Throughout our lives, our DNA endures injury through external and internal factors every day. As we age, we begin to lose the ability to repair our DNA, which can cause a variety of illnesses and eventually death. For those of us who want to live long and healthy lives, excessive damage to our DNA can keep us from reaching our goals.
DNA damage is a fact of life, and it causes things like inflammation, loss of function, and chronic illness that lead to death. While minimizing DNA damage in the first place is the best option, efforts to repair DNA can be helpful for maintaining lasting health.
If you are wondering what steps you can take to help repair damage to your DNA, one answer could be blueberries. Studies have shown that blueberries have robust abilities to improve our DNA. The brain-protecting, memory-boosting, longevity-promoting powers of blueberries have been understood for a long time, but newer studies show that blueberries can delay the process of aging through a number of mechanisms, including DNA repair.
Not only have researchers observed the DNA-repairing abilities of blueberries in lab-based studies, but an impressive study on humans corroborates these findings. Healthy study participants ingested either a control substance or 300 grams of blueberries. After an hour, oxidation-induced DNA damage fell by 18% in the volunteers who took the blueberry supplement compared to those who took the control substance. Although 300 grams of blueberries is a sizeable serving, the fact that it was able to suppress DNA damage so quickly makes this study particularly impressive.
How is it that blueberries can be so effective at repairing DNA? Researchers think it has to do with the areas in which they have adapted to live. Plants that live in challenging environments produce many stress-reducing nutrients to handle the extreme temperatures, lack of nutrient availability, predators, and many other threats. When we ingest these molecules, we reap the benefits of their genetic stress resistance.
Because blueberries can grow in some of the harshest soil conditions and high altitudes with little water, they contain some of the highest amounts of these bioactive molecules. Not only do blueberries protect brain tissues and function from the effects of aging, but they also contribute to overall health in a variety of ways. They have been shown to boost the immune system and be effective in preventing and mitigating cardiovascular metabolic syndrome (including hypertension and obesity) and even cancer.
While there is substantial evidence of the health benefits of blueberries and their ability to repair DNA damage, repairing DNA damage won’t stop disease and aging altogether. But efforts to improve DNA, like adding blueberries to your diet, can slow the aging process and can be a great addition to your anti-aging arsenal. Whether you add them to your morning smoothie or take them in an extract, the evidence is clear that consuming blueberries can help you live a healthier, longer life.