Blueberries are also called as bilberries, blaeberries or whinberries are named for their velvet textured, deep-blue color. These juicy berries are one of those fruits grown in North American region. Native Americans used its leaves and roots for treating various health ailments. The blueberries were used as a complete salad and in combination with meat to make a nutritious diet. The shrub belongs to the genus Vaccinium, which is derived from the Latin vacca for cows since they love them, a fact that was first observed by Captain James Cook in late seventeenth century.
More specifically, blueberries are the fruit of a shrub belonging to the heath family that includes the cranberry, bilberry and also the azalea, mountain laurels and rhododendrons. Blueberries grow in clusters and its sizes range from that of a little pea to a mid-sized marble. Typical fresh blueberries are deep in color that range from blue to maroon to purple-black, and has whitish gray waxy bloom, which covers the surface that work as a protective coating. The skin borders a semi-transparent flesh, which encases its small seeds.
Blueberries are power packed with antioxidants and phytonutrients known as anthocyanidins. The fruit neutralizes free radical impairment to the collagen matrix of cell and tissue that is responsible for various health ailments such as cataract, glaucomas, varicose vein, hemorrhoids, peptic ulcer, heart diseases and cancer. Anthocyanin, a blue-red pigment found in blueberries is said to improve the integrity of support structures in the veins and so the whole cardiovascular system.
In addition to their powerful anthocyanins, blueberries also possess another antioxidant compound known as ellagic acid that helps blocking metabolic tracts that can end up in cancer. In a research of over 1200 elderly people, it was found that the people who ate the most strawberries (other berries were three fold less susceptible to develop cancer as compared to the people who ate few or no strawberries. Laboratory studies published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry reveal that phenolic compounds in blueberries help inhibiting the colon cancer cell proliferation and bring on apoptosis.