Blueberries: Delicious, Easy-to-Eat, and Good For You

By Beth Cecil
Healthpark dietician

Anytime I see blueberries I think of my mom. She absolutely loves them and fresh blueberries tend to be somewhat of a staple at my parent’s house in the summertime. 

My mom has been serving blueberries to us for as long as I can remember. In addition to offering us a great tasting fruit, I wonder if she has known all along the wonderful health benefits she has been dishing up.

While ranked second in popularity only to strawberries, blueberries truly are just as healthful as they are delicious. Maybe you have heard them called a “super food” or a “nutrient powerhouse”. While no one food can contain all the nutrients your body needs, blueberries certainly contain more then their fair share! 

This amazing fruit has been ranked number one by the USDA in antioxidant activity among forty other fruits and vegetables. This antioxidant activity means that they have properties that can help protect the body from chronic diseases such as cancer, heart disease and more. 

The pigments in blueberries that give it the pleasing blue color are called anthocyanins. Studies have shown that these anthocyanins can retard and even reverse age-related declines in brain function as well as cognitive and motor performance. There are other compounds in blueberries that might even delay the effects of Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia.

The antioxidants in blueberries appear to reduce the risk of heart disease by protecting artery cells from damage that can result in clogged arteries and  by reducing LDL or “bad” cholesterol levels.

Studies now show too that blueberries, like cranberries, may help protect urinary tract health by interfering with bacteria that adhere to the lining of the  urinary tract. 

And now the Japanese are importing blueberries not just for the great taste, but because they believe blueberries may improve eyesight and reduce eyestrain.

What I think makes blueberries just as appealing as the taste and health benefits is the ease at which you can prepare them. There is no pitting, peeling, cutting or coring required. Just rinse and eat.

And we certainly can’t forget the nutritional values of blueberries either. A one-cup serving of blueberries has 80 calories, less than one-gram of fat, no cholesterol or sodium and three grams of fiber. hey also contain 25% of the recommended daily value of vitamin C.

Blueberries are easy to freeze so you can enjoy the fresh flavor any time of year. Buy them in large quantities in late summer when the supply is plentiful and the price is good. Place them in a single layer until frozen solid, then store in freezer bags until ready to use.

If you aren’t a huge blueberry fan now is the perfect time to give them a try and discover the power of blue. They are easy to incorporate into many foods and at any meal. 

Blueberries can be eaten fresh, dried or frozen. Try them alone or add them to your cereal, yogurt, or pancake batter. Make them into a blueberry smoothie or serve them over ice cream. Try a blueberry sauce with pork or chicken. And of course they make a great addition to any fruit salad with both their vibrant color and great taste.