Blueberries are the second most consumed berries after strawberries. In addition to its popularity in taste, blueberries are one of the highest antioxidant capacity foods among fruits, vegetables, spices, and seasonings. While blueberries are commonly used in baked goods, they are the most nutritious and flavorful when eaten in their raw state.

Disease/Ailments:

Ulcers
Urinary tract infections
Cancer prevention
Skin disorders
Cardiovascular disorders
Chronic inflammation
Eye disorders
High cholesterol

Health benefits:

Antioxidant: Blueberries are one of the top antioxidant foods due to its high anthocyanin content. Antioxidants help to neutralize free radicals, which can lead to cancer and other age-related diseases.

Improving eyesight: A number of studies have shown a relationship between high anthocyanin levels and improved eyesight. Blueberries also have been shown to help ease eye fatigue.

Lowering cholesterol: New research shows that blueberries contain pterostilbene, a compound that has the potential to be made into a nutraceutical for lowering cholesterol. This is promising for those who do not respond well to conventional drugs.

Prevention of urinary tract infection: Blueberries contain a compound that promotes urinary tract health and reduces the risk of infection. The phytonutrients prevent bacteria from adhering to the cells that line the walls of the urinary tract.

Cognitive benefits: More research is showing a link between blueberry consumption and improvement of cognitive function including memory. This is due to the nerve cell protection from oxygen.

Good source of:

Vitamin C, K, manganese

Purchasing, storing, & enjoying:

Purchasing: Pick berries that are firm and rich in color. Shake the container and see if the berries move freely. If not this may indicate soft or moldy berries. Peak season is from June to September.

Storing: Before storing, remove any damaged berries to prevent the rest from spoiling. Don’t wash the berries until right before consumption and store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Fresh berries can also be frozen but this may alter the flavor and texture a bit.

Enjoying:

  • Add frozen or fresh blueberries to any breakfast dish. They’re great for adding to cereal, oatmeal, or smoothies.
  • Fresh or dried blueberries are perfect for summer salads.

Resources & recipes:

Blueberry almond chia squares: http://ohsheglows.com/2011/07/22/blueberry-almond-chia-squares/

Blueberry scone muffins: http://social.popsugar.com/Vegan-Blueberry-Scone-Recipe-25955249

Blueberry vinaigrette: http://blog.fatfreevegan.com/2009/07/blueberry-vinaigrette.html

 

References:

http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/natural/1013.html

http://berryhealth.fst.oregonstate.edu/health_healing/fact_sheets/blueberry_facts.htm

http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=8#purchasequalities

Lyons MM, Yu C, Toma RB, et al. Resveratrol in raw and baked blueberries and bilberries. J Agric Food Chem 2003;51:5867-70.

Wang SY, Lin HS. Antioxidant activity in fruits and leaves of blackberry, raspberry, and strawberry varies with cultivar and developmental stage. J Agric Food Chem 2000;48:140-6.

Wang SY, Jiao H. Scavenging capacity of berry crops on superoxide radicals, hydrogen peroxide, hydroxyl radicals, and singlet oxygen. J Agric Food Chem 2000;48:5677-84.

Wu X, Cao G, Prior RL. Absorption and metabolism of anthocyanins in elderly women after consumption of elderberry or blueberry. J Nutr 2002;132:1865-71.

Ofek I, Goldhar J, Zafriri D, et al. Anti-Escherichia coli adhesin activity of cranberry and blueberry juices. N Engl J Med 1991;324:1599.

Joseph JA, Shukitt-Hale B, Denisova NA, et al. Reversals of age-related declines in neuronal signal transduction, cognitive, and motor behavioral deficits with blueberry, spinach, or strawberry dietary supplementation. J Neurosci 1999;19:8114-21.

Bickford PC, Gould T, Briederick L, et al. Antioxidant-rich diets improve cerebellar physiology and motor learning in aged rats. Brain Res 2000;866:211-7.

Cao G, Shukitt-Hale B, Bickford PC, et al. Hyperoxia-induced changes in antioxidant capacity and the effect of dietary antioxidants. J Appl Physiol 1999;86:1817-22.


About the Author

Ashley Kim

"Our bodies are our gardens—our wills are our gardeners." – William Shakespeare

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