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Recently dubbed a superfood by many experts, blueberries are not only colorful and delicious, they also pack a powerful antioxidant punch.

Blueberries' protective properties have been known since the Middle Ages and researchers have now found that they can exert three main categories of beneficial effects:
- Vaso-protective (protection of skin's capillaries)
- Antioxidant activity (fighting free radical damage)
- Iron-chelating activity (to deliver further anti-aging effects).

The beneficial effects of blueberries may be attributed to several compounds — polyphenols, including anthocyanins and resveratrol,and iron chelators, such as quercetin and myricetin— which have been isolated from the berries and leaves of the blueberry plant.

Skin Protective Effects

Blueberries primary benefits to skin include:

1. Vaso-protective activity – Blueberries promote the health of capillaries (small blood vessels) that are located just beneath the epidermis. This can help to minimize flushing and redness associated with skin conditions such as rosacea
2. Antioxidant activity – The polyphenols found in blueberries (anthocyanodins) are powerful inhibitors of free radical damage. Free radicals can cause significant damage to skin
3. Iron-chelating activity – Although we are all too conscious of the benefits of consuming sufficient iron, few of us realize that elevated iron levels can lead to serious health risks including heart, brain and muscle diseases as well as premature skin aging. The polyphenols in blueberries can chelate (bind) iron. This property neutralizes iron and helps to minimize its involvement in the production of free radicals which can damage skin.

Keep in mind that there isn’t a lot of clinical research to support skin benefits, but technically, there should be some benefit. You may find ready to use products that contain blueberries, but you may find it fun to make one up yourself. Here’s a simple recipe for a face mask that will deliver antioxidant activity and light exfoliating action.

Blueberry Face Mask  

    * Small handful blueberries, fresh (or unsweetened frozen berries, thawed)

    * 1 Tablespoon lemon juice, freshly squeezed

    * 2 Tablespoons unsweetened plain yogurt

Blend all ingredients in a blender until smooth. Apply to clean face, and leave on skin for 15-20 minutes. Rinse with warm water. Store any leftovers in a tightly-sealed container in the refrigerator for up to one week.

Sharmani Pillay is a Registered Pharmacist who specializes in anti aging skin care and women's wellness. She owns and operates an online skin care store at [Link Removed].

Pharmagirl, Your links have been removed, please consider upgrading to premium membership.

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