Don’t let the tiny size fool you, blueberries are jam packed with health benefits. This powerful fruit is actually categorized as a super food. Therefore, there’s no better way to showcase all that blueberries have to offer than by celebrating National Blueberry Month this July!
For years the North American Blueberry Council (NABC) worked with the USDA to have the month of July proclaimed as National Blueberry Month. In July 2003, the NABC was successful in their efforts!
Blueberries – A Fruit Superstar
Here are just some of the fantastic benefits that blueberries have to offer:
- Build and maintain strong bones – they contain the nutrients vital for maintaining the strength of bones, and the elasticity of joints, such as iron and zinc. They also contain vitamin K, which has been shown to prevent bone fractures as it improves calcium absorption within the body.
- Support a healthy heart – they have been shown to improve cardiovascular health, and therefore reduce the risk of a heart attack. This is due to a group of compounds called anthocyanins, which give blueberries their blue-violet color. Anthocyanins have been linked to the prevention of cardiovascular disease, as they help to lower blood pressure and arterial stiffness.
- Protect cells against free radical damage, and lower the risk of cancer – in addition to supporting heart health, anthocyanins also work as powerful antioxidants. Combined with blueberries’ vitamin C and vitamin A content, these potent nutrients have been shown to inhibit tumors from forming, reduce inflammation, and even slow the growth of several types of cancer. Furthermore, the folate in blueberries aids in DNA synthesis and repair, which prevents mutations in DNA and thus prevents cancer cell formation.
Recent studies suggest that incorporating blueberries into your diet may help to improve memory and cognitive functioning. Scientists believe that anthocyanins improve blood flow to the brain, as well as stimulate synaptic signaling between cells.
In addition to all of these health benefits, blueberries are low in calories compared to other snack options. A 1-cup serving of blueberries is roughly 100 calories!
Try this fun blueberry loaded recipe at home:
½ cup oats
½ cup almond or cashew milk
2 Tbsp. chia seeds
1 cup blueberries
1 oz. banana chips
½ tsp. cinnamon
1 tbsp. honey (optional)
- Combine oats, almond (or cashew) milk, and chia seeds in a bowl
- Microwave on 1-2 minutes or until oats are soft and fluffy
- Top with blueberries and banana chips
- Sprinkle with cinnamon
- Drizzle with honey, if desired
Your turn to take action: How do you like to eat your blueberries? Just as they are, or in a favorite recipe. Share in the comments below!