Beauty Benefits of Blueberries: Health and Nutrition of This Delicious Fruit
Do you examine your face a little more closely in the mirror each morning? Perhaps you used to mock older colleagues and their obsessions with the latest creams promising everlasting youth and beauty. (Especially the ones that also promised to relieve you of a quarter of a week's wages in one reckless swipe of a bank card.) But time wreaks havoc on us all, and especially upon the taut, lithe youthfulness of skin as it gets older.
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Do frighteningly expensive night creams and eye creams seem a little less ludicrous in their promises and aspirations than they used to do? Perhaps the random vitamins, herbs and 'active elements' thrown into them seem to promise the staving off of old-crone sags and wrinkles more convincingly than they used to – or perhaps you're just more desperate.
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Do even more drastic measures begin to seem normal, reasonable, even enticing? Nips, tucks, slicing, surgery, injections, lifts... botox? Hey, people do it all the time these days, just check out the celebrity magazines! I guess, if you like that sort of thing...
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But are there any viable alternatives for preserving youthful vitality... maybe something a little less drastic? Certainly personally (and I'm no spring chicken) I'm still relying on the effects of (insufficiently) regular exercise and the healthiest diet possible in order to maintain a reasonably firm and line-free complexion. With what success? Well, someone yesterday claimed to have thought me still in my twenties (and believe me, I'm not – that's a dim and distant memory!) Yeah, yeah, sure, sure, they were flattering me (and that tenner I wound up lending was totally worth it...) But even so, it's cheaper than creams and injections and surgery (and so are fruits and vegetables).
Can a healthy diet really do anything to improve or retain skin firmness and smoothness? Can ingredients like blueberries maintain a youthful, attractive appearance? Well, at least one study by Draelos et al  has produced some suggestive results, concluding that a cream containing blueberry extract, an AGE inhibitor and C-xyloside produced suggestive results of varying degrees of confidence interval and statistical significance, regarding such parameters as lines, wrinkles, skin-tone and pigmentation. Sure, maybe it was the AGE inhibitors or the C-xyloside rather than the blueberries... or maybe not. The study was carried out on diabetic subjects who are especially subject to skin damage and ageing.
While not specific to the fruit's effects on skin quality and wrinkle prevention, but still interesting, a study by Galli et al in the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences strongly suggests that the consumption of fruit and vegetables with large quantities of anti-oxidants (including our friend the blueberry) can reduce tissue damage and retard ageing.  Which surely can't be bad news for the skin!
Is that enough to make me believe that blueberries are better than Botox? Maybe not, but I'm pretty damn sure that they taste better! Fresh blueberries, frozen blueberries, blueberry jam, I'm planning to go crazy with the little purple dynamos! Maybe time to buy blueberry plants and grow your own!
1. Draelos, Z.D., MD, Yatskayer, M., Raab, S., Oresajo, c., PhD. 'An evaluation of the effect of a topical product containing C-xyloside and blueberry extract on the appearance of type II diabetic skin'. Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology. June 2009 8:2, pp. 147–151
2. Galli, R.L., Shukitt, B., Youdim, K.A., Joseph, J.A. 'Fruit Polyphenolics and Brain Aging - Nutritional Interventions Targeting Age-related Neuronal and Behavioral Deficits'. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences. April 2002. 959 (Increasing Healthy Life Span: Conventional Measures and Slowing the Innate Aging Process), pp. 128–132
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