Let me first mention that research still needs to be done to fully understand how the compounds found in blueberries and cranberries work in your body. But what we do know is that blueberries reverse, or at least slow down, the aging process on nerve cells. This happens because blueberries reduce oxidative stress on the nerves, caused by damaging oxygen molecules (different from the oxygen we breathe!).
Blueberries contain anthocyanin, an anti-inflammatory. This compound keeps your blood flowing smoothly, so it prevents hardening in the arteries. Blueberries also keep your arteries from constricting in response to stress. When stress causes constriction of the arteries high blood pressure can follow as a result and cause cardiovascular disease, which is the leading cause of death in the US. Your arteries relax because blueberries increase the availability of nitric oxide, which is known to be an artery relaxer. Blueberries also brighten your mood by helping transport energy to your brain.
Although food industries like to turn good foods into concentrated pills it is better to eat the fresh fruits to get the full benefit. Just make sure you eat enough of them! To be even more specific, small wild blueberries are even better than “regular” blueberries! There is no difference between frozen and fresh berries, so don’t feel bad about buying the frozen variety!
Cranberries are great to prevent and treat urinary tract infections. You can buy them dried to add to your morning cereal or yogurt or frozen for smoothies. But if you are going to make a smoothie, mix them with other fruits to take out a bit of the acidity. Cranberries are also good for reducing eyestrain, so you can actually enjoy them with a medical excuse! Blueberries do the same though, while being a bit nicer in taste than cranberries. Cranberries are better for urinary tract infections though, so munch on a handful of dried cranberries as a treat once in a while.