The health benefits of blueberries are extraordinary. Actually, blueberry nutrition, from the tiny little power-packed blueberry fruit, is way up at the tip-top of the list of fruits for nutrition value.
And blueberries health benefits include preventing and even reversing some deadly diseases!
According to researchers at Tufts University and the USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging, compared with 60 other fruits and vegetables, blueberries came out on top. That's because blueberries are bursting with nutrition and flavor, yet low in calories, fat and sodium.
Blueberries nutrition adds up to significant amounts of fiber, vitamins A and C, magnesium, potassium and iron. Plus, they're especially high in important antioxidant phytonutrients.
The Nutritional Value of Blueberries Benefits
Much of blueberries health benefits comes from antioxidants called anthocyanidins, which can neutralize free radical cell damage and help ward off age-related memory problems, cataracts, glaucoma, varicose veins, hemorrhoids, peptic ulcers, dementia, heart disease and cancer.
Rutgers University researchers have also found that epicatechin, another highly active antioxidant phytonutrient found in blueberries, can help to prevent urinary-tract infections.
Plus several studies show that blueberries may even be able to improve your eyesight.
But blueberry benefits don't end with antioxidants. They're low calorie, (a measly 81 calories per cup), high fiber foods that have proven to help boost your immunity and detoxify your body.
"There just isn't any downside," says Keith Ayoob, nutritionist from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, in favor of blueberries. "Their nutritional profile is incredible. What's not to like?"
Some health experts even recommend that you eat half a cup of blueberries a day.
How to Buy and Store Blueberries
Choose firm, plump, blue berries with a dusty white sheen. These are the ripest and best tasting. (Reddish berries are not ripe.) Shake the container to make sure the berries move freely. If they're soft, damp or damaged, they'll stick together and soon get moldy and rot.
Pick out any bad berries to prevent the spread of mold and then store in the fridge in a container with holes. Blueberries will keep for about a week, but should be eaten as soon as possible.
Fresh berries are very fragile and should be briefly washed and gently patted dry. But washing blueberries removes the protective coating, so don't wash them until just before using.
Frozen blueberries make great snacks. When buying frozen berries, shake the bag to make sure they don't clump together. Clumping indicates they've probably been thawed and refrozen.
To freeze fresh blueberries, fill a plastic zip lock bag ¾ full, place in the freezer and shake every couple of hours until frozen – this keeps them from sticking together. Or freeze them spread out on a cookie sheet and pour into a storage container once frozen. They'll keep for up to a year.
Simple Healthy Blueberry Recipes
With flavors ranging from mildly sweet to tart and tangy, blueberries are the perfect healthy choice for flavorful, low calorie snacks and deserts or to boost your breakfast, lunch or dinner.
Scientific research shows that uncooked blueberry fruit gives you more health benefits. So, to get the most nutritional value, choose raw blueberries rather than processed or baked.
- Mix blueberries with low fat yogurt or cottage cheese.
- Sprinkle generously over whole grain cold or hot cereals.
- Top whole grain pancakes or waffles with fresh blueberries.
- Make a fresh fruit smoothie with unsweetened low fat yogurt.
- Serve in half a cantaloupe or add to a healthy fruit salad recipe.
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Note: The information contained on this website is not intended to be prescriptive. Any attempt to diagnose or treat an illness should come under the direction of a physician who is familiar with nutritional therapy.