberries than those found in stores.