I Ate Blueberries Every Day for a Week—Here’s What Happened
A doctor spent seven days incorporating blueberries into her diet—and got advice on the absolute healthiest way to eat them. "Let's just say they're worth the hype," she says.
Blueberries have been a favorite of mine since I was little. Those summer days in rural Pennsylvania, hand-picking sweet, juicy berries from bushes in the woods, are forever etched in my memory. Despite indulging in them by the handful, somehow I’ve stopped short of turning into a giant blueberry. (Remember Violet Beauregarde from Willy Wonka?)
Today as a trained family doctor who gained certification in nutrition coaching and diabetes prevention, these fond memories sent me on a quest: Could one of my favorite fruits be as enriching for my health as it is for my heart and taste buds? It was high time I found out—but first, let’s unpack the health benefits of this tiny but mighty fruit.
The health benefits of blueberries
There’s a lot that makes blueberries special, even aside from their summer-sweet taste. A 2020 publication in the peer-reviewed journal Advances in Nutrition highlighted the remarkable health advantages of this berry. The researchers drew from diverse studies that ranged from human observational to clinical research and even insights from animal and in vitro models. In the end, blueberries emerged as a health powerhouse. Rich in phytochemicals—especially the vivid blue or purple anthocyanin pigments, which pack a load of antioxidant power—blueberries have consistently captured scientific curiosity.
Their allure isn’t limited to phytochemicals alone—they’re also packed with vital nutrients such as vitamin C, vitamin K, manganese and dietary fiber. Recent epidemiological studies indicate that these little berries can potentially mitigate the risks associated with cardiovascular diseases and type 2 diabetes. Additionally, blueberries show promise in assisting weight regulation and offering neuroprotective qualities.
More than their tangy burst of flavor, blueberries are celebrated for their potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, reinforcing their positive influence on vascular health and glucose regulation. The potential synergy between blueberry phytochemicals and gut health is also an area of growing research interest.
While there’s much more to unearth in the realm of blueberry benefits, one thing remains clear: Integrating blueberries every day is a step toward holistic health—and an experiment I was thrilled to explore.
The best way to consume blueberries
Dietitian Julia Zumpano, RD, LD, from the Cleveland Clinic, is crystal-clear about the optimal way to enjoy blueberries. Zumpano says while blueberries are almost always a nutritious choice, their peak health benefits occur when they’re consumed in their raw, organic form. Cooking blueberries down to a compote to pour over pancakes won’t be quite as beneficial as a fresh handful dropped in sugar-free yogurt. “Antioxidants can be harmed by heat,” Zumpano explains on the Clinic’s Health Essentials blog, emphasizing the importance of enjoying these berries in their natural state. “You don’t kill the fiber, and you still have the vitamins and minerals. But heat can affect the antioxidant content. So raw, fresh, and organic blueberries are the best way to go.”
Though I stuck to organic blueberries throughout the week, Zumpano shares a tip for those using non-organic ones: A gentle wash in a mix of lemon juice and filtered water can help cleanse blueberries more effectively.
For a week I took this nutrition expert’s advice to heart, integrating organic blueberries into varied dishes and ensuring I ate the recommended full cup each day.
Eating blueberries every day for a week
My week began with a balanced blueberry smoothie. Blended with my favorite plant protein powder, Greek yogurt, a frozen banana, a palm-full of spinach, and almond milk, this berry smoothie offered taste and sustenance.
Next, I experimented with overnight oats, mixing old-fashioned rolled oats, maple syrup, chia seeds, almond milk—and of course, blueberries.
Hot, steel-cut oatmeal was another breakfast choice, where the inclusion of blueberries elevated its creamy texture.
Why stop at breakfast? Hydration took a fun twist with blueberry and lemon-infused water—a drink that was as refreshing as it was nutritious. Salads, too, got the blueberry treatment: Spinach and arugula paired with the tangy sweetness of blueberries, feta, and crunchy walnuts made for tasty meals. A simple dressing of lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, and extra-virgin olive oil brought it all together.
Toward the end of the week, I took a moment to appreciate blueberries in their purest form. As Anya Miller, RD, a registered dietitian who previously worked for the Mayo Clinic, aptly mentioned, blueberries “don’t require any slicing or peeling. You can just pop them in your mouth for the benefits.” And that’s exactly what I did, savoring their natural goodness.
You may get that ‘afterglow’ eating blueberries every day for a week
By the week’s end, I felt a subtle but undeniable shift in my well-being. Days passed when I felt a steadier level of energy. Even more pleasantly surprising was the fresh glow my skin had taken on. My digestion? Smooth as ever.
So, was this all thanks to my daily cup of blueberries? It’s tempting to think so, especially given the well-documented health benefits of these tiny berries—but beyond the vitamins, antioxidants and dietary fiber they provided, the blueberry experiment also made me more mindful of my health choices throughout the week. While blueberries likely played a role in the positive changes I observed, this heightened attention to my overall health could also have contributed to the week’s noticeable benefits.
While it’s essential to remember that dietary alterations are personal and what works wonders for one might not for another, there’s no harm in inviting more blueberries to the table. After all, they’re not just a treat for the taste buds, but a gift for the body too. Whether for the potential health benefits or the sheer joy of eating them, blueberries deserve a spot in everyone’s routine.