Blueberries a nutritious superfood for weight loss and more.
One of my favorite springtime event is Blueberry picking and here in Florida we are lucky to be surrounded by tons of blueberry farms. I like going several times during this season to load up on blueberries to get me through to next season. On this first trip I gathered some lady friends and away we went. Since it was early in the season some of the blueberries were still a bit green, but we were still able to find some nice blue/purple berries. I love picking fresh blueberries because they are one of the best summer treats of all time. They are sweet, succulent, and full of nutrients.
The Anthocyanin’s that are responsible for the blueberry’s color contributes to the numerous health benefits of consuming the fruit. One cup of fresh blueberries contains 84 calories, 0 grams of cholesterol, 1.1 grams of protein, 0.49 grams of fat, 21 grams of carbohydrate and 3.6 grams of dietary fiber (14% of daily requirements).
That same one-cup serving provides 24% of daily vitamin C, 5% vitamin of B6 and 36% of vitamin K needs. Blueberries also provide iron, calcium, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, sodium, manganese, zinc, copper, folate, beta-carotene, folate, choline, vitamin A and vitamin E.
In addition to anthocyanin’s, blueberries contain a diverse range of phenolic compounds such as quercetin, kaempferol, myricetin and chlorogenic acid – all of which contribute to their antioxidant capacity.
Here are the top 10 benefits of eating these little blue berries:
- Anti-aging – Antioxidants are your best friend to keep you looking young. They help reverse damage done by toxins and free radicals and help your body defend itself against dangerous pathogens.
- Brain – Improving Memory/Motor Function. Because they contain such a high amount of phenols, particularly Gallic acid, blueberries are known as “neuro-protective agents.” Which means that they can literally protect our brains from degeneration, neurotoxicity and oxidative stress.
- Cancer – Clinical studies have even discovered that, unlike radiation and chemotherapy strategies, Gallic acid rich foods like blueberries can kill cancer without harming healthy cells!
Blueberry benefits cancer primarily because it’s wide range of antioxidants with Gallic acid being the primary and resveratrol also offering support.
- Digestion – Being a natural source of soluble and insoluble fiber, blueberries can help regulate your gastrointestinal track by just eating a couple handfuls a day.
- Heart Health – Blueberry health benefits have also been shown to lower LDL cholesterol, raise HDL cholesterol and lower blood pressure.
- Skin – Blueberry extract skin care products are becoming very popular around the world. It has been reported that the wide spectrum of vitamins and minerals help restore hormone balance, which counteracts acne. Also, blueberries contain resveratrol, which has been proven to reduce damage from over-sun exposure and can naturally darken your skin. Along with blueberry skin benefits, they have also been shown to heal macular degeneration and improve vision.
- Weight Loss – This is another good reason to eat more blueberries. They are low on the glycemic index and high in fiber and great for losing weight.
- Nervous System – Blueberries contain a range of different antioxidants, all of which are beneficial to the human body. This range of nutrients provides nerve cells with protection from oxygen damage. Nerve cells are persistently at risk for oxygen damage, thus requiring continuous protection.
- Eye Protection – Blueberries have been proven to protect the retina from unwanted sunlight and oxygen damage.
- Protection From Toxic Heavy Metals – Romanian chemists from the University of Bucharest discovered that blueberries protect against heavy metals. Blueberry extract created a force field that acted as a barrier against cadmium, protecting cells from toxic heavy metal damage.
One other reason why I found myself eating lots of blueberries were for it’s Anti-Inflammatory Agent:
Blueberry is an antioxidant powerhouse and is high in phytonutrients that confer anti-inflammatory protection against many diseases such as cancer and dementia.
Much research has linked this to the ability of proanthocyanidins to reverse inflammation, the #1 of chronic disease in the world. Inflammation taxes the body like no other and causes heart disease, diabetes, cancer and almost every illness known to man.
Here’s a few ways you can use blueberries in your diet.
I personally like to stock up on blueberries fresh from a farm, wash them well, dry & freeze them and use them as needed.
Since I freeze my blueberries I was very happy to hear that new research has found that freezing this superfood actually increases the berry’s nutritional content.
Frozen blueberries last me a full year until next picking season. However: if you do not have a farm near you they are available in stores fresh, frozen, freeze-dried and in jellies, syrups and jams. Make sure to check the label of frozen and dried blueberries for added sugars. When looking for jellies or jams, go for all fruit spreads without the added sweeteners and fillers. You also have local markets and Amish communities that make the best jams and jellies.
Beware: Many blueberries flavored processed foods such as; bagels, cereals and muffins do not contain any real blueberries. The products they use are combos of sugar, corn syrup, starch oil, artificial flavors and dyes to create their own mock blueberries.
Quick simple tips:
— Whip up a quick and easy smoothie using frozen berries, almond milk and yogurt. Kiki’s easy Blueberry Smoothie Recipe.
— Use blueberries as fresh toppings on oatmeal, waffles, pancakes, yogurt or cereal for an extra burst of flavor in your breakfast
— Mix fresh or dried blueberries into a salad with spinach, almonds, cucumber and feta cheese
— Fold them into muffins and sweet breads or blend them in a food processor with a little water and use as fresh syrup to top desserts or breakfast foods. Mean lean Blueberry waffles
— Whip up a granola mix with nuts and dried blueberries. Amazing Blueberry Granola
Did you know that blueberries are also used for natural food dyes.