Blueberries - What Your Mother Didn't Tell You
7 Incredible Benefits of Blueberries - The Superstar of Nutrition
Hold on to your hat - you're about to discover more nutritional benefits of blueberries. Fresh or frozen, these little berries are packed with nutrient-dense items.
Blueberries. This small round fruit with blue, purple, or blackish skin contains vitamin C, fiber, manganese, and much more. There are plenty of reasons your body will thank you for adding blueberries to your diet. Optimal health is one, and here are seven more:
- Regulates the Blood Sugar - Recent studies show that type 2 diabetes participants who eat at least three servings of low-GI fruits daily improve blood sugar regulation over three months. I'm a type 2 diabetic and can vouch for this.
- Improves Cardiovascular (heart) - I wish my brother knew that consuming just 1-2 cups of blueberries daily improves blood fat balances and protects the cells lining the blood vessel walls. And there's more. Just listen to the next benefit.
- Blood Pressure - Once you start eating blueberries (daily), you may reduce your systolic and diastolic blood pressure. A group of my friends did!
- Antioxidants - You'll get antioxidant support for the whole body - This means that muscle damage (the kind that follows strenuous exercise) can be reduced. Even protection for the nervous system from oxidative stress has been discovered. Imagine!
- Cognitive benefits - Cognitive functioning, including memory, may slow down in older folks, according to recent studies. (This happened with my sister.) This is enough for aging adults to increase their intake of blueberries.
- Anti-cancer benefits - This one touches close to home with me. Having lost my mother to breast cancer, my son (in the prime of life) to testicular cancer, and my best friend to colon cancer, I wish this information had been available years ago. Perhaps it may have helped save lives. (I realize that other factors are involved.) More research is being done every day on the benefits of blueberries and their potential ability to reduce the risk of some forms of cancer.
- Eye health - Blueberries help to protect the eyes from such diseases as cataracts (mine were removed) and glaucoma. Foods high in phytonutrient antioxidants are being studied for their ability to help protect the retina from oxygen damage. Blueberries are high in phytonutrients. Just look at the list below - it's altogether amazing!
Love Your Blueberries - Love Your Body
When buying blueberries stick with plump, firm, dry ones making sure the skin is smooth..
What Are Phytonutrients?
Blueberries are filled with Phytonutrients. What are Phytonutrients? According to webmd.com:
" Plant foods contain thousands of natural chemicals. These are called Phytonutrients or phytochemicals. "Phyto" refers to the Greek word for plant. These chemicals help protect plants from germs, fungi, bugs, and other threats.
Fruits and vegetables contain phytonutrients. Other plant-based foods also contain phytonutrients, such as:
- Whole grains
Phytonutrients function both as anti-inflammatory and antioxidants in the body.
The list of phytonutrients is a long one. I've decided to keep the list short while giving you a brief description of the following:
- Anthocyanins - This is what the Journal of Biomedicine and Biotechnology describes this phytonutrient (in a nutshell.) "Anthocyanins are members of the flavonoid group of phytochemicals, a group predominant in teas, honey, wines, fruits, vegetables, nuts, olive oil, cocoa, and cereals.
- Flavinoids - Used for anticancer, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, allergy relief.)
- Resveratrol (produced by the plant as a defense against disease.) Foods such as grapes, blueberries, raspberries, and mulberries contain resveratrol.
- Ellagic acids - You'll get plenty of this antioxidant in cranberries, blueberries, blackberries, pecans, pomegranates, strawberries, walnuts, grapes, and peaches.
- Alkaloids - Well-known alkaloids include morphine, quinine, ephedrine, nicotine, and strychnine.
- Carotenoids - These are the colorful plant pigment found in fruits and vegetables, providing the body with powerful antioxidants.
- Coumestans - This is an estrogen-like substance some plants make and may have anticancer effects.
- Flavan3 OLS - Found in cocoa and chocolate.
- Lignans (Silymarin - From the milk thistle plant, helps protect the liver by growing new liver cells.)
A few months ago, I was diagnosed with high liver enzymes - no, I'm not a drinker. I started a regimen of Silymarin (milk thistle), and by the time my next doctor visit was due, my enzymes were perfectly normal.
