Everyone knows that blueberries are delicious. But not knows that they’re amazingly good for you, too. These small, tasty berries definitely deserve the term “super food.” They are low in calories and impressively high in nutrients, and some studies suggest that they can help prevent cancer, improve memory, and protect eyesight.
Blueberries may just be the healthiest food on Earth. According to NutritionData.com, a cup of blueberries only provides around 84 calories, and it only contains 4 calories from fat. Yet, this same helping provides a full 14% of your daily dietary fiber, 25% of your Manganese, most importantly, blueberries contain large amounts of antioxidants.
Antioxidants play an important role in preventing serious diseases such as cancer. Research performed at the University of Illinois revealed that blueberries can play a special role in combating cancer. This research involved exposing cancerous cells to certain components found in wild blueberries.
The researchers found that these compounds demonstrated amazing abilities to fight cancer at a number of different stages of development (Journal of Food Science, Vol. 65, No. 2, 2000). A study performed at the University of Georgia confirmed these findings. In a series of tests performed with cancer cells, researchers found that blueberry extract slowed cancer growth by over 50% (Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, September 7, 2005).
However, cancer is hardly the only malady that blueberries can help to cure. It may actually be able to help reverse some of the effects of aging. A study performed by the USDA found that blueberry extract helped aging lab rats to regain coordination, balance, and short-term memory (Journal of Neuroscience, September 15, 1999). Other research suggests that blueberries could help to prevent urinary tract infections.
Certain compounds in blueberries can help to coat the urinary tract and prevent bacteria from attaching themselves to the bacterial walls. In addition to all of these benefits, blueberries are said to combat the buildup of harmful cholesterol, thus reducing the risk of heart attack and stroke. It is also suggested that they could help to reduce or prevent macular degeneration, and some even believe that they can help to prevent Alzheimer’s disease.
Blueberries are believed to reduce inflammation, combat diarrhea and constipation, reduce blood pressure, and aid in preventing diabetes. There are even some studies that suggest that blueberries could help to combat childhood obesity. It is extremely easy to incorporate these healthy berries into your diet. The easiest way is to just eat them fresh and raw. Handfuls of blueberries make a wonderful snack while working, reading, or watching TV.
If you feel like a change of pace, try adding blueberries to granola, or try eating them with yogurt. If blueberries grow in your area, you may be able to pick them yourself during the summer months. If not, you can get them from your local supermarket. When selecting the berries, look for ones that are firm, dry and completely blue. It is okay if there is a thin, whitish covering on the blueberries. Store your berries in the fridge, unwashed.
Blueberries go bad much more quickly when they’re wet, so only wash them just before you’re ready to eat them. Although fresh blueberries are probably the most nutritious, you can get benefits from frozen blueberries as well. This can be helpful in the winter when blueberries are harder to come by, and it can also help when money is tight. Frozen blueberries can be put into nutritious smoothies, and they also make a fun snack on their own.
When you are selecting a bag of frozen blueberries, try to find one where the berries are all separate. Large clumps of berries could indicate that the bag has frozen and thawed multiple times, and this could decrease some of the berries health benefits.
Although you can eat blueberries fresh or frozen, you should avoid cooking your blueberries whenever possible. Many of the special compounds which help to prevent cancer, diabetes, and infections are destroyed at high heats. So, the next time you want to do something good for your body, stop off at the grocery store and buy yourself a nice big carton of blueberries. Taking care of your body has never been so tasty!