Blueberries: the perfect food

Blueberries are one of nature’s perfect foods. A sweet and sometimes a little sour flavor combined with some heavy hitting nutrition means humans were meant to eat them. Their small size and perfectly round shape makes them perfect for popping into mouths. And summer is the best time to have them — they’re perfectly in season and much cheaper this time of year.

Blueberries are one of nature’s perfect foods Click To Tweet

Let’s delve into just how good blueberries are for you.

  • One study showed that eating the equivalent of 1 cup of blueberries daily for 8 weeks lowered blood pressure, which helps prevent heart disease.
  • There’s also a ton of evidence showing that eating blueberries helps prevent heart disease in a variety of other ways. Another study showed that eating blueberries at least once a week decreased risk of estrogen receptor-negative breast cancer by 31%.
  • Other research suggests that blueberries can help prevent brain degenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s as well as normal brain aging.

So eating blueberries every day could do a lot to help us live longer and healthier as we age.

Eating blueberries every day could help us live longer and healthier Click To Tweet

Why are blueberries so healthy?

They contain some of the highest levels of phytonutrients of any food in the American diet. The phytonutrients serve as both antioxidants, killing damaging free-radicals, and anti-inflammatory agents, keeping the body in a healthy state. One phytonutrient blueberries contain is resveratrol, which you might have heard of being present in wine. The combination of all these phytonutrients, nutrients like Vitamin C, Vitamin K and manganese, and blueberries’ low glycemic index, high fiber content, and natural lack of fat make it one of the healthiest foods in the world.

Even though blueberries are best fresh in the summer, frozen blueberries have the same antioxidant properties as their fresh counterparts. So in the winter, mix frozen blueberries into oatmeal, add them to baked goods, or throw them in smoothies.

Frozen blueberries have the same antioxidant properties as fresh Click To Tweet

But now that blueberries are fresh, take advantage with these easy ways to use fresh blueberries:

  • Top your morning yogurt or cereal with fresh blueberries.
  • Top a square cake or tart with blueberries and strawberries in a flag pattern for a festive party treat!
  • Make an easy blueberry sauce by cooking 1 pint of blueberries with a ½ cup water and 2 tbsp sugar. Once reduced, add fresh lemon juice. Store in the refrigerator and use on top of yogurt, pancakes, waffles, oatmeal, or even ice cream!
  • Blueberries make the perfect snack. Instead of popcorn or chips to mindlessly munch on, grab some bite-sized blueberries!

References

Basu A, Rhone M and Lyons TJ. Berries: emerging impact on cardiovascular health. Nutr Rev. 2010 Mar;68(3):168-77. Review. 2010.

Fung TT, Chiuve SE, Willet WC, Hankinson SE, Hu FB, Holmes MD. Intake of specific fruits and vegetables in relation to risk of estrogen receptor-negative breast cancer among postmenopausal women. Epidemiology. 2013; 138(3): 925-930

Galli RL, Bielinski DF, Szprengiel A, Shukitt-Hale B, Joseph JA. Blueberry supplemented diet reverses age-related decline in hippocampal HSP70 neuroprotection. Neurobiology of Aging. 2006; 27(2): 344-350

Johnson SA, Figueroa A, Navaei N, Wong A, Kalfon R, Ormsbee LT, Feresin RG, Elam ML, Hooshmand S, Payton ME, Arjmandi BH.  Daily blueberry consumption improves blood pressure and arterial stiffness in postmenopausal women with pre- and stage 1-hypertension: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. 2015; 115(3): 369-377

Kedar NP. Can We Prevent Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s Disease? . J Postgrad Med 2003;49:236-45

Scibisz I, Mitek M. The changes of antioxidant properties in highbush blueberries (Vaccinium corymbosum L.) during freezing and long-term frozen storage. Technologia Alimentaria. 2007; 6(4): 75-81

Wang SY, Chen CT, Sciarappa W et al. Fruit quality, antioxidant capacity, and flavonoid content of organically and conventionally grown blueberries. J Agric Food Chem. 2008 Jul 23; 56(14): 5788-94.

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