[media-credit name=”MVL” align=”alignleft” width=”300″][/media-credit]Wow! This is one little fruit that proves good things do come in small packages. Blueberries are a good source of Vitamin C, which helps promotes a healthy immune system, and manganese, which aids in bone development. When one begins to examine all the studies done (and being done) on blueberries, it is obvious that this in one power-packed dose of goodness, bound to help a body in many ways. Studies link numerous potential health benefits, including reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s, preventing cancer, and it is also believed that blueberries may possibly slow down the aging process (my favorite) and even play a role in good gastrointestinal health. USDA reports indicate that between the years of 1994 and 2003, annual U.S. consumption of fresh blueberries rose approximately 1.6 times. This gain in attention, USDA admits, is likely due to the increased recognition of the potential human health benefits of regular blueberry consumption. It is important to note that regular blueberry consumption seems to have a much better effect than consuming a larger amount less often.
Scientific studies show that blueberries contain a category of phytonutrients called polyphenols. Research suggests that polyphenols anit-inflammatory and antioxidant properties can assist in helping lessen the inflammatory process accoiated with aging and certain diseases. Researchers are currently pursuing four areas to better understand the role this little fruit plays in promoting good health:
- Cardiovascular Health
- Brain Health
3. Insulin Response
- Cancer Risk Reduction
Spread Them Around
With this power packed little fruit, which is linked to so many health benefits , be sure to add them to as many dishes as you can.
• In Chilled Beverages: Freeze up a batch of blueberries in ice cube trays. Add a teaspoon or so of lemonade, and use in water, lemonade, iced tea or other cold beverages
• In Salads: Sprinkle them on salad! Sprinkle over baby greens with a vinaigrette dressing,. Add a few crumbles of Feta cheese for extra flavor.
Picking Out Fresh, Tasty Blueberries:
Look for firm, plump, dry berries with a silvery sheen and smooth skins. If they are reddish, they are not quite ripe. Avoid soft or shriveled fruit or any signs of mold.
Sources: USDA, US Highbush Blueberry Council
- http://www.blueberrycouncil.org/hea lth-benefits-of-blueberries/, Prior RL, Cao G, Martin A, Sofic E, McEwen J, O’Brien, C, Lischner N, Ehlenfeldt M, Kalt W, Krewer G, Mainland CM. Antioxidant capacity as influenced by total phenolic and anthocyanin content, maturity, and variety of Vaccinium species. J Agric Food Chem. 1998; 46 (7) :2686-93.
- Wu X, Schauss AG. Mitigation of inflammation with foods. J Agric Food Chem. 2012; 60 (27):6703-17.
USDA/Agricultural Research Service. How Plants Protect Us From Disease. Available at: http://www.ars.usda.gov/is/ar/archive/apr09/plants0409.htm. Accessed October 31, 2012.
U.S. HIGHBUSH BLUEBERRY COUNCIL 2390 East Bidwell Street, Suite 300
Folsom, CA 95630-3872. For more blueberry information visit our website at www.blueberry.org