Blueberry Health and Nutrition Benefits

In the state forest and open space land that surrounds my community, and in my own backyard, I have many blueberry bushes.  I used to pick them each season until there was an increase in the number of bears in the area...now I'm just a bit nervous in the woods, but do enjoy finding them on my bushes. It is always a challenge to beat the animals and birds to picking my berries when they ripen. I have also done a lot of blueberry picking in Maine during vacations.  Almost nightly for years I have eaten fresh or organic frozen blueberries in yogurt with a bit of vanilla and sweetened with a natural herbal sweetener called Stevia.  Now that I am lactose intolerant, I am learning to make and use yogurts with non-dairy milks, but that is something to write about another day. 
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USDA studies show that Blueberries are a tasty way to eat right and stay healthy. Scientists at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University ranked blueberries #1 in antioxidant activity compared with 40 other commercially available fruits and vegetables.

Dr. James Joseph, PhD, Chief of the USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University is working with blueberries to examine their potential to help improve motor skills and reverse the short-term memory loss that comes with aging. "The blueberry has emerged as a very powerful food in the aging battle," said Dr. Joseph. "Given the possibility that blueberries may reverse short-term memory loss and forestall other effects of aging, their potential may be very great."

A University of Illinois study by Mary Ann Lila Smith, PhD, looked at a particular flavonoid that inhibits an enzyme involved in promoting cancer. Of the fruits tested, blueberries showed the greatest anti-cancer activity of all. According to research findings at the Rutgers Blueberry Cranberry Research Center in Chatsworth, N.J., blueberries help promote urinary tract health. Explains Rutgers scientist Amy Howell, PhD, blueberries, like cranberries, contain compounds that prevent the bacteria responsible for urinary tract infections from attaching to the bladder wall.

Blueberries, like their European cousins, bilberries, have very high concentrations of anthocyanin, a natural compound linked with many health benefits including reducing eyestrain and improving night vision. For a healthy summertime treat, get the blender ready and combine cup of blueberries into a favorite smoothie recipe.

Here are links to a few Blueberry Recipes you may enjoy:


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Updated 11/3/18

Image Credit: jill111 on Pixabay

  

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