Am I a believer? You bet!
Blueberry Smoothie - You're Gonna' Love The Taste
You must love blueberries, or you wouldn't be here. Or maybe you're not crazy about these little purple goodies, but you've heard they're good for you, so a smoothie is worth trying. And you're also looking for a recipe that isn't loaded with sugar and other chemicals.
Good for you. You've come to the right place. I will share my favorite healthy, easy-to-make, skinny blueberry drink. It's so delicious that your friends and family will ask for seconds.
So if you're looking for the ultimate, healthy, great-tasting smoothie, look no further.
Ingredients For This Mouth-Watering Smoothie
All you need to whip up this blueberry smoothie will be:
- 1 cup organic fresh blueberries (frozen are ok too)
- 1/4 tsp. flax seeds
- 1/4 tsp. chia seeds
- 1 cup unsweetened vanilla flavor almond milk
- 1 - 2 packets of stevia (sweeten to taste)
- 5 - 8 ice cubes (add more to thicken)
- 1/2 cup chocolate protein powder
If you're not watching your weight and are fortunate not to have type2 diabetes, you may use sugar instead of stevia.
According to the latest studies - mixing blueberries with milk is a no-no. According to a survey on March 15, 2009, Free Radical Biology & Medicine, ingesting blueberries with milk impairs the antioxidant properties of the blueberries.
For a Super-Quick Mix Here's What To Do
Even the kids will love this part:
- Clean and wash berries and be gentle about it.
- Combine all ingredients into a blender. ( But hold the ice for a second. Add your ice cubes one at a time blending before adding the next one.)
- Blend slowly, adding desired amount of ice cubes until desired thickness is reached.
- Pour into frosty-cold mugs or drinking glasses.
Get a Load Of The Nutrition Value In This Blueberry Smoothie
Serving size depending on thickness: Serves 1 or 2
- Calories: 120
- Fat 3 g (good fat)
- Fiber 16 g
- Protein 10 g
One of the benefits of making your smoothie is that you can add about anything of nutritional value. And smoothies are a great meal replacement too.
Add a Handful Of Blueberries to Oatmeal
Here's a Choice Blueberry Tip
To keep your heart healthy, include blueberries in your diet three to four times a week. That's right! You only need 148.00 grams (one cup). Add a few to your morning cereal or pop a couple right in your mouth, frozen, directly from your freezer. Kids love them this way.
Unusual Facts About Blueberries
Do you know?
- Early colonists made gray paint out of blueberries by boiling them in milk.
- The blueberry industry of North America ships over 500 metric tons of fresh berries to Japan each year and over 100 metric tons to Iceland
- Blueberries grow best in acidic soil at a pH of four to five and make a good container plant.
- Native Americans once called them "star berries,"
- Blueberries are one of the only natural foods that are genuinely blue
- blueberries rank only second to strawberries in popularity of berries
- Organically grown blueberries turned out to have significantly higher concentrations of total phenol antioxidants and anthocyanin antioxidants than conventionally grown blueberries, as well as significantly higher total antioxidant capacity.
- In July 2003, the United States Department of Agriculture proclaimed that July is National Blueberry Month in the USA!
Wash blueberries just before eating to avoid early mold.
We, alone, are responsible for our health. We know our bodies better than anyone. Our quality of life depends on our health. Today more than ever, it is up to each of us to take command of our vessel and body and make the healthy lifestyle changes needed.
The health care system is not what it once was (understatement) and is a topic for another time. With environmental problems and processed food loaded with chemicals - you and I must take a stand - and, with all the passion we can muster, treat our bodies with love and respect.
- Question your doctor and, when needed, get a second opinion.
- Get regular check-ups.
- See your dentist regularly.
- Check your prescriptions, and if in doubt, ask.
- Eat a healthy diet - avoid sugar as it depletes essential minerals. Studies have shown that sugar increases calcium excretion, reducing the calcium-magnesium ratio and the calcium-phosphorus ratio that your body needs.
- Move your body for at least 20 minutes each day.
- Increase healthy, organic fruits and vegetables.
Good health to you.
The information provided in this hub is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult your physician, or health care provider before taking any home remedies or supplements
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This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2016 Audrey Hunt