Why blueberries are so important to your health

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It’s National Blueberry Month!  Blueberries are one of the best foods to fight the signs of aging because they contain more antioxidants than any other fruit, according to a study by Tufts University.  

Antioxidants are important because they protect your body from free radicals, unstable molecules that can damage your cells and contribute to aging and diseases, such as cancer.  The main antioxidant compounds in blueberries belong to a family of polyphenols antioxidants called flavonoids.  The flavonoid anthocyanin, which provides their beautiful blue-purple color, also provides important health benefits. Blueberries are often labeled as a superfood: They are nutrient-rich and considered especially beneficial for health and well-being.

How blueberries work for you

With 60 calories per cup, virtually no fat, and little sodium, blueberries offer many nutritional benefits.  

Blueberries are a good source of Vitamin C.

In just one serving, you can get almost 16% of your daily requirement of Vitamin C, which is a key immune system booster. In fact, a lack of vitamin C can lower your resistance and make you more prone to getting sick. The benefits of vitamin C may include protection against immune system deficiencies, cardiovascular disease, cancer, prenatal health problems, eye disease, and even skin wrinkling.  

Blueberries are a good source of dietary fiber.

Just a handful of blueberries contains dietary fiber that may reduce the risk of heart disease while adding bulk to your diet, helping you to feel full faster.  Fiber plays a key role in your digestive system, which can ease constipation as well as lower your cholesterol, blood pressure, and inflammation. Fiber can also help you lose weight, control blood sugar levels and lower your chances of diabetes.

Blueberries are high in Manganese.

Manganese is a trace mineral that your body needs in small amounts.  Though you store about 20 mg of manganese in your kidneys, liver, pancreas and bones, you still need supplements from your diet.  One cup provides about 25% of the RDI of Manganese, which helps the body process cholesterol and nutrients such as carbohydrates and protein. Manganese is essential for bone health and maintenance and appears to play a role in regulating blood sugar.  

Some Creative Blueberry Tips

Of course, I love the fact that blueberries are so healthy for you, but they are also my favorite fruit because they are versatile and yummy.  

  1. They are nutritionally beneficial whether they are fresh, frozen, or dried. 
  2. Blueberries are considered a convenience food because they require no peeling, pitting, or hulling.  
  3. Blueberries are perfect for topping hot or cold breakfast cereal.  
  4. It’s best to eat blueberries within three to five days after purchase.  And if you can’t eat them all, you can freeze them in an air-tight plastic bag for later.  I always keep a bag of frozen blueberries for my pre and post-exercise smoothie creations.  
  5. You can add blueberries to pancakes or you can make blueberry muffins.  In fact, the most popular muffin in the United States is blueberry!  
  6. Try tossing a handful on your green garden salad or stirring them into some plain Greek yogurt as a natural sweetener. Delicious! 

So enjoy a handful of blueberries each day and reap the benefits of this healthy fruit for a lifetime.

Try this post work smoothie with blueberries added, so tasty!

Post Workout Smoothie  

This is a great option for a post exercise recovery drink. Chocolate milk helps to restore muscle glycogen and rehydrates the body just as well as Gatorade, but has the added nutritional benefits of calcium, healthy fats and whey protein. And the beets also help you to boost your energy levels and stamina.

Ingredients

  • 2 scoops Vanilla Whey Protein Powder  ~20 grams
  • 1 ½ cup of unsweetened almond milk
  • ½ cup of low fat chocolate milk
  • 1 medium beet cooked
  • 1 tablespoons of freshly grated ginger
  • 1 cup of blueberries

Instructions

  1. Mix all ingredients in a blender, and pulse to desired consistency.
  2. Pour and enjoy!

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Patty Martin-Stewart

Registered Dietitian Nutritionist

Have you found the right weight loss solution for you, yet? You can! Together, we’ll resolve your past weight loss struggles, transform your energy and health and you will look and feel your best. I truly enjoy helping my clients to reach her or his most desired goals. As a registered dietitian nutritionist, I can help you become all you want to be and more.


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