Natural Food Spotlight – Blueberries
Posted on Wednesday, May 8th, 2013 at 10:58 am
As 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.