Lots of foods claim to be superfoods, but blueberries are the real deal. Packed with antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, blueberries hit a nutritional home run. They're distinctively sweet and earthy, and they're exquisitely delicious. Blueberries have numerous benefits aside from their enticing flavor.
They help reverse inflammation. Chronic inflammation can cause a number of diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis and some cancers. Blueberries are rich in proanthocyanidins, which have been shown to reverse inflammation in animal studies.
They boost your brain power. Blueberries contain high amounts of phenols, including gallic acid, which is a powerhouse antioxidant that's an effective anti-fungal and anti-viral agent. Gallic acid helps to protect the brain from degeneration and oxidative stress.
They promote healthy digestion. A natural source of both soluble and insoluble fiber, blueberries are particularly helpful for balancing gut microbes and promoting the growth of good bacteria, known as probiotics, in the colon.
They promote a healthy heart. Because of the numerous types of antioxidants found in blueberries, they're a delicious part of a heart-healthy diet. The nutrients found in blueberries help to reduce your blood pressure and decrease your risk of heart attack. They've also been shown to help lower your LDL cholesterol. According to one study published in the ***Journal of Nutrition, a daily 50-gram serving — about 1.75 ounces — lowered LDL oxidation by 27 percent in just two months in obese participants.
They contribute to beautiful skin. Blueberries contain resveratrol, which reduces damage from sun exposure and helps to slow the aging of the skin.
They help fight urinary tract infections. Blueberries are closely related to cranberries, which contain substances called anti-adhesives. These help keep harmful bacteria from binding to the bladder wall.
How to Sneak More Blueberries into Your Diet
Eating just a handful of blueberries every day can contribute to better overall health and provide anti-aging benefits at the cellular level. Here are some ways to finagle more blueberries into your diet.
Enjoy them frozen. Frozen blueberries are a refreshing snack on their own. The natural sweetness comes through beautifully, and the texture is palate-pleasing.
Blend them into a smoothie. Put a banana, a generous handful of frozen blueberries, and six to eight ounces of milk or almond milk in a small blender and blend it for a minute or so, until the smoothie is, well, smooth. This super-healthy smoothie provides a dairy serving and two fruit servings in one delicious glass.
Sprinkle them on salads. Sprinkle fresh blueberries, a bit of feta cheese, and some walnuts over your salad for a tasty twist to the same-old.
Put them in pancakes. Drop a handful of fresh or frozen blueberries into your pancake batter, or add them to muffins, scones, and even banana bread.
Drop them on ice cream. A bowl of vanilla ice cream is that much sweeter when it's punctuated with fresh, plump 'n' sweet blueberries.
Make a sauce. A honey-sweetened blueberry sauce is the perfect topping for your yogurt, ice cream, angel food or sponge cake, waffles, crepes, and other delectable treats. To make a quick and delicious blueberry sauce, combine two cups of fresh or frozen blueberries, ½ cup water, ⅓ cup honey, a tablespoon of lemon juice, and a pinch each of cinnamon and nutmeg. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for five minutes. Mix two teaspoons of cornstarch or four teaspoons of flour with two tablespoons of water, and stir the mixture into the sauce. Simmer gently until the sauce thickens. Serve it warm or cold.
No matter how you like your blueberries, adding plenty of them to your diet is good for your health. Fresh or frozen, blueberries deliver hard-core antioxidants with every bite of pure-berry sweetness.