6/6/2012

nourishing food: blueberries

Warmer weather is here to stay and that means it’s berry season – my favorite! This month I am going to focus on blueberries, these dark delicious berries are being touted as a new superfood because they are very high in antioxidants. Blueberries are members of the Ericaceae family along with bilberries and huckleberries that are native to North America. The blueberry is the second most popular berry, strawberries are number one. The harvest season in the States is anywhere from mid-May through late summer depending on the region. There are hundreds of varieties and in northern areas can be found wild – get out there and pick some!

The main health benefits of blueberries are a result of their anthocyanins, the antioxidant that gives them their blue coloring. Research indicates that they might be higher in antioxidants than any other fruit or vegetable – amazing! While I love my goji berries, I eat as many blueberries as I can when they are in season like this. I don’t know about you but I think fresh, local, organic berries have way more powerful compounds that those grown and dried from halfway across the world.  Anthocyanins have shown to fight Alzheimers’s disease as well as other age-related diseases.

Blueberries are very high in vitamin C which helps with iron absorption and boots immune function. In addition they are a great source of fiber and manganese. Blueberries have the same components as cranberries which supports a healthy urinary tract. They have been used for years to fight urinary tract infections. Interestingly, blueberries have been proven to help with eye function and protect against macular degeneration that comes with aging.

When buying blueberries choose ones that are dark in color with a waxy coating – this is a natural protectant. Wash fresh berries right before you eat them to preserve this coating, keeping them fresh longer.  Blueberries are best eaten within 3-4 days of purchase up to 9 days after picking. Towards the end of the season it is a good idea to buy them in bulk and freeze them for the fall.

I have several yummy recipes in the works that highlight this delicious berry. In the mean time check out this recipe for a different twist on a blueberry smoothie HERE. I hope you enjoy this nutrient dense superfood while it is in season!

xoa

 

Sources :

usda

the whole foods encyclopedia

wikipedia

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