7 Things You Should Know about Blueberries
Although we commonly relegate these blue beauties to America’s favorite muffin, here are just a few reasons why blueberries deserve to command a little more respect in your daily diet:
1) It’s true what they say about blueberries and antioxidants.
They’re not just a good source of antioxidants – they are one of the best. Blueberries are ranked #1 in this department out of all other fruits. This is good news for your efforts to keep your skin looking glowing and youthful and to increase longevity.
2) They are quite high in fiber.
Fiber is so crucial when it comes to digestive and hormonal health as well as clear skin. Fiber acts like a broom that sweeps your insides clean, helping to shuttle out old hormones, cholesterol and toxins.
3) They keep your bladder healthy.
We ladies know the benefits of cranberries to help stave off UTIs, but did you know blueberries offer similar protection? They work their magic by helping prevent bacteria from sticking to the walls of the bladder and urinary tract.
4) They are good for your brain.
The antioxidants found in blueberries are linked to protecting your neurons, which is why certain Montreal-based scientists believe that blueberry juice will be looked to for developing treatments for Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and age-related memory problems.
5) They provide support for your eyes.
The retina of the eye is prone to oxidative stress. The powerful antioxidant punch that blueberries pack helps protect this part of the eye from that stress as well as from damage caused by sunlight.
6) They are one of the fruits you definitely want to buy organic.
Each year, the Environmental Working Group puts out a list of the “Dirty Dozen” and the “Clean 15”. It’s a great resource to find which fruits and veggies are the most pesticide-laden (the Dirty Dozen) and which are the least (the Clean 15). I use these lists to help my clients prioritize what they should be spending their dollars on when a fully organic pantry isn’t in their budget. While blueberries didn’t make it into the Dirty Dozen in the latest list, they just missed at #14. But that’s not the only reason you should buy these berries organic. Wild, organic blueberries are generally smaller than the conventional variety, with more of the fiber-and-antioxidant-rich skin and less of the higher-sugar, fleshy center. True, this means they are not quite as sweet, but they do pack a higher nutritional punch. You can find the 2014 list here (I’ll let you know when the 2015 list is released).
7) You can buy them frozen and they’re still good for you!
We know that fresh fruits and vegetables are the best way to go. But for those of us who may be a little frustrated after having looked in the fridge to see, yet again, that layer of fuzz moving in on our 2-day-old carton of berries, frozen options seem better and better. While freshly picked produce will always reign supreme, you can take comfort in knowing that new studies show freezing blueberries does little to damage their delicate antioxidants.
So incorporate these beauties to your diet by adding them to cereals, smoothies or even salads. Or pour yourself a bowl and enjoy as an anytime snack. Your body will thank you!