Blueberries are one of the smallest fruits, but don’t let their small size fool you. This summer berry is packed with antioxidants and vitamins and is the perfect choice for a healthy snack. It can also be used in sweet or savory recipes to add an unexpected touch of flavor. Here’s what you need to know about blueberries, plus some recipes you can experiment with this week.
What are blueberries and where does this fruit come from?
Blueberries are plump, sweet and juicy, with a color that ranges from indigo to deep purple.
148 grams (g) of blueberries, about 1 cup, contains about 84 calories. A cup of blueberries also provides:
Total fat, 0.5 g
Dietary Fiber, 3.6g
Calcium, 8.88 milligrams (mg)
Vitamin C, 14.4mg
What are the potential health benefits of blueberries?
Blueberries are sweet and succulent, but that’s not the only reason to pick up a bunch of them at your next grocery store. Blueberries are an excellent source of antioxidants called polyphenols, substances that help inhibit oxidative stress and free radicals that cause cell damage. Flavonoids are a type of polyphenol offered by blueberries. Most research on the health benefits of blueberries has focused on anthocyanins, a type of flavonoid responsible for the distinctive color of blueberries. Thanks to these antioxidants, regular consumption of blueberries may have a number of health benefits, according to research.
Help reduce the risk of heart disease
A study found that the antioxidants in blueberries can help prevent many chronic diseases, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and degenerative diseases. Anthocyanins may be particularly helpful in reducing the risk of high blood pressure and coronary heart disease.
Helps boost brain function
The flavonoids in blueberries may help improve memory and cognitive function. According to one study, older adults who consumed large amounts of flavonoids over a 20-year period had up to 40% less risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.
Play a role in reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes
The anthocyanin content of blueberries may help improve insulin sensitivity in obese people who have insulin resistance, thereby reducing their risk of developing type 2 diabetes, although more research is needed. Additionally, anthocyanins may help reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes by helping to reduce inflammation and body weight, two known risk factors for the development of diabetes.
Helps maintain healthy and strong bones
Eating blueberries can protect your bones and joints. Blueberries are a source of manganese, which plays a role in the development of healthy bones. Research suggests that eating blueberries may reduce the risk of low bone density (osteopenia), due to their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.
Blueberries have the potential to improve your mood
There is some evidence to suggest that eating blueberries may help relieve symptoms of depression. In small studies, researchers found that a flavonoid-rich blueberry drink helped improve mood and potentially reduce the risk of depression in children and young adults.
Can blueberries help with weight loss?
Blueberries are a healthy choice when you’re craving something sweet, but don’t want to sabotage your weight loss efforts. A cup contains only about 84 calories. Plus, blueberries are full of fiber. High-fiber foods make you feel full longer than low-fiber foods, so you eat less. Fiber-rich foods may also reduce the risk of overweight and obesity. And while blueberries alone may not necessarily lead to weight loss, people who regularly consume a lot of anthocyanin may have lower body fat.
How to choose and preserve blueberries to obtain the best possible quality?
You can buy fresh blueberries all year round. To get the best flavor, however, it is important to choose a quality batch. When shopping, specifically look for blueberries that are firm and dry. A quality blueberry will have smooth skin and a deep color, either a deep purplish blue or blue to black. right arrow up Sometimes you may come across blueberries that are reddish or greenish in color. These blueberries are not ripe and do not contain as much flavor as ripe berries.
Carefully examine a batch of blueberries before buying them. Don’t buy berries that are shriveled, soft or moldy. It is always important to wash blueberries just before eating them and store them in the fridge after purchase to ensure freshness. Blueberries will keep for 10 to 14 days in the refrigerator, but if you want to extend their shelf life, you can freeze or dry them.
You can also buy blueberries frozen, which is handy if you want to add blueberries to smoothies or yogurts. Touch the bag before purchasing to ensure the blueberries are loose and not frozen in a lump, which can be difficult to separate when making frozen drinks like smoothies. If you choose to thaw a bag of frozen blueberries, store it in the refrigerator or open the contents and rinse the blueberries under cold running water until thawed.
Dried blueberries are widely available at grocery stores and are a great addition to trail mix, salads, baked goods, cereals, and more. They have similar antioxidant content to fresh blueberries, but tend to be higher in sugar and calories per weight (since the drying process removes water and bulk from the fruit).
Are there any health risks associated with eating blueberries?
Given the healthy nature of blueberries, it can be hard to imagine that this fruit poses any health risks. But blueberries aren’t the right choice for everyone. If you are taking blood thinners, you should tell your doctor. Blueberries contain vitamin K, which promotes blood clotting. Eating too much at once can reduce the effectiveness of these medications.
Also avoid blueberries if you are allergic to salicylate, a chemical found in the berries.
Up to 70% of people with pollen allergies also suffer from oral allergy syndrome (OAS), which is caused by a cross-reaction between pollen and certain nuts, vegetables, and fruits (including blueberries). Raw blueberries can trigger ODS, which can lead to symptoms like itching, burning, and tingling around the mouth. If you have negative reactions after eating blueberries, consider seeing an allergist for testing.