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Fruit of the Month: Blueberries

July is National Blueberry month! A bowl of berries and yogurt is my go-to summer breakfast, and sweet and tangy blueberries are among my favorites, and it seems that I’m not alone in this. Blueberries are the second-most popular berry in the U.S., and they are one of the original superfruits. They are tremendously high in antioxidants known as anthocyanins, which give them their purplish-blue color, as well as some of their health benefits!

Just look at all the things blueberries can do!

Improved memory and mood: Human clinical research shows that blueberry consumption enhances memory and mood in older adults.[1],[2]  That may be because anthocyanins increase neuronal signaling in the brain.

Heart health: Blueberries also help maintain healthy blood pressure, reduce the oxidation of LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, and improve blood vessel function, according to several placebo-controlled trials.[3] [4] [5]

Healthy blood sugar:  A large-scale observational study showed that eating anthocyanin-rich fruits, including blueberries, support healthy blood sugar.[6]

Skin health: The vitamin C content of blueberries may help promote smooth, supple skin because it helps manufacture collagen, which gives skin its elasticity. Antioxidants also help combat the damage caused by pollution and sun exposure.[7]

In addition, a one-cup serving of blueberries provides:

+ 36% of the Daily Value (DV) for vitamin K, which is necessary for healthy blood coagulation and the metabolism of calcium

+ 25% of the DV for manganese, a mineral that plays a role in bone, joint, and skin health

+ 24% of the DV for vitamin C, which aids immune function and is needed for the health of connective tissue

+3.6 grams of fiber, which is necessary for normal digestion and reduces the risk of heart disease

Blueberries are often consumed in baked goods, and though tasty, the blueberry muffins and scones at your local coffee shop probably contain more white flour and sugar than they do actual berries. Luckily, there are many healthier ways to eat blueberries:

+Take a stab at some blueberry pancakes with my favorite, almond flour! Frozen blueberries mixed with bananas and milk or yogurt make easy (and very pretty) smoothies. Toss in some Juice Plus+ Complete and you’ll get a good dose of nutrients, protein, and fiber!

+ Use blueberries to top oatmeal or salads! Try them in a spinach salad with feta and walnuts. The sweet burst of flavor in the berries complements the saltiness of the cheese.

+ If you’re feeling creative, how about blueberry salsa?

+ Take your Juice Plus+! Blueberries are one of the ingredients in the Vineyard Blend capsules.

Not only are blueberries delicious and healthy, picking them is a fun family activity if you live near a pick-your-own farm. And if you pick more than you can eat, blueberries freeze well. Just lay them in a single layer on a cookie sheet so they don’t clump together and then pour the frozen berries into a plastic bag for storage!

What’s your favorite way to eat blueberries? Share with us in the comments below!

References

[1] Krikorian R, et al. Blueberry supplementation improves memory in older adults.
J Agric Food Chem 2010 Apr 14; 58(7):3996-4000.

[2] Rendeiro C, et al. Flavonoids as modulators of memory and learning: molecular interactions resulting in ehavioural effects. Proc Nutr Sci 2012 May; 71(2):246-62.

[3] Basu A, et al. Blueberries decrease cardiovascular risk factors in obese men and women with metabolic syndrome. J Nutr 2010 Sep; 140(9):1582-7.

[4] Daniells S. Blueberry powder shows big blood pressure benefits. Nutraingredients. 2015 Jan 12. http://www.nutraingredients.com/Research/Blueberry-powder-shows-big-blood-pressure-benefits-Study

[5] Daniells S. Blueberry powders show endolethelial benefits. Human data. Nutraingredients. 2015 May 29. http://www.nutraingredients.com/Research/Blueberry-powders-shows-endothelial-benefits-Human-data

[6] Wedick NM, et al. Dietary flavonoid intakes and risk of type 2 diabetes in US men and women. Am J Clin Nutr 2012 Apr; 95(4):925-33.

[7] Ware M. Blueberries: health benefits, facts, research. Medical News Today. 2016 Mar 16. http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/287710.php

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