To start off, blueberries have been around for hundreds of years, dating back to before the British settled in North America. The Native American tribes harvested them and referred to them as “star berries” because at the bottom of each berry is, what resembles, a star shape! The Native Americans relied on blueberries for many reasons. They dried the fruit and used it to preserve and season their meats. They also garnished various soups with these for extra flavoring. Most importantly, blueberries were utilized for medicinal purposes.
Like any other berry, blueberries are full of polyphenols. These nutrients are considered phytochemicals. These compounds are “helpers” for your immune system to prevent and stop the establishment of certain infections and diseases. Surprisingly, other studies show that blueberries are great fighters against age-related diseases, such as blindness, Alzheimer’s, short-term memory loss, etc. These berries have this ability because of the combined antioxidant and phytochemical level they contain.
Blueberries are also rich in Vitamin C. Actually, a cup of these berries contains 25% of your recommended daily intake of this vitamin.
Recently, a Harvard study revealed that eating various kinds of berries, including blueberries, resulted in a decreased chance of having a heart attack. This is mostly due to the anthocyanins present, which are responsible for lowering blood pressure and promoting heart health. Other studies show that blueberries can even help lower blood pressure!
Not only does this fruit have great health benefits, but it’s also a great way to fill up, without all of the calories! Here are some ideas on how to incorporate them into your meals:
- Add them to your morning oatmeal or dry cereal
- Toss them in a blender and make a smoothie
- Toss them into your lunchtime salad
- Combine them with non-fat Greek yogurt at snack time
Your turn to take action: What recipes do you make with blueberries? Tell me in the comment box below.