Blueberries: Possibly the Most Delicious Superfood
It’s tough to think of a superfood that has gained more recognition than blueberries. Native to North America, the blueberry is positively packed with good nutrition and health benefits. These small, blue berries are also incredibly flavourful and can be eaten on their own, used as toppings, added to baked goods like muffins and pancakes, or even turned into wine (although blueberry wine doesn’t offer the same nutrition as the raw berries do).
What Is A Blueberry?
Blueberries grow in a variety of different types of flowering bushes in this family and are native to North America. Northern High-bush, Southern High-bush and Rabbit-eye are just a few of the many varieties out there. The size of the berries, as well as their actual coloration depends on the type of bush in question, but they are all blue when ripe.
Health Benefits of Blueberries
Blueberries are widely regarded as one of the most nutritious foods out there. They pack a very serious punch, and are not just good for you, but can also be helpful when combating a wide range of medical conditions.
Blueberries contain a lot of calcium. That means they’re good for helping to strengthen bones and teeth. The also contain a lot of vitamin K, which is responsible for helping your body absorb and use calcium in the first place. As a note, vitamin K can also help alleviate bruising.
Another benefit to eating blueberries is that they are completely free of sodium, which is an important part of reducing high blood pressure and fostering better heart health. They are high in magnesium and potassium, too, which are both important for heart health and function.
Blueberries are also helpful for people with diabetes. While they do contain natural sugars, their high amount of fibre works to help regulate blood sugar and insulin production. A single cup of blueberries actually contains 3.6 grams of fibre. Additionally, a recent study found that three servings of blueberries per week actually reduced the incidence of type 2 diabetes in patients.
One of the most startling things about blueberries is their ability to help your body fight cancer. Blueberries have very high levels of antioxidants like vitamins A and C, as well as phytonutrients and anthocyanins, all of which help to reduce tumour size, boost immune system function and prevent the development of cancer cells.
Surprisingly, these sweet berries have also been shown to help improve both short and long-term memory, as well as preventing degenerative diseases like Parkinson’s, so they’re good for your brain, too.
Nutritional Makeup of Blueberries
A single cup of blueberries packs an amazing amount of nutrition, including:
- High amounts of folate
- High amounts of fibre
- Almost 25% of your RDA of vitamin C
- High amounts of vitamin A
- High amounts of vitamin E
- 36% of your RDA of vitamin K
- High amounts of iron
- High amounts of calcium and manganese
Additional Health Benefits And The Calories In Blueberries
In addition to those benefits, blueberries have no cholesterol, and a full cup of them only contains .49 grams of fat with 21 grams of carbohydrates. In fact, a full cup of these sweet berries only contains 84 calories.
Getting Blueberries on Your Plate
Getting more blueberries in your diet is one of the simplest and most delicious things in the world. They’re great eaten alone as a snack. They can also be used as toppings for pancakes and waffles, or added to muffins. Consider adding a cup of them to a fruit salad, or use them as the base for a delicious smoothie. Other options range from sorbet to ice cream to jams and jellies.