Natural Food Spotlight – Blueberries
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Natural Food Spotlight – Blueberries

Posted on Wednesday, May 8th, 2013 at 10:58 am
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1361201_handful_of_wild_blueberriesAs the weather begins to warm up, we have so many delicious and refreshing fruits to look forward to eating. Blueberries are one of those foods! In some regions, these nutritious berries are ready to be picked as early as May! Blueberries are not only versatile and taste great, but they are also considered a superfood thanks to their high nutritional value! They are also an extremely popular berry coming in second only to the strawberry in terms of popularity.

Blueberries are an antioxidant powerhouse. While they’re relatively low in vitamin C (16% of your daily value) when compared to other berries, antioxidants like Anthocyanin and nutrients like B complex vitamins, vitamin E, vitamin A, copper, zinc, and iron help boost your immune system to keep your body infection free. This helps better protect you from things like season colds or flus. The antioxidants also help rid your body of free radicals. Free radicals can bring about disease and signs of aging.

Blueberries have also been shown to aid in better cardiovascular and heart health. A single cup of blueberries contains about 10% of your daily recommended amount of fiber. Fiber helps lower your blood pressure and your LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels as well as your blood sugar levels, and risk of heart disease and diabetes. Fiber helps you feel fuller longer and is important in overall digestive health.

The antioxidants and phytonutrients in blueberries have been shown to be beneficial for total body health. Studies have shown them to be beneficial in vision and brain health and have even been shown to assist in the prevention and growth of cancer. In addition to these fantastic health benefits, blueberries are low in calories and contain no fat. This makes them perfect as a snack or in addition to any sweeter meals you may be enjoying.

Blueberries are extremely versatile and can be enjoyed throughout the day. For breakfast, add some blueberries to a berry or banana based smoothie.  You can also add some to your cereal or oatmeal. For lunch or dinner, consider adding blueberries to your salads or enjoying on the side. They’re also great for dessert and can be added to some plain, tart, frozen yogurt.

When shopping for blueberries, choose berries that are firm and deep in color. Avoid any that appear to be mushy or crushed. To test, give the container of blueberries a light shake. If the berries move around freely, they’re nice and firm. Avoid washing the berries until right before enjoying them. Washing them can cause the berries to spoil faster in your fridge. Blueberries can also be frozen making them a great item to buy in bulk.

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Good Tip: Saving money is important – especially if you have a lot of expenses like bills to pay, loans to pay off, and all the other things that drain your bank account. Figuring out a way to save money can feel tedious to some, and like a punishment to others. U.S. News suggests that you try one of these money saving challenges. The “No Eating Out for a Month” Challenge This one is self-explanatory. The goal is to avoid eating out for an entire month. This might be super easy for people who enjoy making meals at home. People who really enjoy dining out, or ordering food to be sent to their home, may struggle with this one. It’s worth a try because spending money on take-out is more expensive than buying groceries. The Pantry Challenge This one is a variation of the “No Eating Out for a Month” challenge. The goal is to use up all of your groceries before you buy more. It forces you to try and remember why you bought a food or beverage that you don’t know what to do with, and gives you the opportunity to find a way to use it. The one exemption to this challenge is the foods that have expired. Don’t eat them! Throw them in the trash. The “No Spend” Challenge Make a goal to avoid spending money during an entire weekend. The only exemption in this challenge is that you are allowed to pay bills. This challenge is interesting because it requires creativity. You must be creative and find workarounds for problems that you would typically solve by spending money. You may have a different outlook on spending after finishing this challenge.