Blueberries are known for being high in antioxidants that help fight, reduce and repair damage from oxidative stress and inflammation in the body. But even more interesting is blueberries' ability to boost natural killer cells. These cells are part of our immune system's response to cancer cells.
Natural killer cells eliminate cancer cells by activating cancer cell suicide. Most healthy people should have about 2 billion of these guys circulating in their bloodstream at any given time. One study had runner athletes consume 1.5 cups of blueberries every day for six weeks.
Typically, natural killer cell counts decrease by about half from 2 billion to 1 billion after prolonged endurance exercise like running. After the six weeks, not only did researchers see a reduction in oxidative stress amongst the runners, but they noticed that these runners kept their natural killer cell counts at 2 billion. So, if you want to keep your immune system's rapid response team strong and ready, eat them bloobs and don't look back.
For a blueberry fix you'll love, try my blueberry bliss smoothie:
- 1 1/4 cup almond milk
- 3/4 cup frozen blueberries
- handful sprouts
- 1/2 cup roasted and then frozen pumpkin (or sweet potato/butternut squash)
- 2 tablespoon natural peanut butter
- 2 tablespoon chia seeds
- 1 serving organic vanilla protein
Blend on high for 2-3 minutes until smooth smooth smooth.